You are here

Using the Minitel Experience to Build the Future of Interactive Online Media

Julien Mailland, Using the Minitel Experience to Build the Future of Interactive Online Media. By the late 1980s, while the vast majority of Americans had yet to hear of the Internet, all of France was online, digitally buying, selling, building communities, and engaging in interactive gaming and racy chat, thanks to the ubiquitous little Minitel box, a dumb terminal handed for free to phone subscribers to connect to privately-run services over a state public data network. Yet, Minitel is often derided in Silicon Valley as a "backwards system," the epitome of state centralization and bureaucracy, the enemy of creative agility. Rather than pitting polarized ideas of success v. failure, capitalism v. dirigisme, open v. closed against each other, Julien Mailland and Kevin Driscoll's book, Minitel: Welcome to the Internet (MIT Press, June 2017) decrypts Minitel as a hybrid platform that represented a unique balance of public and private, centralized and decentralized, open and closed. The talk will focus on the technical architecture of Minitel and the policy decisions that enabled a boom of private services atop the platform, leading to an ecosystem of over 25,000 private sites before the World Wide Web was invented and the Internet privatized. It will draw conclusions for designing better internet policies that will favor entrepreneurship and participation in interactive media. Julien Mailland is assistant professor of telecommunications at Indiana University's Media School and a Research Scholar with the Computer History Museum's Internet History Program. His research focuses on Telecommunications networks ecosystems design, law, and policy, International communication, Financial technologies, and History of online ecosystems. He holds a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Southern California and law degrees from New York University and the University of Paris (Assas). He has worked as in-house counsel for dot.coms and FinTechs in San Francisco, Stockholm, and Paris.
Interactive media and games increasingly pervade and shape our society. In addition to their dominant roles in entertainment, videogames play growing roles in education, arts, science and health. This seminar series brings together a diverse set of experts to provide interdisciplinary perspectives on these media regarding their history, technologies, scholarly research, industry, artistic value and potential future. As the speakers and title suggest, the series also provides a topical lens for the diverse aspects of our lives.



Tuesday, March 14, 2017. 12:00 PM


McMurtry Art & Art History Building, Oshman Presentation Space, Room 102


Bio-X Program, mediaX


Free and open to the public on space available basis.
Also listed as one-unit course BIOE196