The email @-sign, all that business, sort of never came to light until about 1994, at which point somebody asked “Where did email come from?”
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PGP Started out as a human rights project. At the time, there was no way for ordinary people, as opposed to governments or sufficiently resourced institutions—there was no way for ordinary people to communicate securely over long distances without the risk of interception. And so PGP was to change that.
Wen you move out of this room, you cannot use the Internet anymore. Then what would you do? Today, we have two billion people, including us, who can access the Internet. Then there is just simple math. There’s five billion people who don’t have access to the Internet. That’s my concern.
My involvement with networks started in the late 70s. In fact, 1977 I was happily proving theorems in computational complexity, Petri nets, and at that point I’d learned about email and I learned about the ARPANET and realized for the first time that there was a real-world part of computer science, and not just proving theorems.
The way it all started was in 1964 I was at a conference in the homestead in Virginia. And Lick and I were sitting around talking with Corbató, who was running the time-sharing system at MIT. And Lick was talking about what do we need next? And I was very interested in that. And so he was saying, “Well, we need a network to tie the machines together. We need some way to have them communicate.”
We had to choose a name for the operating system for our network. We checked various things— We had a Sigma 7, we went Sigma 7 Executive, 7 Executive, just SEX. First post on the ARPANET, we put sex on the Internet. It’s documented.
For a long time I think we really thought of him as sort of the Gandalf in the family. We had really very little idea what he actually did, but he was radiating kind of a quiet, willful integrity which I think really was the foundation of much of what happened in his kind of shepherding of many of these processes.
People are amazed at the growth of the Web, but the growth of the Internet, that was actually what happened from zero. So the things that you guys have done from this have been the way that we have learned.
I got to annoy you all morning. So, this afternoon I’m going to torture you with a little bit of poetry instead of dialogue.
Bob couldn’t make it today. And if he could teleport here—I mean that’s technology for the future—he would have been here this evening, but he continues to pursue his vision of improving connectivity among people, and communications environments that enable that.