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Ask the Google Guy

12 Questions for Vint Cerf

aNewDomain (02/08/16) Gina Smith

In an interview, Google vice president and past ACM president Vint Cerf discusses the Internet's transformation over the years.

He says the influx of content on the Web and the massive level of interest among people to share their knowledge online is the most surprising phenomenon he has witnessed. "I can get the sheer wealth of all the information, and clicking on links to go deeper and deeper," Cerf notes.

Among the developments that excite him are the possibilities of remote medicine, diagnosis, and education, along with videoconferencing and the Internet's casual availability. Issues Cerf is concerned about include the brittleness of the Web's infrastructure and its exploitation by wrongdoers, as well as the challenge of upholding privacy in the Internet age.

He also is concerned about the growing reliance on the cloud to the degree that all of the data people are creating will disappear one day, leading to a "Digital Dark Age." Cerf says those who will come of age in the Internet era must be taught critical thinking, because "the Internet confronts them with all kinds of potential sources of misinformation and inaccuracies." He also thinks coding should be taught in schools, "because [children] should learn the discipline so they can understand how to break things into logical pieces."


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