Thursday, March 8, 2012

More on the origins of the "information superhighway"

In previous posts, starting with one in December of 2008, I have noted that the term "information superhighway" seemed to originate, or at least gain widespread popular usage, following a 1994 speech at UCLA by then-Vice President Al Gore.   This was of particular interest to me because the government of Korea adopted this terminology in the Korea Information Infrastructure plan it initiated the following year.
Recently it has come to my attention that the Korean artist Nam June Paik may have used the term a full twenty years before Gore's speech.  In 1974 he was employed as a consultant to the Rockefeller Foundation and used the term "Electronic Superhighway" in a report entitled "Media Planning for the Post Industrial Society--the 21st century is now only 26 years away."  In 1995 his installation entitled "Electronic Superhighway" was installed in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, as shown in the following video.(Note:  "electronic superhighway" and "information superhighway" are close enough that we need to credit Paik at least with the inspiration and vision to apply the "superhighway" terminology to digital communication networks!)    Comments on this topic are welcome!

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