I had a life-changing moment in 1984 that finally got my students excited about learning. Apple launched a program called Kids Can’t Wait and gave every school in California a computer. Unfortunately the computer did not come with software.
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Back in 1989 when I was a student at McGill University I developed what became the first Internet search engine. So the predecessor to Google and Bing and all of those things.
The Internet as we know it today wouldn’t exist were it not for the fact that a lot of the organizations and individuals who worked on it back then freely allowed the fruit of their work to be distributed for free.
If you talk with people worried about the evolution of technology one of the things they often comment about is that in many cases the future is quite clear. You can see it coming, but you don’t know how far away it is.
When I first learned about being named for this award, I listened to the acceptance speeches of prior awardees and I noticed the central theme was “I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.” And in fact I just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
I’ve been involved with the Internet Society for virtually its entire life. Years ago, I had the good fortune to be involved with the early days of the ARPANET and played a small role in helping build some of the technology, and in building some of the social structures that brought everybody together.
I think my proudest achievements were to be able to set up and launch the first program at the United Nations to promote information technology in a region. And the region was of course Africa.
I got involved with networking sometime in the late 70s, mainly because I was looking around and discovering that people were getting into networking, email. And at the time I was department chair at University of Wisconsin, the computer science department, and was trying to understand what those capabilities would do for our faculty and students.
I’m Elizabeth Feinler, usually known as “Jake.” That’s my nickname. And I ran the contract for the Network Information Center on both the ARPANET and the Defense Data Network back in the 70s and 80s.
One of the things I’d like to see is people have been building new capabilities on top of the DNS for many years now. And I’m hoping to see in the future that we see three or four more people that have built advanced security or other features on top of this infrastructure.