There are a lot of people we have to thank for our current Information Age, not least Paul Baran, one of the founding fathers of Arpanet, the precursor to the Internet as we know it. While working at RAND in the 1960s, Baran created a system for information exchange called “packet switching” that was able to send “message blocks” from node to node in an electronic network. The packets could route around damage, a primary requirement for maintenance of data transmission during catastrophic failures (read “nuclear explosions”) on the physical network.
Baran’s ideas moved into the military Arpanet and remain an integral part of the Internet as we know it. He started seven companies and attributes the Internet to the work of about 1,000 people, either a very large number or a surprisingly small number, depending on your outlook.