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Group D Taking a StandFrom Samuel Morses Code - Which invention was more important the Internetor the telegraphThe telegraph and the Internet have similar functions--both allowphysically separated bodies to interact in real-time At a conceptuallevel Tom Standage author of The Victorian Internet argues that theTelegraph is a more revolutionary invention because it was the first mediumthat truly allowed for the contraction of space and time However whenconsidering the benefit to society the Internet is a far more importantinnovation as it has been an incredible vehicle for growth and profoundlychanged almost every facet of our livesFrom its rise in the early 19th century to its eventual supersession by thetelephone the telegraph served a critical role in changing humanexpectations for communication During its heyday many large institutionseg companies government agencies military universities relied ontelegraphs to communicate and carry out their operations financial andnews services in particular underwent a radical change as they were ableto finally provide customers with geographically remote content egstock quotes world news in a timely manner However the highinfrastructure costs of the telegraph precluded individuals from owningthem and thus limited its benefit to discrete segments of societyOn the contrary the Internet has permeated all segments of society--with aworld penetration of 30--and dominated almost all globaltelecommunication Its broad access coupled with the ability to transmitany form of data has vastly changed our economies social networks andpolitics The Internet has spawned entirely new industries eg e-commerce online advertising created scalable mechanisms for us tointeract in groups eg Facebook Twitter and recalibrated the balanceof political power eg the Arab Spring Most importantly throughleveling the information playing field and providing frictionless avenuesto reach consumers the Internet has unlocked a wave of innovation thatwill drive growth and reap benefits to society for generations to comeThe telegraph and the Internet are both pivotal technological innovationsof their time though when measured by their benefit to society theInternet is a substantially more important innovationit has fundamentallytransformed how we conduct business interact
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