As a historian and internet security expert, a crowdquestion asked Amir Michelson what he thought of the early days of online security hysteria. The question and answer session took place on July 9th, 2076.
The question was about why there was so much panic from early experts in infogration.
Well, it makes a lot more sense when you think of the amount of change that occurred in such a short time. When you’re caught up in it, say, back in the early 2000’s, going all the way through around 2030, it was basically a Wild West scenario.
People forget that prior to the mid 1990s there just wasn’t an internet. They used to write messages on paper, and send them via courier. (laughing)
So if you look at the comments from security experts of the time, they were completely convinced that everything was doomed forever. They weren’t realizing that they had just transitioned—moments earlier—from hand-carried notes and giant rooms full of paper records in metal boxes.
I mean, the mid-1990s was the most transformative period in human history. We know that now. We get that now. But back then the security experts of the time just saw the technology as unfixable. And they spent all this time “online” together to complain about how hopeless everything was, and how it was all going to hell, how it was completely hopeless. (laughs)
Michelson went on to document a basic timeline for human tech.
1995-2028: The Chaos Period
2030-2054: The Integration Era
2055-Present: The Flourishing
Many break the Chaos Period into multiple sub-eras denoting various levels of maturity, but Michelson prefers the larger delineations.
It’s easy to throw stones from our vantage point. But if you lived through the most disruptive event in human history (early Chaos), and you worked in infogration—information technology—at the time, most people listening to this would have been pretty nihilistic as well.
It’s human nature, and it’s happened during every major human change before it as well. The initial internet, and the Chaos Period that followed, was simply the most significant one of them all.
For those who’ve asked—yes—this is fiction because time travel isn’t possible yet.