Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Did Al Gore Invent the Internet?

In the course of researching topics occasionally I will find a source that says exactly what I was looking to say. Often though they are either too technical, synthesized into a greater topic or just better used as a secondary source.

When I first decided to write on Al Gore I was excited. “Did Al Gore invent the internet?”  was a question that I knew I absolutely had the answer to. The history was there, as was the misquotation, this was a topic I could, with ease, completely cover in writing. So it was to my great dismay that, through the research process, I found a relatively accessible source that fully unpacks the question of Al Gore and the Internet. Against risking reinventing the wheel, I am going to post the article here, the authors have done what I consider the best possible job explaining Al Gore and I will do my best to explain who they are.

Outside of the technology sphere Vint Cerf and Robert Khan are actually fairly well known. Frequently giving talks, and occasionally enjoying the media spotlight (Cerf appeared on the Colbert Report just this summer) they are referred to as “Fathers of the Internet.” Fathers they are, both men are cited as co-creators of TCP/IP. TCP is Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) and IP is Internet Protocol. In our blog post about the cloud we went over the client server style architecture in computing. TCP/IP are protocols (think directions or instructions) that allow this type of communication to occur, it is the instructions that client/server communication is built on. You are probably most familiar with TCP/IP through the term “IP address.” These are call numbers for computers using TCP/IP communication and allow other servers and computers to locate and identify your computer when online.[1] Whenever you use the Internet you are communicating through TCP/IP protocols and subsequently using a technology invented by Cerf and Khan in the 1970’s.

Here is what they have to say about Al Gore and the Internet;


[1] It is important to remember when I say “Locate and Identify” that we are talking about a type of communication. This is not meant in such a way as your privacy being invaded. Imagine trying to meet up with someone. However you knew neither what this person looked like nor where they were. Would this conversation between you two be possible?

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