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Video from 1984 explaining how to send an email leaves people with the same question 40 years on

Video from 1984 explaining how to send an email leaves people with the same question 40 years on

There's a knowledge gap between Millennials and Gen-Z.

YouTube is filled with videos from decades ago showing major tech figures like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg when they were first starting out.

For example, there's a gem of Tesla's CEO Elon Musk predicting the future of the internet and how it would change our lives.

Now, one video from 1984 has resurfaced on the video platform showcasing how emails work.

Today, we type, review, send and think nothing more of it - the process is pretty instantaneous.

However, the process which is explained to be 'extremely simple' has baffled its viewers.

Even after the demonstrator shows how to set up an email by connecting a wire to the modem, people are still asking after six minutes of the video: 'What's a modem?'

The top comment on the YouTube video reads: '1984: What's a modem? 2021: What's a modem?'

Some are claiming the confusion to be a result of a generational divide in that millennials remember modems from their childhoods but Gen Z'ers likely won't recognise it.

'millennials do remember modems it's the gen z lot that don't,' one user replied, with another writing: 'I literally cry knowing that 80% of all Millennials have no idea what a modem is'.

Other users were surprised by how simple the demonstrator emphasized the process of sending an email was. '"Yes, well its very simple really". Proceeds to CALL the computer,' the comment read.

Well, to answer the burning question that is confusing most, a modem, short for modulator-demodulator, is a device that allows computers to communicate with each other over telephone lines.

Essentially, it converts digital data from a computer into an analogue signal that can travel through phone lines (modulation) and then converts incoming signals back into digital data that the computer can understand (demodulation).

Lorenzo Herrera/Unsplash
Lorenzo Herrera/Unsplash

And the modem can then be left on without affecting the telephone line, as explained in the video.

It's pretty impressive actually, but it's probably most remembered today for its extremely slow speeds - especially compared to the instant technology we have today.

What's also cool in the video is the presentation of Micronet. For those who don't know, it was an early information provider - a very basic version of a newsfeed today.

'Micronet is an area of Prestel that's specifically designed for microcomputer users,' the man described.

Prestel was the information system used for computers back then.

As the demonstrator shows, Micronet had daily news, reviews of current software, programmes and a 'Letter's page' for people to write in.

The database crew also touched on the type of things they used the computers for, including shopping lists and writing to their doctor - which, of course, barely scratches the surface of what these machines can do today.

Featured Image Credit: ThamesTV/YouTube