Astounding Science Fiction, 1948

Astounding Science Fiction, 1948

World Wide Web


If the Internet is the infrastructure, then the World Wide Web is the content; at least the content with which most people are familiar. As an information medium, the Internet provides people with a context in which to build content. The Web makes up a portion of the Internet and is used to communicate numerous forms of data around the world. It provides us with our social media accounts, news, and entertainment. Smart phones and tablets are compact, easily portable mobile devices, which allow users to access the World Wide Web no matter where they are located. The development of the World Wide Web has democritized knowledge on a scale previously unimaginabele. A technological determinist like Marshall McLuhan might say the magnitiude of these technologies has allowed for the rise a global community that did not exist prior to the twentieth century.  

In 1946, William Fitzgerald Jenkins predicted the World Wide Web in his short story, "A Logic Named Joe." "Logic" was originally published in Astounding Science Fiction. "A Logic Named Joe" continues to be a classic example of speculative fiction from post-WWII America. Since its original publication, "Logic" has seen at least five new editions, the most recent of which is printed under Jenkins' pseudonym, Murray Leinster (Baen Books 2015). In the story, computers are called logics and Joe is a logic who has developed sapience. Jenkins' short story can be read as a morality tale cautioning science against developing artificial intelligence. As such, "Logic" sparked numerous debates within the scientific and speculative fiction communities. It was not uncommon during this time for authors and fans to write to one another directly through the pulp magazines. In fact, letters from readers commenting on past issues, stories, authors, scientific theories, discoveries, and inventions made up a substantial portion of 1930s and 1940s pulp fiction magazines. 

In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web. He proposed it to his supervisor at CERN as an information management system, though it was never made an official project of CERN (History 2015). In 1991, the World Wide Web became a publicly available service, which is now accessed and used by 84% of American adults (Perrin 2015).

“Baen Books.” Baen Publishing Enterprises. 2015.

Garcia, Chris. “A Logic Named Joe by Will F. Jenkins.” Computer History Museum. 2012.

“History of the Web.” World Wide Web Foundation. 2015.

Perrin, Andrew, and Maeve Duggan. "Americans' Internet Access:2000-2015." Pew Research Center Internet Science Tech RSS. June 26, 2015. Accessed December 13, 2015.