Man who invented Uggs
The man who didn't invent email
A certain Shiva Ayyadurai claims to have invented the email. That's ridiculous enough. But he is obviously determined to defend his claims legally.
There were rumors about celebrity sex life
the preferred content of «Gawker». The Internet publication had to give up after one of the victims - the wrestler Hulk Hogan - was able to assert a high claim for damages in an American court. The story will
now warmed up again in connection with the claims for damages with which the Internet publication “Techdirt” is confronted. The lawyer who bankrupted Gawker is the same
who now challenges «Techdirt». There it was about a sex video, this is about computer code, there the plaintiff was a muscled athlete, here it is a skinny programmer. There the wrestler could count on sympathy from the audience, here you just shake your head at the obsession for recognition, at the vanity of a programmer who claims to have invented something that existed before he was born.
It's not about sex, but about relationships, it's about a relationship offense - in the broadest sense, it's about relationships between machines and the code that makes these relationships possible. It's about email. Shiva Ayyadurai, a biologist born in India and raised in the United States, claims to have invented the email. That's ridiculous enough. But Ayyadurai is clearly determined to use threats and legal means against any publication that contradicts this absurd claim.
One may smile at Ayyadurai or pity them. But this bizarre story is not all about him. It's about the personality cult in technology, about the popular notion that technology is created out of nothing by lonely geniuses, that the history of technology is a sequence of great deeds by great men.
Born in 1963, Ayyadurai was given access to an extracurricular programming course at the age of 15. At the end of the 1970s he developed a mini-computer-based communication software for a hospital, which he called "Email". In 1982 he succeeded in having this designation protected as a trademark. Since then, he has wanted to be respected as the inventor of email. However, the exchange of electronic messages between different computer users was already common in the early 1960s. Standards for the transmission of e-mail over Internet connections were established in 1973.
One may smile at Ayyadurai's vanity, at Ayyadurai's lust for recognition. Perhaps pity would be more appropriate, perhaps this is about the sad childhood of a gifted child who was teased because of his foreign ancestry. Ayyadurai has already complained that he is not granted the fame of an inventor just because of his dark skin color.
One may smile at or pity Ayyadurai. But this bizarre story is not all about him. It's about the personality cult in technology, about the popular notion that technology is created out of nothing by lonely geniuses, that the history of technology is a sequence of great deeds by great men. When the German dispatch agency honored Ray Tomlinson, who died in spring 2016, as the inventor of e-mail, the obituary was diligently reproduced. Since the computer scientist Leonard Kleinrock began to pretend to be the inventor of the Internet in the late 1990s, the birthday of the Internet has been celebrated on October 29th. But every non-trivial, socially significant technology, from the steam engine to the search engine, from the wing telegraph to the color TV, from the people's receiver to social media Facebook Twitter, was not invented, but resulted from the complicated interaction of many forces, through the ideas of many people, through interference between energetic individuals and social constellations.
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