I’m at the second full day of the conference now. Last night, I was telling Denny about my day, and he asked me who the keynote speaker was. I told him it was someone from Google, and I tried to remember his name. “Vin… Vincent…”
“Vinton Cerf?” Denny asked, agog. I nodded. “He invented the Internet!” said Denny. To clarify, he invented TCP, a protocol that is the basis for Internet interactions.
Nobody mentioned that about him yesterday, though the guy introducing him did take a potshot at Al Gore. However, during his talk, Vinton Cerf actually gave props to Gore and mentioned some legislation he passed as a senator that helped develop the Internet as we know it. He also said he thinks Apple is doing it right, the way they store data that associates it with the app in which it was created. He also took a stand against global warming and suggested that we as a nation could make great strides in science and technology by applying the same sense of fervor and competition to combatting global warming as we did during the space race/Sputnik days.
He was a cute old guy, and he wore the ceremonial academic robes of the Balearic Islands, which bestowed an honorary degree on him one time. It involved a funny, multicolored fringe hat.
This morning’s keynote is by Ray Kurzweil, who looks to be a little nutty (but in a good way). Excerpted from the description of the session:
“The nature of education will change when humans merge with nonbiological intelligence. We don’t yet have communication ports in our biological brains to download the interneuronal connection and neurotransmitter patterns that represent our learning–a profound limitation of the biological paradigm we now use for our thinking that we will overcome.”
Denny says he’s kind of a
space cowboy (edited to add: actually he’s more of a biospace nerd. To be fair, Denny didn’t actually call him a space cowboy; I extrapolated that phrase from his description). I guess that’s suitable for a tech conference in Dallas.