In 1999, former Vice President Al Gore infamously claimed to have created the internet. Taken out of context, the assertion sounded outlandish, and was promptly lampooned to a level of overkill. Below is the former VP declaring his invention of the internet at about 55 seconds in:
In actuality, Gore states that he “took the initiative in creating the internet.” That still is a pretty broad statement, but now The Internet Society has established the Internet Hall of Fame, and interestingly, Al Gore is one of the inductees. Perhaps he did invent the internet – well, not exactly.
According to its website, “The Internet Hall of Fame is an annual awards program that has been established by the Internet Society to publicly recognize a distinguished and select group of visionaries, leaders and luminaries who have made significant contributions to the development and advancement of the global Internet.” Internet Society CEO Lynn St. Amour adds, “There are some extraordinary people who have helped make the Internet an unparalleled platform for innovation and communication, an engine for economic development and social progress that goes well beyond what we could have ever imagined. This program honors individuals who have pushed the boundaries to bring the Internet to life and made it an essential resource used by billions.”
In selection of the inaugural inductees to the Hall of Fame, the Internet Society established the following criteria:
Impact: The contribution has significantly impacted the development or growth of the Internet and continues to demonstrate relevance to the Internet’s ongoing advancement and evolution.
Influence: The contribution, relative to the Internet, has significantly influenced: 1) the work of others in the field; 2) society at large; or 3) another more defined but critical audience/group.
Innovation: The contribution has broken new ground with original thinking/creativity that has established new paradigms, eliminated obstacles or accelerated Internet advancements.
Reach: The contribution has significantly impacted the Internet’s reach among society at large or key audiences in small, but equally important geographies.
Internet Hall of Famers were then divided into a Pioneer’s Circle, an Innovators circle and a Global Connectors circle. Sure enough, Albert Arnold “Al” Gore, Jr. was on the list, under Global Connectors. According to the Internet Society-
As a U.S. senator in the 1980s, Gore was the first politician to grasp the potential of the internet. Gore wrote the High Performance Computing and Communications Act that passed in 1991 which helped spread the net beyond computer science professionals by providing key funding to internet projects, including the groundbreaking Mosaic browser which led to the dot-com boom.
Well, you learn something new every day. Gore – who has been in the news lately for his disdain for SOPA, as well as for hinting at a launch date for the Apple iPhone 5, while at the Discovery Invest Leadership Summit in South Africa – is widely assumed to have been merely a high-level proponent of the web under Bill Clinton. With this new recognition, a bit more credibility has been attributed to the former VP. He might not have solely created the internet, but it’s evident that he definitely helped to get things rolling, along with the 31 other honorees. The entire list can be seen here.