Kanchana Kanchanasut: I think my role for the Internet was that I was lucky to be part of the peo­ple who spread the Internet through Southeast Asia. I brought the Internet to Thailand. That was the rea­son why I’ve been recognized. 

Intertitle: Describe one of the break­through moments or move­ments of the Internet in which you have been a key participant.

Kanchanasut: That was more than twenty-five years ago. So, at that time nobody knew about the Internet or even to use the exist­ing tele­phone for email. That type of tech­nol­o­gy was total­ly new. So intro­duc­ing tech­nol­o­gy to a coun­try which was not aware of the pos­si­bil­i­ty was not easy. It was very tough to do. And once the peo­ple start­ed to know about this new tech­nol­o­gy, the exist­ing telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion oper­a­tors were afraid of the impact on their busi­ness. So we had to all the time try to live under that con­di­tion, which is not easy. So that was the chal­leng­ing part of our task, to be able to intro­duce the tech­nol­o­gy to the pub­lic and at the same time we need­ed to be able to work out with the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion oper­a­tor that we have to look for the ben­e­fit of the whole coun­try instead of you know, look­ing at their busi­ness alone. 

Intertitle: Describe the state of the Internet today with a weath­er anal­o­gy and explain why.

Kanchanasut: I always see the Internet as sun­ny. You know. There’s so many excit­ing things that hap­pened through­out the past twenty—almost thir­ty years for me. And it’s always sun­ny. Even though there’s many chal­leng­ing prob­lems, there’s a lot of issues that you nev­er looked at before, and once you have Internet tech­nol­o­gy com­ing in, you start to ask your­self and try to clar­i­fy with your­self what kind of…the impact of the Internet, which makes you under­stand your soci­ety even bet­ter. So I always view this in a pos­i­tive point of view and I think it’s always sunny. 

Intertitle: What are your great­est hopes and fears for the future of the Internet?

Kanchanasut: As it is sun­ny, I don’t fear any­thing. I like the sun. [laughs] Because I think you know, what­ev­er tech­nol­o­gy you bring in, there’s always a neg­a­tive side of that. And if start fear­ing that neg­a­tive aspect which pre­vents you from doing any oth­er inter­est­ing things, I think you are not going the right track. I think the best way is to try to under­stand a new tech­nol­o­gy and its impact, and how we can try to accom­mo­date that in our soci­ety. And you know, mak­ing sure that peo­ple would ben­e­fit more from the tech­nol­o­gy than the neg­a­tive impact. 

Greatest hope is that I want the Internet to be…you know, I would like every­body to be able to access the Internet, as cheap as—as basic infra­struc­ture for all. And with that kind of soci­ety, you’ll find that many of the prob­lems in our soci­ety today should not hap­pen. Like cor­rup­tion in our gov­ern­ment, and [indis­tinct]. Because things would be more open to the pub­lic, and peo­ple would find it hard­er to do things that they used to do in the past. And I think that is the pos­i­tive aspect of an open soci­ety that the Internet brought. 

Intertitle: Is there action that should be tak­en to ensure the best pos­si­ble future?

Kanchanasut: Right now as you can see there are many orga­ni­za­tions that try to address the issue of Internet and soci­ety, like the Internet Governance Forum and even the resources on the Internet by orga­ni­za­tions like ICANN and so on. So we should encour­age peo­ple to par­tic­i­pate in this kind of process. These types of orga­ni­za­tions are new, and they are— The mul­ti­stake­hold­er mod­el is new, and it is some­thing we should try to make work. And once that works, I think it’s a good chan­nel where every­body can try to get the best out of the tech­nol­o­gy for the major­i­ty, because it’s the mul­ti­stake­hold­er that every­body can get involved in these decision. 

Intertitle: Is there any­thing else you would like to add?

Kanchanasut: At the moment I’m just a nor­mal pro­fes­sor in com­put­er sci­ence and I lead a research group that con­cen­trates on net­work­ing in post-disaster envi­ron­ments. This type of activ­i­ty obvi­ous­ly is try­ing to pro­vide answers to the more fre­quent nat­ur­al dis­as­ters that are occur­ring in our region at the moment. So I think that is my role. I don’t focus— I don’t try to pre­dict any­thing much longer. I just con­cen­trate on today’s inter­est and that is what I’m doing. I don’t know if that answers your question. 

Interviewer: I guess is there any­thing else you’d like to add about what you think is going to be the future of the Internet.

Kanchanasut: The future of the Internet for me is— I could not say any­thing spe­cif­ic. But to me, as I kept telling you I see the Internet as always sun­ny. So to me the future of the Internet is still sun­ny, and peo­ple— If the mul­ti­stake­hold­er mod­el works well, I think we are on the right path.

Further Reference

Kanchana Kanchanasut pro­file, Internet Hall of Fame 2013

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