Email is 29 years old today

Email (electronic mail), one of the staples of the Internet age, marked its 29th birthday on August 30, 2011, with its inventor looking forward to its continued growth.

Dr. V. A. Shiva Ayyadurai, who got a copyright for "EMAIL" on Aug. 30, 1982, said EMAIL has so far defied "experts" who had been writing it off since 2000.

Email not dead

"Since 2000, experts at Gartner, PC Week, and others have made these claims. Even now, in 2011, experts, (Facebook founder Mark) Zuckerberg, etc. claim, EMAIL will be replaced. The data shows otherwise. EMAIL volume continues to grow. EMAIL access on web, and now mobile devices, is growing exponentially," he said in his website.

He said that while many people text and chat, that is not replacing email, which he said is "a bit more structured (and) formal."

Also, he found it ironic that, although Zuckerberg had been quoted as saying "email is dead," there are reports of him launching @Facebook as a direct challenge to GMail.

Vaporizing paper mail

Shiva, a scientist-technologist, inventor and educator, said he started work on the first EMAIL system at age 14 in 1978, at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ).

"The two words, 'Electronic' and 'EMAIL' juxtaposed together for me originally brought images of vaporizing paper and somehow transporting it across electrical wires, like the transporter in Star Trek. That is how NEW those two terms next to each other were in 1978," he said.

At the time, he hoped to make the electronic equivalent of the paper-based inter-office communications for UMDNJ, complete with elements such as "To:", "From:", "Date:", "Subject:", "Cc:", "Bcc:", and "Attachment."

"It was fascinating. Cc literally meant carbon copy. A secretary would put a piece of carbon paper between two sheets of white letter and type to create a carbon copy, on which was sent to the original recipient and the other to the person Cc'd. Such an analysis and understanding was new in 1978. I spent the next three years building the first Electronic MAIL system," he said.

Award-winning achievement

He was recognized with the Westinghouse Science Award for original innovation in 1981. In that same year, Shiva applied for a US Copyright.

"No one compelled me to. I thought about it as a literally piece of work, and thought it should be properly referenced. It took over one year to explain to the Copyright office what EMAIL was, finally resulting in the Copyright being issued in August 30, 1982 for EMAIL," he said. — TJD, GMA News

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