Information Age Education Blog

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Vinton Cerf, Information and Communications Technology Pioneer

Vinton. G. Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google. He served as the Association for Computer Technology (ACM) president from 2012–2014. Quoting from the Wikipedia:

Vinton Gray Cerf (born June 23, 1943) is an American Internet pioneer, who is recognized as one of "the fathers of the Internet", sharing this title with TCP/IP co-inventor Bob Kahn. His contributions have been acknowledged and lauded, repeatedly, with honorary degrees and awards that include the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the Marconi Prize, and membership in the National Academy of Engineering.

In the early days, Cerf was a manager for the United States' Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) funding various groups to develop TCP/IP technology.

Clearly, Cerf has played a major role in the development and implementation of Information and Communications Technology (ICT). I had the pleasure of meeting him many years ago when he gave a presentation at the University of Oregon. He is a remarkable individual!

Recently he wrote a short article for the Communications of the ACM (Cerf, April, 2017). In this article, he presents his theory that many of the people who immigrated to the U.S. from Europe were risk takers, and that this risk-taking approach to life contributed to their success in their new life in the U.S., helping to make America great. One might view his theory/observation as a criticism of President Donald Trump’s recent actions to curb immigration to the U.S.

I was intrigued by Cerf’s statement:

The nineteenth century was also the period of the Industrial Revolution in Europe, America, and elsewhere. The term "revolution" is appropriate given the extraordinary creativity of the period. The steam engine, railroads, telegraph, telephone, electrical power generation, distribution and use, electrical appliances including the famous light bulb, were among the many, many other inventions of that era. As we approach the end of the second decade of the 21st century, we can look back at the 20th and recognize a century of truly amazing developments, especially the transistor and the programmable computers derived from it.

This statement underplays the large number of technological advances that have been made through the use of Information and Communication Technology. I enjoy thinking about the huge changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution and in our current ongoing Information Age (Revolution). Each has contributed significantly to improving the average quality of life for the people of the world.

 Cerf’s statement caused me to ask myself, which of these two major time periods of technology-based change has contributed more to people’s quality of life of life (Moursund, 2/5/2016; Moursund, 2/11/2016). After pondering my possible answer, I decided that this is not a particularly good question. Rather, the issue is that each person, neighborhood, town or city, etc., is different. New technology affects individual people and groups of people differently. In total, the opportunities provided by the new technologies throughout human history have helped many people to achieve a better quality of life.

I have long been interested in the history of science and technology. It is a general area of study that I believe should be woven into our “traditional” instruction in history in K-12 schools. I also believe that it should be given more emphasis in each discipline of study that has been significantly impacted by progress in science and technology (Moursund, 12/23/2016).

What You Can Do

The content of the Web grows now more in one day that you are apt to be able to read in a lifetime. You can view this as information overload, but you can also view it as a marvelous opportunity (Moursund, 2016). Select an area that interests you, and learn something new about it several times a week. Share your new knowledge with others. Doing so will brighten their day and yours.

References and Resources

Cerf, G.C. (April, 2017). A genetic theory of the Silicon Valley phenomenon. Communications of the ACM. Retrieved 4/8/2017 from http://cacm.acm.org/magazines/2017/4/215047-a-genetic-theory-of-the-silicon-valley-phenomenon/fulltext.

Moursund, D. (12/23/2016). The Fourth R. Eugene, OR: Information Age Education. Download the Microsoft Word file from http://i-a-e.org/downloads/free-ebooks-by-dave-moursund/289-the-fourth-r/file.html. Download the PDF file from http://i-a-e.org/downloads/free-ebooks-by-dave-moursund/290-the-fourth-r-1/file.html. Access the book online at http://iae-pedia.org/The_Fourth_R.

Moursund, D. (2/11/2016). Improving worldwide quality of life. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/9/2017 from http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/entry/improving-worldwide-quality-of-life.html.

Moursund, D. (2/5/2016). Quality of life. IAE Blog. Retrieved 4/16/2016 from http://i-a-e.org/iae-blog/entry/quality-of-life.html.

Moursund, D. (2016). Information underload and overload. IAE-pedia. Retrieved 4/9/2017 from http://iae-pedia.org/Information_Underload_and_Overload.

Free Educational Resources from IAE

IAE publishes and makes available four free online resources:

The National Academies Report on Science Education
Some Costs of Polluted Environments
 

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Tuesday, 25 April 2017
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