Sorry, Al Gore… LBJ invented the internet
: This week’s On The Media has tape from the speech Lyndon Johnson gave when he signed the Public Broadcasting Act of 1967 and here’s the amazing part: Like a science-fiction author, he invented the internet long before it is what we know today. Listen:
I believe the time has come to stake another claim in the name of all the people, stake a claim based upon the combined resources of communications. I believe the time has come to enlist the computer and the satellite, as well as television and radio, and to enlist them in the cause of education….
So I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge-not just a broadcast system, but one that employs every means of sending and of storing information that the individual can rise.
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 getting help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital;
–a scholar in Atlanta might draw instantly on a library in New York;
–a famous teacher could reach with ideas and inspirations into some far-off classroom, so that no child need be neglected. 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.