Daemons are the programs that run the internet. Here’s why it’s important to understand them
A daemon is early computer slang. In the first computer labs, daemons meant the programs running in the background, doing the invisible work of keeping systems online. The word came from Maxwell’s demon, a 19th-century thought experiment that imagined a supernatural creature capable of bringing order to the world; this inspired generations of scientists to try to make daemons real.
Fenwick McKelvey’s (Associate Professor in Information and Communication Technology Policy, Concordia University) open-access book, Internet Daemons: Digital communications possessed, explores the daemons that keep the Internet connected. “But daemons — and other computer programs — do much more than transmit information. Here, I want to connect my intensive focus on internet daemons to extensive ways that computing orders and optimizes life today.”
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