With Father’s Day tomorrow, we are all thinking of how our patriarchs have taught us and shaped our lives. From teaching us the core values of life, to imparting knowledge (however useless it may seem at times) to ensuring we have everything we need to face the big, bad world. However, there are other fathers, ones not linked to us by blood, who have also shaped our lives without us even realising it. These are the fathers of modern technology, and here we take a look at the top fathers in their fields and the inventions they have created to change the shape of our existence.
Tim Berners-Lee: The Internet
Perhaps one of the inventions to have the largest social impact within the past century is the Internet, which wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for Tim Berners-Lee. It was at CERN that Berners-Lee suggested the idea of a global hypertext system which was an idea he was not initially supported on. After getting a yes to start experimenting, the idea of the Internet was born. Although actually only invented twenty years ago, the World Wide Web has risen to become possibly the most important information-sharing platform since the very first library, and his creation of HTTP, HTML and the very first browser makes the information superhighway his brainchild, and he its father.
Marty Cooper: The Mobile Phone
Okay so we have imagined life without the Internet and now we have to imagine life without a smartphone? However ridiculous it may seem, we have become so dependent on our need for immediate communication that our phones have become not just for calling, but for texting, social networking, photo messaging and other forms of communication. If you remember the 80s, then the chances are you remember Marty Cooper’s invention – the Motorola DynaTAC, which could have been mistaken for a brick! The large bulky grey telephone may not have gained points for aesthetics but for sheer innovation and importance to the future of communication, Cooper is the father of the phone.
Gerald A. Lawson: The Video Game
Although primarily thought of as something to keep teenagers out of trouble, videogames have now become big business, with millions being spent on creating in-depth games for many age groups. Games such as Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto have taken more money than most movies do and their popularity is only growing. None of this would be possible if Gerald A. Lawson hadn’t created the very first cartridge gaming system. Nintendo’s flagship entertainment system, the Atari 2600 and even the Sega Master System owe their thanks to Lawson, whose cartridge invention allowed the industry to thrive. Although not very well known in the world of gaming or even technology, gamers everywhere should give thanks to the father of video game entertainment.
Dr Fujio Masuoka: The Flash Drive
Last on our list is Dr. Fujio Masuoka whose invention revolutionised the transfer and storage of data and made for a brand new way of moving information from one device to the next. Previously, technology allowed for information to be saved on a device but was reliant on power. If the device was turned off, the data was lost and inaccessible. Masuoka created his non-volatile memory chip whilst working for tech giant Toshiba and has since reached the heights of megastardom in the world of technology. Thanks to this creation, the world now uses flash media for 95% of the blank storage media market and generated around $4.8 billion in sales in 2010 alone. Now with the technology able to transfer data not just from and to computers but also digital cameras, music devices and USBs, it has become the benchmark for data storage devices and looks to have no competition – making Dr Masuoka the father of the flash drive.
So it seems that even though we have our own fathers to thank for the more existential things in life, there are some fathers whose inventions have shaped the way we live our lives via the ability to communicate in more ways than we ever thought possible.
So it’s Happy Father’s Day to our fathers and the ones who have helped me write and share this post!