Sunday, December 16, 2018

A Remarkable Prediction

President Lyndon Baines Johnson, in November, 1967, making one of the most prescient statements I have ever heard:

 I believe the time has come …to enlist the computer and the satellite, as well as television and radio… in the cause of education…

Think of the lives that this would change: the student in a small college could tap the resources of a great university…the country doctor [could get] help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital…in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind...Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank.

And such a system could involve other nations, too--it could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind.

A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday's strangest dreams are today's headlines and change is getting swifter every moment.

I have already asked my advisers to begin to explore the possibility of a network for knowledge--and then to draw up a suggested blueprint for it.” 

I have never heard this, and want to thank a commenter on a Washington Post article, named Elle Fant, for bringing this to my attention.

3 comments:

Poll P. said...

WOW...sent me to the internet to see when it invented itself....
"ARPANET adopted TCP/IP on January 1, 1983, and from there researchers began to assemble the “network of networks” that became the modern Internet. The online world then took on a more recognizable form in 1990, when computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web."

Jerry said...

LBJ was an intelligent man exposed to the top science of the time because of his positions in government. He also had a talent for applying technology to useful purposes for people. He always thought of what good something could do for people. He won his earliest seat in Texas by promising to bring electricity to the poor people of rural Texas. From his earliest days he was concerned about the plight of people and how government and technology could help the masses.

Bruce.desertrat said...

Well, the thing that became the Internet was well underway by then. Bob Licklder, arguably the true 'Father of the Internet' was hired by the DoD in 1963 to investigate the development of new communications networks.

From the Wikipedia article on ARPANET:

"The earliest ideas for a computer network intended to allow general communications among computer users were formulated by computer scientist J. C. R. Licklider of Bolt, Beranek and Newman (BBN), in April 1963, in memoranda discussing the concept of the "Intergalactic Computer Network". Those ideas encompassed many of the features of the contemporary Internet. In October 1963, Licklider was appointed head of the Behavioral Sciences and Command and Control programs at the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). He convinced Ivan Sutherland and Bob Taylor that this network concept was very important and merited development, although Licklider left ARPA before any contracts were assigned for development.[7]"

This is a good, readable history of the thing that became the Internet: https://www.simonandschuster.com/books/Where-Wizards-Stay-Up-Late/Katie-Hafner/9780684832678