Using the simple metaphor of sending postcards and books, Vint Cerf, ‘the father of the internet’ explains the basis of TCP/IP (the internet protocol suite) supporting the internet. In a fascinating and accessible interview for the BBC’s forthcoming DigitalRevolution (working title) documentary series on how the web is changing our lives, he discusses how the web’s open architecture arose by making as few assumptions as possible (i.e. ignoring national structures – favouring topology), paving the way for the most democratic means of publishing available.
He covers a wide range of topics including net-neutrality and non-discriminatory access recalling the history and evolution pointing out why the internet works on openness. He also talks about the impact of Mosaic and the excitement it generated, leading to the founding of Netscape, back in 1994 (I was busy building my first website around this time for what became London South Bank University.
). Vint also dismisses the idea of natural hierarchies on the internet, choosing to focus more on collaboration and viral/spiralling effects as evidenced by YouTube and Twitter – through ease of access to new applications. He cites Wikipedia and Google’s belief in open platforms to allow this collaborative phenomenon to exist.
In conclusion he asserts that the internet will not lead to anarchy but contribute to the collaborative development of our civilisation. Hear hear.