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Communications of the ACM

Letter from the President

Cognitive Implants


Vinton G. Cerf

We are already well into the second month of 2014 and well on our way to the middle of the second decade of the 21st century. One hundred years ago, World War I was about to start. Einstein's "annus mirabilis" papers were just nine years in the past. The first computers were about 25 years ahead, counting Conrad Zuse's 1938–1939 et. seq. work on the Z1 and Z2, especially, as seminal. Some 50 years ago—1964—marked the introduction of the IBM 360 computer. Roughly 40 years ago, the first paper on the Internet's core Transmission Control Protocol was published, the first hand-held mobile was being prototyped, and the Ethernet was invented. About 30 years ago the Internet was formally launched into operation and Apple announced the Macintosh. Circa 25 years ago, the World Wide Web was invented, the Mosaic Browser appears, and the so-called dot-com boom is poised to take off.

Every time I see calendar dates like 2014, I feel as if I have been transported by time machine into the future. It could not possibly be 2014 already! Isaac Asimov made some remarkably astute projections about 2014 in 1964,a so what might he say today?


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