It is indeed a great honor and I’m deeply humbled to stand before an audience of Internet greats and Internet luminaries. I feel so undeserving, and as they say, them more you reward the undeserving the harder they will work in the future. So I have a lot of work cut out for me going ahead in the future.
There are of course many many many people I need to thank. As Len mentioned, so many of us who who were involved in constructing this incredible global edifice that will stand the times of history. And we basically created something never in the history of mankind, as Jimmy Wales puts it very well, that the sum total of human knowledge can now be accessible by everyone.
So it’s indeed an incredible honor for me to receive this—to be inducted into this Hall of Fame. As Len said, it was indeed many many people. And I’m gratified to know that there are at least two ladies who are in the midst of the first inaugural Hall of Fame. And as somebody used to say, it’s really too men-ny. And I hope that going forward in the future, we will have more people in the communities that are underrepresented coming forward to serve the Internet cause.
I really miss the days when one of my Internet elders or mentors remarked to me when I asked him, “Why are you doing all these things for free?” So, one of things I really missed was that Internet spirit of volunteerism. People get really rich these days. I saw the slide which Professor Kleinrock showed—billionaires at the bottom—this morning, and I really felt that this was something that we need to bring back again, that Internet spirit of volunteerism. To look after those who are less privileged than us. Those people who are underprivileged. Those people who did not enjoy the benefit of an education as we have. And to really reach out to the disenfranchised.
And it was for that reason that I was always involved in helping some of the minority groups as chairman of the APNG, the Asia Pacific Networking Group that gave us APNIC. I was involved in helping one of the early helpers to promote Internet for Asian women. I was involved for some time helping people with disabilities to get on the net. I was involved in helping at one time people who were not speaking English get Web content on the Web. Involved in the multilingualization of the Web, as well as on the internationalization of the Domain Name System. So, I was always fired with this enthusiasm, that spirit of Internet volunteerism, to help those people who need Internet more than we ourselves.
So it’s indeed a great honor to stand before this august audience of Internet luminaries, and also to maybe share that going forward into the future. I think we should be expanding even beyond the planetary system of the Internet, as Vint Cerf used to put it. That we should even go beyond that. And I stand here as as—well, I used to be a professor in biochemistry before I was sucked in by Dr. Chia Yeow-Tong, my former boss, into the things Internet in the 90s. And I’ve gone back to become a professor in by biochemistry working on bioinformatics and computational biology. So I’m quite the odd one out here, amongst these Internet engineers and network professors.
But I like to highlight the point that all living things, for eons, are living things because they process information, and they developed over eons the ability to transfer the information from one place to another, from one organism to another. And we in a sense, in the Internet community, are just reinventing something that nature has already invented a long time ago. But, because in a different form we have carbon chemistry, and of course most of us are dealing with silicon chemistry.
But the point here is that we’re increasingly beginning to be able to read that source code of nature through tremendous advances in genomics, for instance. Proteomics and so on. We’re able now to read the source code of life. And we will see increasingly going forward in the future, this convergence as well of biological information and digital information. And I really sincerely hope that I will live long enough (fully as long as my grandfather who just passed away not so long ago at 101), that perhaps I may have that [unearned?] chance of seeing yet another level of integration and convergence, that of fusing biological information with digital information that we in this audience have been a glorious part of. Thank you very much.