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.”
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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.
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.
You know, I got to thinking about—Tan Tin Wee beat me to this analogy but I’m going to use it anyway. If the ARPANET created atoms, then the Internet created molecules. And Tim Berners-Lee created DNA. And after that, it was just life in all its variations. So now I finally figured out, what is it that …read the full transcript.
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.
When I first started on the Internet in 1972, I joined Doug Engelbart’s group, Augmentation Research Center, and I didn’t know exactly what a network information center was but I thought we were going to be handling information in a very different way, and it was very addictive.