Vint Cerf

Vint Cerf. Photographed by Austin Hargrave.

One of the "fathers of the internet," Vint Cerf was instrumental in the development of TCP/IP technology as well as the first commercial email system. Today he serves as Google's Internet Evangelist and sits on several boards, including the Council on CyberSecurity. He's received many awards, including the National Medal of Technology, the Turing Award and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.

We hear you really like YouTube. What are your favorite videos right now?

"Robotic hand with a delicate grip" is a nice summary of a new gripping technology for robots. Science Nation's "Seeing Beyond the Visual Cortex" studies visual processing by making people temporarily blind! And I like this TED Talk about the human brain as told by neuroscientist, Jill Bolte Taylor, who had a massive stroke and lived to tell what happened.

What were the last three things you Googled?

“The last page of the Internet,” “The Journal of Neuroscience,” and“Two-factor authentication.”

As Google's resident Internet Evangelist, do you feel guilty using another search engine?

No, I am interested in comparing results.

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What are your thoughts on the concept of a digital detox?
"Luddite nonsense."
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If you could build your dream app, what would it be?

Wine matcher for a dinner menu!

What hi-tech gadgets are you currently coveting?
Solar powered irrigation sensors to control outdoor automatic watering; Tesla S model.

If there is life on other planets, what is the likelihood they have an Internet?

If it has reached our level of communication capacity, very likely—although I am pretty sure it would not be TCP/IP.

How do you protect your online identity?

Google does a great job of keeping software on my devices updated. I make use of two-factor authentication regularly and broadly where it is available. I am also careful about clicking on links and attachments.

What are your thoughts on the concept of a digital detox?

Luddite nonsense.

What fictional account of the near future will prove most accurate?

E.M. Forster: The Machine Stops (1909). Takes current day trends to an extreme then shows what happens when the infrastructure fails.

Where do you go online when you're bored?

The National Science Foundation
channel on YouTube. Google Play, Google Books, Wikipedia, eBay, Amazon, Netflix, TED channel.

Which of Google’s in-the-works projects (de-classified, of course) are you most excited about?

Rapid advances with Deep Mind’s Tensor Processing Unit (TPU) that figure strongly in speech recognition, synthesis, translation and other optimization problems. Also I like CALICO because they noticed people get old and they are trying to stop that.

What are you currently working on?

Safety in the Internet of Things; expansion and codification of an interplanetary Internet; promoting IPv6 and the general expansion of access to the Internet; protecting our society from a Digital Dark Age (the loss of ability to interpret digital content).

Keep up with Vint:

t: @vgcerf