Elon University

Special Session: Vint Cerf’s WWW2010 Keynote Talk, April 28

Google leader shares insights with global audience at technology event

Brief description: Internet protocol innovator and Google vice president and chief Internet evangelist Vint Cerf gives the opening keynote at the global WWW2010 conference in Raleigh, NC. Cerf and Robert Kahn were co-designers of the first packet network interconnection protocol. He was instrumental in the founding of the Internet Society and the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), both of which he has led. He is known as a technology futurist.

Details of the session

Vint Cerf is a rockstar/hero of the digital age – combination engineer, innovator, humanitarian, spokesperson, diplomat, teacher and overall nice guy. He works tirelessly for the positive evolution of the Internet, and as Google’s appointed “chief Internet evangelist” he travels the world sharing important keynote talks like the one he delivered at the WWW2010 conference in Raleigh April 28.

After Bebo White introduced him to the WWW crowd, Cerf jogged easily up to the front of the raised platform and jumped atop and strode to the podium. His high-energy presentation covered pretty much every top topic tied to Internet issues today. He spoke quickly, touching on privacy, trust, authentication, identity, security, new user-interfaces, mobility, sensors, intellectual property, information decay, cloud computing, governance. It was like a semester-long college course plopped into a dynamic 60-minute presentation.

The ways we get online were one of his key themes. He said Google is in the process of testing the viability of gigabit ethernet in communities to see how it might work, with the idea that other companies will be offering services on it. He spoke about the use of spectrum and said government policies must be addressed before we can offer substantially more bandwidth at a lower cost. “Radio-based distribution is distinctly advantageous,” he said. “I see a lot of potential opportunity, but policies have to change.”

Another delivery idea he touched on was the broadcast of Internet-borne information by satellites. “A synchronous satellite could literally rain information down on you,” he said.

He noted that there are 750 million visible host computers on the Internet today, with many, many more not visible because they are behind firewalls. There are 1.8 billion Internet users now and at least a fifth of the 4.4 to 4.5 billion mobile phones being used today are web-enabled. “It’s a big challenge to offer some web-based applications in a constrained or highly variable data rate,” he noted. “This is a concern because for many people in the world, mobile is the only way to gain access.”

The title of his address was “Everything is Connected.” The links on the right include key statements Cerf made in his talk.

Cerf and Tim Berners-Lee, who was a star at the second big event of April 28 at the WWW2010 conference, following directly after Cerf’s talk, are arguably the Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger of the new communications revolution. It will be interesting to see where their leadership takes us at a time when institutions of all types are being forced to face a new information-sharing paradigm and react to the threats and opportunities that loom ahead.

FutureWeb 2010 home>