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Romanes Lecture: Dr Vint Cerf - Co-inventor of the Internet

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The Sheldonian Theatre

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The University of Oxford Public Lecture

Romanes Lecture - Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf is the co-inventor of the Internet, and Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google.

"The Pacification of Cyberspace"

Computers have been a part of our environment for about 80 years, emerging in the late 1930s and early 40s in relatively modern form. Networks of time-shared computers began forming in the 60s and 70s accelerating during the 80s and 90s, in the form of the Internet, and then exploded as the World Wide Web took shape in the 1990s. Concurrently, programmable devices got smaller, cheaper and more portable, leading to desktop, laptop, tablet and smart phone products. We now anticipate the arrival of billions of additional programmable and networked devices variously labelled the “Internet of Things” or “Cyber-Physical Systems.” The aggregation of all of these devices is often referred to as “cyberspace”, a term borrowed from the science fiction novel Neuromancer by William Gibson.

In an age of instant access to information and ability to propagate information globally with the click of a mouse, we are experiencing a global, digital Wild West. Everyone so equipped can fire their .30 calibre digital weapons at any target with very little consequence. The metaphorical equivalent of digital stage coaches can be hijacked at will and digital gangs roam with impunity. The question before us is how to pacify this relatively lawless environment, while preserving the utility of its openness to creative innovation and technological revolution. The global scope of the Internet highlights the need for international cooperation to achieve safety, security, privacy, reliability and utility for approximately 3.8 billion users now online and the billions still to come.

For further information about Vint Cerf, please visit the Romanes Lecture webpage: www.ox.ac.uk/romanes

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The Sheldonian Theatre

Broad Street

Oxford

OX1 3AZ

United Kingdom

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