When ISOC told me about this, I spent con­sid­er­able time being hon­ored and con­sid­er­able time being awed about being in this par­tic­u­lar com­pa­ny. When many of the peo­ple in this room were begin­ning to lay the ground­work for the net­work in the 60s, I was work­ing as a polit­i­cal sci­en­tist and wor­ry­ing about com­mu­ni­ca­tions pat­terns and how those worked. And I was work­ing with and for a guy name of Ithiel de Sola Pool, who among his many con­tri­bu­tions was co‐responsible for the the­o­ry of con­tact net­works, which we seem to have done some things about in recent years.

So we were think­ing about com­mu­ni­ca­tions, and com­mu­ni­ca­tions among peo­ple, and how that would affect things. And we even got to think in the late 60s about what we would do as a human pop­u­la­tion with an inter­galac­tic net­work. And inter­na­tion­al­iza­tion turns out to be easy once you start wor­ry­ing about how to deal with a Martian char­ac­ter set. Or a Martian lan­guage, or for that mat­ter a Martian.

So we were spec­u­lat­ing on those sorts of things, and I guess I had more insight then into where this would end up than I’ve had most of the years in between. But we thought we under­stood a lot of where this was head­ed and there were a num­ber of areas in which we were right. And var­i­ous in which we weren’t.

In 1968, Ithiel and Jay Licklider began putting togeth­er a project to try to make advances in com­put­ing the social sci­ences to par­al­lel the advances which were per­ceived to have occurred in the phys­i­cal sci­ences a few years ear­li­er. And we start­ed sys­tem build­ing.

And then Lick men­tioned that there was this net­work thing which was start­ing to get built. And he was very con­cerned that we get some appli­ca­tions on it ear­ly and we start wor­ry­ing about what the appli­ca­tions of that net­work ought to be, because you know…networks are real­ly inter­est­ing, but unless you use them for some­thing—…

So, I get drawn in to some ear­ly exper­i­ments. And one of the rea­sons why I was pleased and aston­ished by this award is that Vint took me aside in the ear­ly 70s, and said, Wouldn’t you real­ly like to be work­ing on the net­work devel­op­ment instead?”

And I said, Well, you know I’m real­ly inter­est­ed in appli­ca­tions of what you use the things for.”

And Lick said, Well, okay.” And this con­ver­sa­tion got repeat­ed a num­ber of times over the next sev­er­al years. And dur­ing most of those con­ver­sa­tions, Lick end­ed by say­ing, You know that if you sit on the appli­ca­tion side, you are nev­er going to get any respect from the peo­ple that build net­works.”

So I’m extreme­ly hon­ored and pleased to report one of extreme­ly few areas in which Lick was wrong. And thank you all very much.


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