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Blog Posts for 2021

July 15, 2021 | 0 comments

A personal discovery in the middle of a meeting is partially responsible for the forerunner of the modern Internet’s commercialized core.  

A 2014 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Dennis Jennings was the first Program Director for Networking at the U.S. National Science Foundation and responsible for the design and development of its NSFNet

In a recent edition of the “History of Networking” podcast, Jennings talked about how he initially got on with the foundation, which involved taking a red-eye cross-country flight in order to join a meeting with early Internet pioneers. Within 20 minutes, he stepped up to a marker board and was leading the discussion. 

“It was an object lesson to me that you know what, I knew as much and was just as good as these guys,” he said. “It was a very exciting personal discovery that I could pick up the...

June 29, 2021 | 0 comments

According to its founder, Wikipedia is not relying on artificial intelligence to check its community-created content for bias.  

A 2013 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Jimmy Wales is the founder of Wikipedia, the world’s largest online encyclopedia. 

In a recent interview with Forbes, Wales acknowledged that while artificial intelligence training often picks up human biases in other areas, those efforts are not being pursued at Wikipedia when it comes to editing. 

“In terms of us using AI, like right now, it's very minimal,” he said. “We have a tool that through machine learning looks at incoming edits to try to identify problematic edits. But that's in a very, very crude and simple fashion. It's pretty good at identifying things like, someone has replaced the entire article with one-word... deep learning tells you that's going to get reverted very...

June 23, 2021 | 0 comments

The human network continues to be a surprise for Adiel Akplogan. 

A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Akplogan helped establish Togo’s first TCP/IP connection in the mid 1990s. He also helped define the Internet development strategy for several African countries, including Guinea, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Togo, Benin and Burkina Faso as a member of the technical advisory group for the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa. 

Despite his work facilitating Internet access for so many diverse countries, Akplogan said in a recent video interview that the growth over the years of the Internet’s social aspect has truly surprised him. 

“The speed at which the evolution of innovation has spread has impressed me and continues to do so,” he said. “Everywhere in the world, you’ll see the same kind of service, especially the social service. The social aspect of the Internet is what has made it go ‘boom.’” 


 

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June 8, 2021 | 0 comments

Larry Irving still just wants everyone to have equal access to the Internet. 

A 2019 inductee into the Internet Hall of Fame, Irving served for seven years as administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, becoming one of the main architects of telecommunications policy in the Clinton White House. 

The creator of the phrase “digital divide,” Irving said in a video interview that he fears both the phrase and phenomenon he observed almost 30 years ago have become politicized in recent years.

“There are 5 million rural American households that don’t have broadband,” he said. “There are 15 million urban American households that don’t have Internet. Yet all the focus at the FCC seems to be on the 5 million rural and not the 15 million urban and suburban (households).” 

 

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May 26, 2021 | 0 comments

The digital divide may have existed before the pandemic but the COVID-19 environment has exacerbated the issue, mainly for low-income households and people of color.  

School shutdowns led to more Black, Hispanic, and low-income students dropping out, losing up to a year of learning. Additionally, “over a third of low-income households with school-aged children don’t have Internet at home, with Black and Hispanic teens least likely to have access.”

The shift to remote work and school also made these disparities more urgent. “Jobs incompatible with telecommuting were hardest hit by the recession” and students who didn’t have Internet at home were forced to use WiFi in a McDonald’s parking lot when libraries with free WiFi were closed to the public. 

The Biden administration recently proposed a $100 billion plan to close the digital divide and connect every American to broadband over the next eight years.

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