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Two Early Visionaries Among 2013 Internet Hall of Fame Inductees

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Yesterday, the Internet Society announced this year's inductees to the Internet Hall of Fame. You'll notice popular names like Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia; Richard Stallman, the activist who launched the GNU Project and the Free Software Foundation; and Aaron Swartz, the programmer and activist who tragically killed himself this past January.

But readers of this blog may also recognize two other internet legends among the list of the Hall of Fame's 32 new people: Robert Taylor and J.C.R. Licklider. That's because Taylor and Licklider wrote an incredibly forward-thinking 1968 paper on the future of networked computing that we looked at just last month. Their paper imagined quite presciently how computers might one day allow for humans to feel more connected across great distances. And it remains one of my favorite pre-internet artifacts predicting the meteoric rise of networked machines.


Curiously, some people are wondering why Mark Zuckerberg or Peter Thiel or Myspace Tom haven't yet been admitted to the Internet Hall of Fame. Which to me feels a bit like asking why 3 Doors Down hasn't been admitted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I mean, sure, maybe they'll get there one day. Or maybe no one will remember who they are 10 years from now.


This year's induction ceremony will be held in Berlin on August 3rd. The ceremony was originally planned for Istanbul, but the location changed last week due to recent protests in the city and what the Internet Society described as an "unpredictable environment." You can watch a livestream of the event on August 3, 2013.

Photo: Aaron Swartz in Washington, D.C. in 2012 by Peter Partensky (Creative Commons)