[SIGCIS-Members] Noam Chomsky on the "Inventor of Email"

Thomas Haigh thaigh at computer.org
Tue Jun 12 12:33:34 PDT 2012

Hello everyone,


I'm resisting the urge to keep spamming the group with updates on the
increasingly bizarre public career of email history.


However, as Slashdot has recently noted
t-of-noam-chomsky, a second statement attributed to Noam Chomsky recently
appeared on one of V A Shiva Ayyadurai's websites at
yyadurai.asp. Also as a press release from Reuters, via Ayyadurai's
International Center for Integrative Systems.

I do recall Chomsky's usual prose style being a little more elegant, his
grammar and punctuation a little more standard, and his exposition a little
more cogent. It's odd that a great linguist would write sentences such as
"Note Shiva, received his formal Copyright registration in 1982." Or "What
continue to be deplorable are the childish tantrums of industry insiders who
now believe that by creating confusion on the case of "email", they can
distract attention from the facts."

SIGCIS members may also be interested in Ayyadurai's attempt to dispel
"False Claims About Email" at
http://www.inventorofemail.com/claims_about_email.asp. Ayyadurai's current
argument appears to be that "email" has a completely different meaning from
"electronic mail" and that the world has been misusing "email" all these
years. He claims to have given "email" its canonical meaning in 1978,
although I still can't find any original 1978 or 1979 documents on his site
including the word or a definition.  Ayyadurai currently favors a definition
of "email" (published, apparently for the first time, this month) with
around 80 characteristics including "searching address book by zipnode" and
"relational database engine".  Few current email systems would precisely
meet all of them.


Finally, Ayyadurai has persuaded a second WGBH radio host, Emily Rooney,
that he invented email (around 23:00-24:40).


One day an excellent STS or media studies dissertation will probably be
written on this topic.





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