Correspondent's Choice

As published by on April 24th 2009:

Twenty years after its commercial launch, the Internet is still at an early stage of its evolution and its future lies in space communications, with people or robots exploring planets, Vinton Cerf, one of the fathers of the Net, told EurActiv in an interview.

In the 1970s, when Cerf designed the TCP/IP protocol – still the basic architecture of the Internet – he wanted to improve communications between researchers and perhaps also with his wife, who is deaf.

Now the Internet is used by over 1.5 billion people around the world, but Cerf, who is currently vice-president of Google and its ‘chief Internet evangelist’, still considers the glass half-empty. “That is only 23% of the people in the world. That means that the chief Internet evangelist has 77% of the world to convert,” he pointed out.

He dismissed the suggestion that the spread of the Net might be hampered by security or financial collapses. “I have been hearing about the collapse of the Internet since 1993 or earlier, but so far we haven’t had any general global collapse,” he said.

The idea of a second dotcom crash following the burst of the Internet bubble in 2000 was also rejected by Cerf, although the value of many companies on the Internet is still over-estimated and many do not make any profit. Cerf simply advises investors to be more prudent. “Keep an eye on the business models of the companies in which you invest,” he said.

While in Brussels for a number of meetings and conferences, Cerf outlined the goodwill of Google, which is increasingly under fire over copyright and privacy protection.

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