Much to his dismay, Tim Berners-Lee does not see his creation doing enough to help address gender inequality.
Part of the Internet Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, Berners-Lee is the founder of the World Wide Web and wrote the first web client and server.
In honor of the 31st anniversary of the web’s launch, Berners-Lee posted an open letter on his foundation’s website and CNN. In it, he lamented that the Internet is still disproportionately made available to men while simultaneously exacerbating violence against women and girls.
"This should concern us all. Women's rights are human rights and are fundamental to a healthy society, from reducing poverty and disease to improving education and economic growth," he wrote in his letter. "And so it's up to all of us to make the web work for everyone."
Nabil Bukhalid sees the Internet as a major disruptor, although he’s not quite sure how to label it.
While at the American University of Beirut, the 2017 Internet Hall of Fame inductee led the computing and networking team that brought Internet access to Lebanon.
In a recent video interview, Bukhalid acknowledged the Internet’s lasting impact on a wide range of disciplines, including how the world does business as a whole.
“I believe…it will shift the global economic model,” he said. “They will redefine education, public health…and a large number of industries. It’s a revolution by itself.”
Jaap Akkerhuis wants to see future generations of computer engineers make their own mistakes.
A 2017 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Akkerhuis spent time with Carnegie Mellon University’s Information Technology Center, Mt. Xinu and Bell Laboratories before returning to the Netherlands in 1995 to join NLnet - the first Dutch Internet service provider. The research engineer has also served on ICANN’s Security and Stability Advisory Committee since its inception.
In a recent interview, Akkerhuis said he enjoyed seeing new developments that he and his peers never dreamed of. He also encouraged the younger generation of developers to not get hung up with existing infrastructure and think outside the box when coming up with new systems.
“Don’t get intimidated by us older guys,” he said. “Go on ahead and find a way to make things work. A ‘can do’ mentality should work – just go out and explore.”
Although COVID-19 has brought most of the world to a screeching halt, it has not stopped the Internet or one of its biggest cheerleaders.
Part of the Internet Hall of Fame’s inaugural class, Vint Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols. Since 2005, he has been a vice president and “Chief Internet Evangelist” for Google, promoting the web’s capabilities.
Although the web’s basic protocols have not changed in 50 years, it is largely still able to handle the surge in traffic brought on by the novel coronavirus, something Cerf took great pride in during a recent interview with the Washington Post via Google Hangout after recovering from COVID-19.
“This basic architecture is 50 years old, and everyone is online,” he said. “And the thing is not collapsing.”
Jean Armour Polly, retired from working as a public librarian and Internet evangelist, continues to provide folks with information in a very personal way. She volunteers at a local Rescue Mission Thrifty Shopper, organizing bric-a-brac. But in addition to that “organizing” role, she has used her tech expertise, tenacity and sleuthing skills to reunite old photos and documents with their families of origin.
“I have shipped precious historical items to families in New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Tennessee,” she said. “It is my honor to return these things to families.”
It’s surprising what gets brought to the Thrifty Shopper. Items that come in have included things like photo albums, marriage and death certificates, and even cemetery deeds.
“If there’s any kind of identifying information, I go to my ancestry.com account and build out a little family tree to find descendants who are actively involved in researching that line. Quite a project, but the resulting families are so grateful!”
In the process, Polly has become an avid, albeit amateur, genealogist. “I have access to many online resources and archives,” she says. “Because of my own DNA test results, I have connected with other DNA ‘hits’ to me, to work out how we’re related. More than a handful of times the hits were adoptees or children of adoptees who were...