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Digital Nervous System not Bill Gates' idea

Will the real DNS inventor please step forward

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So who invented the "digital nervous system"? Sit down, Bill Gates -- you first mentioned it in May 1997 when you said: "I want to talk about what I call the digital nervous system." By the way, did you see the account at www.c3f.com/nty0728.html? Let's deconstruct this digital nervous system of yours. Judith Dayhoff wrote about the idea in 1990 in her book Neural Network Architectures, and she probably wasn't the first. In the literature for grown ups, it's mostly referred to as neural networks, and as just about everything is digital nowadays, we needn't pay much attention to the digital part of DNS. Just to fill you in, neural networks are an evolutionary response to the physical and chemical conditions of an organism. In trying to apply the concept to computing, you come unstuck very quickly because you can't validly compare a system where the outcome is determined by logic and the information content, with a system where the outcome is determined by evolution. To put it more simply for you, it's not even apples and oranges: it's apples and bicycles. You need to get stuck into some cybernetics and neurological texts, and not rely on Encarta, if you want to understand notions such as feedback and neural networks properly. When you realised that IBM and Oracle call on 8000 to 10,000 enterprise customers and prospects worldwide, and then found that Microsoft only called on 2500, you needed a way of opening doors for all those new, inexperienced people that you hired for additional marketing. You wanted a way to suggest that Microsoft had something to offer at an enterprise level, some insight into corporate management and systems: perhaps you even thought you could pass off DNS as a corporate vision? You wanted these new sales people to be able to offer to build a digital nervous system for a company, even though neither you nor they had the slightest idea what that would be (other than a full set of Microsoft software, of course). So this nonsense of the digital nervous system is just a sales gimmick, supported by an intellectual vacuum. Now let's fill you in on another use of DNS that pre-dates your effort. In a move that was intended to strengthen the position of European manufacturers and to redress the negative trade balance in Europe, Siemens-Nixdorf, Bull and Olivetti -- echoing an earlier move by Siemens and ICL, but this time without ICL which had become owned 80 per cent by Fujitsu -- founded software laboratories in Munich, Naples and Paris. In June 1992, Trans European Information Systems (TEIS) was founded, headquartered in Brussels, with the legal status of a European Economic Interest Group (EEIG). It was alternatively known as the European Nervous System (ENS) project -- a form of legal cartel. We can forgive those whose mother tongue is not English for using silly names like DNS, even informally. So please, let's have no more of this DNS. Let's stick to real products, not NotionlessWare. ®

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