Al Gore: I never said I invented the Internet

There have been many interesting claims regarding the one thing most responsible for changing the face of our culture in the early 21st Century: the Internet. Bill Gates thought as late as the mid-nineties that it was not as important as the CD-ROM or the Microsoft Network. British Telecom say they have patents on link technology, and are leaning on major Internet Service Providers to pay royalties. And Al Gore invented the Internet.

Or so we were told he claimed. Now he is in a cover story interview on Rolling Stone magazine (I thought this mag was about rock and roll?), and he says he never said so.

Here is a quote from the interview:

Did you imagine back then that thereid one day be a consumer use for the Internet?

Oh, yes. And I began evangelizing the idea of an information superhighway. There were a lot of others who did the work, who came up with the discoveries. And I never said I invented the Internet. But where the congressional role was concerned, I did take the lead. And I went beyond having hearings - I introduced legislation. I pushed big increases in the funding for research into how to expand the capacity of fiber-optic cable, how to develop supercomputers that were more powerful, how to develop the right switches and algorithms to handle the information flow. I went to talk with people who had the early networks - like DARPAnet, which was a tiny little Defense Department network on which the first e-messaging - they didnit have the term e-mail yet - was taking place.

You can read the interview at Rolling Stoneis Web site.

Also, supporting Al Gore is an interesting article by Scott Rosenberg on Salon. Here is a quote:

Several of the people who could claim to have "invented" the Internet, or key pieces of its protocols -- in particular, Vinton Cerf and Robert Kahn -- are out there on the Net today defending Gore, asserting that he was the politician in Washington who took the "initiative" to support the Net in its early days.

I must say this, that if Goreis claims of having pushed support for the development of the technologies of the Internet are all it seems, then it calls for respect. And it seems to me that this is at the very least not an ordinary computer-illiterate politician waxing smart on things he knows nothing about.

Yours, Eolake

Eolake Stobblehouse is a contributing editor to the Mac Observer, specializing in cultural matters, and comes to us by way of MacCreator. Send your praise here.