Monday, December 22, 2008

Technological singularity - the trans-Pacific submarine cable

Submarine cables have to cross things like the Mariana Trench.

If you asked most people when the first submarine communications cable crossed the Pacific, I suspect most would guess sometime in the 1970s, as a replacement for satellite links.

They're much older than that ...
Submarine communications cable - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The first attempt at laying a transatlantic telegraph cable was promoted by Cyrus West Field, who persuaded British industrialists to fund and lay one in 1858. However, the technology of the day was not capable of supporting the project, it was plagued with problems from the outset, and was in operation for only a month. Subsequent attempts in 1865 and 1866 with the world's largest steamship, the SS Great Eastern, used a more advanced technology and produced the first successful transatlantic cable...

... Submarine cable across the Pacific ... was completed in 1902–03, linking the US mainland to Hawaii in 1902 and Guam to the Philippines in 1903...
The American civil war, ended in 1865. Forty years later there was a telegraph cable across the Pacific.

It's hard for me to fathom how much the world was changing between 1845 and 1914. I suppose the closest thing today would have to be the rise of China, but that modern rise does not include any comparable technological transformations.

I don't imagine our Future Shock could compare to theirs.

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