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Computer Freaks

This is the untold history of how the internet almost didn’t happen. It’s an ode to fathers and daughters. And it’s a tale about the origins of the man-computer symbiosis that’s still profoundly relevant to our society today.
Host Christine Haughney Dare-Bryan, an editor-at-large at Inc., is a James Beard Award-winning journalist who has worked for NBC News as well as three of the nation’s largest newspapers, and who created the Emmy-nominated Netflix series Rotten. Dare-Bryan’s connection to the story is deeply personal—her father, Joseph Haughney, was one of the internet’s founding fathers.
Dare-Bryan spent 10 months traveling the nation interviewing these iconic founders about their work, and how it all led to the economy—and society—we inhabit today. In this six-episode series, she explores the invention, the contention, the bragging, the fighting, and the decisions that have led to our digital life.
Just as the book Hamilton explored the founding fathers of democracy in the United States, this project explores the founding fathers of the internet and how their high-stakes battles over ownership, internet privacy, internet protocols, and internet access mirror what we face today.
By looking to the past, Computer Freaks dives into modern debates: Could we have prevented online harm from the start? What is the balance between free speech and online content moderation? How much human work should be delegated to technology and A.I.? And what direction should this growing labyrinthine network of computers take?
The narrative behind Computer Freaks stretches from after World War II through the 1980s, and up to the consequences we face from this technology today. During that early period, the federal government was funding the first workable prototype of the internet, called the Arpanet, but fighting with researchers at MIT about just how far access to the Arpanet should extend.
Computer Freaks tells the dramatic, untold history of the internet straight from the mouths of its pioneering inventors: Len Kleinrock, Robert Kahn, Charley Kline, Steve Crocker, Vinton Cerf, and Bob Metcalfe, among many others. Exclusive interviews uncover hidden stories found nowhere else about the Arpanet, online harm, hacking, authentication, cybersecurity, Ethernet, TCP IP, packet switching, queuing theory, and the early contributions of women in tech.
And, perhaps most important, this series is a love letter from a daughter to an aging father and the world-changing legacy he will leave behind.

Computer Freaks

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