The future of the Internet today is not defined by technologists, it is defined by the rich interplay between technology and the larger context of economic investment, regulatory theory, social, cultural, and political concerns. It’s a challenge for the technical community to understand these larger factors.
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If you’re looking to the question how can the whole thing be regulated, how can one get control of this whole environment, so as to create a world in which those original freedoms that Barlow was talking about are shared by everyone, the answer is you can’t do it.
Citizenship, after not thinking about it for a while, feels like something we’re all thinking about quite a lot these days. In the words of Hannah Arendt, citizenship is the right to have rights. All of your rights essentially descend from your citizenship, because only countries will protect those rights.
I’m just going to say it, I would like to completely blow up employment classification as we know it. I do not think that defining full-time work as the place where you get benefits, and part-time work as the place where you have to fight to get a full-time job, is an appropriate way of addressing this labor market.
I often think back to my life before I started using the Internet. Well basically I had a life. But once I sat down at a Sun workstation at the University of Texas in 1988, I was completely hooked. And I’ve been addicted ever since.
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.
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.
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.
One of our earliest commercial customers was a small startup named Qualcomm. And we made some bold choices like purchasing equipment from another small startup named Cisco and provided them with a big boost. We were 10% of their gross revenue for 1988, and they didn’t know how to fulfill our order.