In a groundbreaking move, the 2023 World Internet Conference Wuzhen Summit unveiled the World Internet Science and Technology Museum, a monumental achievement that stands as the world’s first large-scale internet-themed museum. Nestled in the picturesque town of Wuzhen in Zhejiang, China, this museum is a testament to the internet’s pivotal role in shaping our digital world and human civilization.
A Glimpse into the Digital Evolution
Spanning 43,000 square meters, the museum boasts six immersive exhibition areas, each unraveling a unique facet of the internet’s evolution. These areas include “Innovation of a Globally Shared Platform,” “Supporting Digital Development,” “Shaping Human Civilizations,” “Intelligently Linking Air, etc.
For the curious visitors, this museum offers an exceptional educational experience, providing an opportunity to explore over 130 exhibits showcasing the key milestones, figures, and technologies that have defined the internet age. Among these remarkable artifacts, you’ll find the world’s first graphic interface computer called Lisa, China’s inaugural router and domain name server, and Huawei’s groundbreaking NetEngine 5000E cluster router.
A Global Perspective on Internet History
The museum takes a global perspective, chronicling the past, present, and future of internet development while embodying the concept of “originated from China, belongs to the world.” The goal is to provide a profound understanding of how the internet has played an irreplaceable role in supporting global digital development.
Visitors can interact with a host of cutting-edge technologies, from robots that can shake hands, dance, sing, and even make coffee, to exhibitions showcasing the artistry of China’s famous Mogao Caves through the lens of digital technology. It’s an extraordinary journey into the intersection of art, culture, and technology.
- Lisa – The Pioneer of Graphical User Interface (GUI):
One of the standout attractions in this technological time capsule is ‘Lisa.’ Lisa is a historical gem, representing a pivotal moment in the history of computing. It holds the distinction of being the world’s first computer to be operable through a Graphical User Interface, commonly known as GUI. This innovation revolutionized how we interact with computers. Before GUI, using computers required complex text-based commands, making them accessible only to a select few. Lisa’s introduction of GUI changed everything. Now, you could simply point, click, and visually interact with your computer, setting the stage for the user-friendly interfaces we use every day. Lisa’s presence in the museum is a testament to how technology can evolve and shape our world.
- China’s First Router – Pioneering Internet Connectivity:
Another remarkable exhibit is the ‘China’s First Router.’ This unassuming piece of technology played a pivotal role in shaping China’s internet infrastructure. A router may seem inconspicuous, but it’s a critical component that directs internet traffic, ensuring that data reaches its destination efficiently. China’s first router marked the country’s entry into the world of the internet, connecting people and businesses like never before. It’s a powerful symbol of the internet’s transformative impact on society and the essential role played by infrastructure in enabling our digital lives.
- First Domain Name Server (DNS) – Where It All Begins:
The ‘First Domain Name Server (DNS)’ is a fascinating exhibit that takes you back to the very roots of the internet. DNS is a foundational technology that translates human-friendly domain names (like www.example.com) into computer-readable IP addresses. This simple yet ingenious system is what enables us to access websites with ease. Witnessing the birth of the DNS is like taking a journey to the internet’s conception. This exhibit reminds us that even the most complex digital ecosystems start with a single, ingenious idea.
- Huawei’s NetEngine 5000E Cluster Router – Pinnacle of Connectivity:
Huawei’s NetEngine 5000E Cluster Router is a prime example of cutting-edge technology showcased at the museum. Huawei, a global tech giant, is renowned for pushing the boundaries of connectivity and innovation. The NetEngine 5000E is a state-of-the-art cluster router, representing the apex of networking technology. It’s designed to handle immense volumes of data, ensuring that our increasingly connected world operates seamlessly. As we navigate a world where information flows at lightning speed, this router demonstrates the technological prowess needed to keep us all connected.
A World of Digital Innovation
The museum is not just a reflection of the past, but also a window into the future. Visitors can explore the world’s first 2-nanometer technology chip from IBM and Tesla’s humanoid robot, known as the Tesla Bot. Additionally, there are 20 technologies from the Ant Group, which played a pivotal role in the 2023 Hangzhou Asian Games’ digital ignition ceremony. You can also engage with Baidu’s latest AI chatbot, WenXin Yiyan, and an AI platform for artistic and creative support called WenXin Yige.
China’s Internet Confidence
As Xu Yingwang, an attendee at the summit and an internet expert, explains, this museum is a pivotal venue for understanding the past, present, and future of the internet. It also symbolizes China’s growing confidence in its role on the world stage, thanks to its immense base of over a billion web users and its commitment to safeguarding its cyberspace as its sovereign territory.
While China may not have invented the internet, it has emerged as a leading player in the digital world, with the capability to shape the future of the internet and connect people worldwide. As this incredible museum illustrates, the internet’s story is a global one, with China proudly contributing to the narrative.
As we step into this remarkable museum, we embark on a journey through the history of the internet, witness its profound impact on our world, and glimpse into the bright future of global digital development. It’s a journey that underscores the internet’s significance as a cornerstone of our modern lives, connecting us all in ways we never could have imagined.