Forget Al Gore....
The Internet — at least as a concept — was invented nearly a century ago by a Belgian information expert named Paul Otlet imagining where telephones and television might someday go.
That was one of the topics in a wild discussion on the history of the Internet, and its future, at the recent World Science Festival in New York City.
The unofficial guest of honor at the panel was Vinton Cerf, know universally as the "Father of the Internet" for co-inventing its fundamental technology, a system for routing packets of data around the globe called TCP/IP. Working on a U.S. Military project called ARPAnet starting in the 1960s, Cerf and colleagues developed the tech that would eventually become the Internet that dominates our lives today.
But panel member Alex Wright, who heads up the "user experience" team at The New York Times, reminded the audience that the ideas leading to the Internet have been around a lot longer. (Wright is also the author of the book "Glut: Mastering Information Through the Ages.")