CoC holds panel discussion on future of Internet

In collaboration with NSF and Discover Magazine, Tech hosted a round table discussion about the future of the internet at the Georgia Tech Research Institute Conference Center.

The conference included experts from academia and industry who examined many of the upcoming technological, economic and social issues related to the internet.

The discussion included four panelists, including two professors from the College of Computing (CoC), attempted to address the current path of the Internet and the role it would play in the future.

The topics addressed included issues such as privacy concerns with user information, the “arms race” of information security and freedom of speech problems in a more global network. The group also looked at how the internet could be used more beneficially, including how to increase computer literacy and how wireless networks can be used in the field of healthcare.

The ‘New Internet’ conference was the latest in a series produced through a three-year partnership between the National Science Foundation (NSF) and Discover Magazine. It was the first in the series to be held at Tech.

According to Stefany Sanders, the Director of Communications of the CoC, Tech was chosen as the host for the event because of “[Tech’s] strength in future networking leadership and research achievements.”

The professors at the conference included Dr. Ellen Zegura, the Chair of the School of Computer Science, whose research involves creating more robust networks, and Dr. Nick Feamster, an assistant professor in the CoC .

Other panelists included Dr. William Lehr, an economist and computer science researcher at MIT, and Paul Connolly, who is the CTO of Service Provider Business with Cisco Systems.

The discussion was moderated by Corey E. Powell, the editor-in-chief of the Discover Magazine, who said that the purpose of the conference was to “provide a realistic grounding of the future of the Internet—why it is the way it is and where do we want it to be going. Often when people hear about privacy issues and intellectual issues, its often expressed in a vague manner, their eyes glaze over…but we hope to express in more grounded and layman terms.”

Jeff Nesbitt, the director of Legislative and Public Affairs at the National Science Foundation, stated that he “hoped that the conference would educate the audience” and through the efforts of Tech, NSF and Discover partnership, “this information could be captured and disseminated to a wider audience.”

The discussion was videotaped and will be included in both the Discover magazine and website, and the members of the audience included Tech students, alumni and members from the computer and information technology industry.

Sonali Batra, a CS alum who now works in network security and phishing, said that it was a “great opportunity to network, expand her knowledge, and get directions and ideas.”

Despite the collective expertise of the panel, each of the panelists essentially agreed with Dr. Feamster, who said that “we are extraordinarily bad at predicting the future of the internet.”

According to Zegura, it must be made “as flexible as possible and more accommodating to how people will later use it.”