Internet Founders Reflect on Its Evolution & Urge Ethical Use for Future Innovation

James Dargan
3 min readApr 9, 2024


Last month, in a conversation on “CBS Mornings,” Tony Dokoupil interviewed three pioneering computer scientists, Bob Kahn, Vint Cerf and Steve Crocker, whose collective genius fueled the inception of the internet. Their reflections offered a unique lens through which we view the digital landscape’s evolution and its impending future.

The trio, often regarded as the founding fathers of the internet, shared their astonishment and nuanced perspectives on how their creation has transformed society.

Kahn, emphasizing the internet’s essence, noted: “I think it’s the implementation of the internet protocols that’s physical. It’s the description of how it’s supposed to work that’s important.”

This philosophical stance underscores their vision of the internet as a boundless realm of possibilities rather than merely a network of interconnected devices.

Reflecting on the internet’s origins, Crocker said the initial objective was “resource sharing, connecting computers together, connecting people together to do research.” However, the usage quickly expanded beyond professional confines to encompass entertainment, socializing, and community building. The rapid expansion into these areas mirrored humanity’s intrinsic desire for connection and amusement, evident from the internet’s early days.

Cerf drew an analogy between the internet and automobiles, pointing out the transformative yet disruptive nature of both technologies. He argued that despite the internet’s capacity for misinformation and social disconnection, these issues are more a reflection of user responsibility than the technology itself: “That’s their responsibility, that’s not my responsibility.”

The conversation touched upon concerns over privacy, misinformation and the erosion of personal connections — issues exacerbated by social media and the digital age’s anonymity. Yet, the sentiment remained optimistic about the internet’s potential to foster innovation and progress.

“Never for me…I just hope that something like the internet will continue to be part of the society,” said Crocker.

This discussion aligned with broader debates on technology’s role in society, emphasizing that while technology itself is neutral, its impact is shaped by human use and ethics. The narrative mirrors historical instances where technology, from pamphlets to radio, was wielded for both constructive and destructive purposes. It underscores the imperative for societal self-reflection, critical thinking, and ethical guidance to navigate the digital future effectively.

While the pioneers take pride in their groundbreaking work, they also recognize the internet’s evolution beyond their initial vision, propelled by subsequent innovations and the global community’s diverse needs. Their dialogue invites us to ponder not just the internet’s trajectory but also our collective responsibility in shaping a digital future that reflects the best of human values.

The absence of mentions such as Tim Berners-Lee in the conversation points to the internet’s complex history, a collaborative triumph that bridged continents and disciplines. As we stand on the cusp of further digital revolutions, the insights from Kahn, Cerf and Crocker serve as a foundational guide, encouraging us to approach the future with a blend of innovation, caution, and ethical consideration, shaping technology to serve humanity’s highest aspirations.

Featured image: Credit: CBS Mornings



James Dargan

Author & futurist writing about quantum computers, AI, crypto/blockchain. Journalist @ Read my fiction on Amazon or