Last Friday, Dr. Vinton Cerf, commonly referred to as “the father of the internet,” spoke to a crowd of over 60 people in the ICC Auditorium. Cerf, Senior Vice President of Internet Architecture and Technology at WorldCom, described the future possibilities of connecting common household devices to the internet, but also warned of the dangers of the “internet gold rush.”
Cerf began by telling how the concept of the internet was formulated. “I started this work in 1973, 27 years ago, [and] we didn’t know what new telecommunication systems would come along,” Cerf said.
“We wanted very much for this internet design to work on any new telecommunication technology that might come along in the future,” he said.
The quest for a simple design led Cerf to develop the concept of the internet protocol, commonly referred to as an IP. The purpose of an IP is to transport information from point A to point B.
Cerf also discussed the likelihood that common devices will become internet enabled. He mentioned a bar code scanner added to the refrigerator that would allow it to download internet meal ideas and recipes, requiring only the food already in the refrigerator.
“You might not be surprised to go shopping and get a page from your refrigerator saying don’t forget the marinara sauce” Cerf said.
Cerf noted that the endless possibilities have caused us to be “in the middle of a gold rush in the internet.” Though the internet has only been a commercial activity for 10 years, there has been a lot learned in a short period of time, Cerf said.
“There is an awfully important lesson that everybody should take away from gold rushes,” he warned, “People who make money in gold rushes are not the people who are looking for the gold ? The people who make money in the gold rush are the people who sell the picks and the shovels.”