Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Some Year-end Thoughts on the "Information Superhighway"

As far as I can determine from my own research, it was U.S. Vice President Al Gore who gave a speech at UCLA in 1994 that popularized the term "information superhighway."  In that speech, he outlined the Clinton/Gore administration's vision of a national information infrastructure and their proposals for creating it.  He said, in part. "We have become an information-rich society. Almost 100% of households have radio and television, and about 94% have telephone service. Three-quarters of all households have a VCR, about 60% now have cable, and roughly 30% of households have personal computers. As the information infrastructure expands in breadth and depth, so too will our understanding of the services that are deemed essential. This is not a matter of guaranteeing the right to play video-games. It is a matter of guaranteeing access to essential services. We cannot tolerate -- nor in the long run can this nation afford -- a society in which some children become fully educated and others do not; nor can we tolerate a society in which some adults have access to training and lifetime education, and others do not. Nor can we permit geographic location to determine whether the information highway passes by your door." Elsewhere in his speech, Vice President Gore alluded to the fact that he had coined the "information superhighway" term fifteen years earlier! Having lived in Korea for the past 12 years, I have enjoyed the benefits of a government-led effort that actually built the "information superhighway."  Yes it did.  The Korean government took its cue from Gore's speech and in 1995 implemented a plan to build the Korea Information Infrastructure (KII).  The government plans unabashedly used the "information superhighway" term in referring to Korea's goal. So, the idea for the "information superhighway" seems to originally have come from Al Gore. However, the important point seems to be that the highway has been built and is being expanded in South Korea, while it is still a matter for debate in the U.S.  The major current expansion of the "information superhighway" network in Korea is via WiBro, which adds an interesting new mobile dimension to accessibility.

No comments:

Post a Comment