WHAT IS EMAIL? AND, WHO INVENTED IT?
Dr. Leslie P. Michelson, Ph.D. Director, High Performance and Research Computing, Rutgers University
 
Summary: Certain aspects of modern life can become so pervasive that we fail to notice just how prevalent they actually are. Email is a good example.

Though almost completely unknown to the public before the 1990s, in 2014 there were approximately 4.1 billion email accounts worldwide – with the number projected to reach 5.2 billion accounts by 2018. Email is far and away the most widely used means of communication in the business world, but it’s also become a new form of identification. Today, an email address is now a requirement for signing on to social networking sites, file sharing accounts, and online retailers. By 2018, business emails alone will total approximately 140 billion messages per day.

Email is clearly a revolutionary development in the history of human communication. For most of us, it’s probably difficult to fathom how anything ever got done without it. Yet, it’s actually quite a recent development. In the great scheme of things, email is new.