The Internet in the 21st CenturySpecial Guest Speaker Vinton G. Cerf
The freedom of the Internet is at risk as governments that feel threatened try to suppress freedom of expression and access to information. Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, reviewed some of the relevant threats as well as the principal actors involved in this dynamic. He focused in particular on "bit rot," which is the loss of ability to correctly understand the bits we store away, especially after long periods of time. Advances in storage technologies give us the ability to store large quantities of information, but even if the hardware to read the information survives, the software to interpret it might not.
Dr. Cerf discussed the challenges of keeping information alive, proposing the idea of digital vellum: a reliable, survivable medium or ecosystem for preserving the meaning of digital information over long periods of time.