Feeds

Digital Nervous System not Bill Gates' idea

Will the real DNS inventor please step forward

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Zippy one-liners, broken promises: Doctor Who on the Orient Express
Series finally hits stride, but Clara's U-turn is baffling
Don't bother telling people if you lose their data, say Euro bods
You read that right – with the proviso that it's encrypted
Apple SILENCES Bose, YANKS headphones from stores
The, er, Beats go on after noise-cancelling spat
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.