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The Top 20 ‘Information Highway’
Quotes of 1990-1995

These were selected from the 4,200 statements included in the Early '90s Predictions Database. For more details regarding the original publication of these quotes, use the '90s Database Search - see link at left.

Once computer networks become as commonplace as our national highway system, we will learn to treat them in much the same way. Rules of the road will emerge, and people will learn to respect them for their own safety and for the common good. – Katie Hafner and John Markoff, 1991
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Experts are talking two million characters per second - a forty-fold increase in speed over current technology. If applied to the 55-mph speed limit, it would mean cars zooming at 2,200 miles per hour. – Keith Epstein, 1993
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Just as the development of the Interstate Highway System led to the creation of McDonald's hamburgers, Holiday Inn and a thousand other new commercial developments that would have been impossible without the Interstate Highway System, in the same way we will see the emergence of information services on a nationwide basis that will be extremely profitable and nearly ubiquitous. – Al Gore, 1993
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What the street used to be to historical dandies like Brummell, Baudelaire and Wilde, the Net is to the electronical one. Cruising along the data boulevards cannot be prohibited and clogs the entire bandwidth in the end. The all-too-civilized conversation during the rendezvous stirs up some misplaced and inconvenient information, but never leads to dissidence. Willfully wrong navigation and elegant joy riding in somebody else's electro-environment is targeted to trigger admiration, jealousy and confusion, and self-assuredly heads toward a stylized incomprehension. One fathoms the beauty of one's virtual appearance. – Geert Lovink, 1993
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It's like trying to predict back in 1910 the impact of the automobile on society - the highway system, gasoline refineries, motels instead of hotels, new dating patterns, increased social mobility, commuting to work, the importance of the rubber industry, smog, drive-thru restaurants, mechanized warfare, and on and on. The net will bring more than quantitative changes, it will bring "qualitative" changes. Things that were impossible will now become inevitable. – Larry Landwehr, 1993
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[While the Information Superhighway is a bad name, it could be a great acronym, standing for] Interactive Network For Organizing, Retrieving, Manipulating, Accessing, And Transferring Information On National Systems, Unleashing Practically Every Rebellious Human Intelligence, Gratifying Hackers, Wiseacres, And Yahoos. – Kevin Kwaku, 1994
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Rush-hour traffic jams, gridlock, garish plastic-and-neon strips, high fatality rates, air pollution, global warming, depletion of world oil reserves - have we forgotten all of the interstate highway system's most familiar consequences? Comparing the electronic and asphalt highways is useful - but mostly as a cautionary tale. Building the new information infrastructure will not entail the degree of immediate, physical disruption caused by the interstate highway system, but sweeping geographic relocations and accompanying social transformations seem probable. And the risk of inequity in contriving and distributing electronic services - or conversely imposing them where they are not wanted - is clear. – Richard Sclove and Jeffrey Scheuer, 1994
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The information superhighway, like the Yellow Brick Road, is the route we must take to reach the Information Age ... Problems of communication are in fact at the heart of the economic, social, and political difficulties that a great many citizens must contend with in the impoverished communities of the United States … Our happiness will be an illusion, artfully constructed for strategic ends. The Yellow Brick Road cannot take me anywhere I would like to go. The information superhighway will do no better. – Oscar Gandy, 1994
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Any future information network will help unhappy people secede, at least mentally, from institutions they do not like, much as the interstate highway system allowed the affluent to flee the cities for the suburbs and exurbs. Prescribing mobility, whether automotive or electronic, as an antidote to society's fragmentation is like recommending champagne as a hangover remedy. – Edward Tenner, 1994
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The multi-billion-dollar investments in the developing new telecommunications landscape are driven by a simple, irresistibly tempting vision - the prospect of converting every home and workplace in the nation into a computerized electronic movie theater; shopping mall; video game arcade; business, information and financial center; and perhaps even gambling casino, run by remote control and open all day long, every day of the week. The information highway will not be a freeway but an automated private toll road, traveled mostly by those who can afford the pay the price for the wealth of popular entertainment, information, data, communications, and transaction services it will carry. – Lawrence Grossman, 1995
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With public-access Internet sites, anyone with a personal computer and a modem can become an Internet user. This is the equivalent of being able to buy an automobile and go driving without having to take a driver's education course, pass a test or become licensed ... It creates the reality of tens of thousands of users set loose on the "Internet on-ramp" and raring to go. These users don't necessarily do any harm, but they can place enormous, unanticipated loads on Internet services. – Daniel Dern, 1995
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The information highway is now, first and foremost, an advertising medium crowded with billboards, where the pitches vary from the hard sell of auto dealers to the soft sell of people and institutions vying to become known by being helpful. Soon, there will be billboard-free toll roads, and many of these will have educational value. They will be important to education because most useful education resources take people time to create, operate, maintain, and update, and involve intellectual property that often requires income reward. Some of this time and property will be provided free by public-spirited volunteers, foundations, and companies. – Bob Tinker, 1995
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What will be gained from electronic information and electronic communication will necessarily result in a loss somewhere else. If we are not aware of this loss, and do not account for it, our gain will be of no value. This is the lesson to be had from the previous development of transport technologies ... But so far, traffic-control engineering on the information (super)highways is conspicuous by its absence. – Paul Virilio, 1995
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The term “highway” ... suggests that everyone is driving and following the same route. This network is more like a lot of country lanes where everyone can look at or do whatever his individual interests suggest. Another implication is that perhaps it should be built by the government, which I think would be a major mistake in most countries. But the real problem is that the metaphor emphasizes the infrastructure of the endeavor rather than its applications … A different metaphor that I think comes closer to describing a lot of the activities that will take place is that of the ultimate market. Markets from trading floors to malls are fundamental to human society, and I believe this new one will eventually be the world's central department store. It will be where we social animals, sell, trade, invest, haggle, pick stuff up, argue, meet new people, and hang out. – Bill Gates, 1995
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Part of the “Information Snooperhighway.”What the Electronic Privacy Information Center's Marc Rotenbeg called the Clinton-administration-backed encryption “Clipper” chip, 1995
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The bloom is off the road ... Add more bandwidth to the backbone. Install faster fiberoptic links. Build more file servers. Double the bandwidth, and files zip twice as fast. A nice technical patch ... This will cure the Internet bandwidth problem in exactly the same way that building more highways will solve traffic congestion. The number of bytes or cars traveling across the continent increases. Have we learned nothing from the past five decades of highway construction? Every roadway has been built explicitly to lessen traffic, yet today's traffic jams are worse than ever ... In the same way, I doubt that adding bandwidth to the Internet will solve future bandwidth crunches. Indeed, we'll only find more people trolling the Net, trucking larger files across the wires. – Clifford Stoll, 1995
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Our challenge is to find ways of using the Internet and World Wide Web as a mechanism for learning for understanding, and as a mechanism for "seeing things," not just as a highway system for haphazard. – Kimberly Rose, 1995
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I sometimes suspect that we're seeing something in the Internet as significant as the birth of cities. It's something that profound and with that sort of infinite possibilities. It's really something new; it's a new kind of civilization. And of course the thing I love about it is that it's transnational, non-profit - it isn't owned by anyone - and it's shape is completely user driven. What it is is determined by the needs of millions and millions of users. So cyberspace is evolving to meet the needs of individuals all over the world. The American so-called “Information Highway,” or the “Infobahn” (laughs) which I have always liked very much, is an attempt to create a commercial version. I think that very, very large interests are looking at the Internet, not really understanding what it is, but thinking “We can make a fortune if we have one of those!” You know, they want to get in there, it'll be broadcast television again. But of course that's not going to be it. – William Gibson, 1995
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How do we make sure, when we're riding down that info highway, that we don't get a flat or become roadkill or some other ridiculous cliche? … Here's what I think - you'll go online, nothing really interesting will happen for one or two years, and you'll write off interactivity as a failure … There isn't a single gold-paved road to success in this new environment. There is no road map or users manual. It's not something you can research. And there is nothing to be gained by forcing new opportunities into the boxes of past experience. What we need to do is slow down. To relax. – Barry Diller, 1995
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And a bit of humor from the Electronic Frontier Foundation site:

The Top Ten Anagrams for “Information Superhighway”:

10. Enormous, hairy pig with fan
9. Hey, ignoramus - win profit? Ha!
8. Oh-oh, wiring snafu: empty air
7. When forming, utopia's hairy
6. A rough whimper of insanity
5. Oh, wormy infuriating phase
4. Inspire humanity, who go far
3. Waiting for any promise, huh?
2. Hi-ho! Yow! I'm surfing Arpanet!

And the number one anagram for "Information Superhighway":

1. New utopia? Horrifying sham

-Author unknown, 1995

 

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