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Tom Wheeler with From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future
September 26, 2019
Tom Wheeler is a businessman, author, and was Chairman of the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) from 2013 to 2017. Presently, he is a Visiting Fellow at the Brookings Institution, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School.
For over four decades, Wheeler has been involved with new telecommunications networks and services. At the FCC he led the efforts that resulted in the adoption of Net Neutrality, privacy protections for consumers, and increased cybersecurity, among other policies. His chairmanship has been described as, “The most productive Commission in the history of the agency.”
As an entrepreneur, he started or helped start multiple companies offering innovative cable, wireless and video communications services. He is the only person to be selected to both the Cable Television Hall of Fame and the Wireless Hall of Fame, a fact President Obama joked made him “the Bo Jackson of telecom.”
He is a proud graduate of The Ohio State University and a recipient of Ohio State’s Alumni Medal. He also received an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from Rochester Institute of Technology. Mr. Wheeler resides in Washington, D.C.
About From Gutenberg to Google: The History of Our Future
Network revolutions of the past have shaped the present and set the stage for the revolution we are experiencing today
In an era of seemingly instant change, it’s easy to think that today’s revolutions—in communications, business, and many areas of daily life—are unprecedented. Today’s changes may be new and may be happening faster than ever before. But our ancestors at times were just as bewildered by rapid upheavals in what we now call “networks”—the physical links that bind any society together.
In this fascinating book, former FCC chairman Tom Wheeler brings to life the two great network revolutions of the past and uses them to help put in perspective the confusion, uncertainty, and even excitement most people face today. The first big network revolution was the invention of movable-type printing in the fifteenth century. This book, its millions of predecessors, and even such broad trends as the Reformation, the Renaissance, and the multiple scientific revolutions of the past 500 years would not have been possible without that one invention. The second revolution came with the invention of the telegraph early in the nineteenth century. Never before had people been able to communicate over long distances faster than a horse could travel. Along with the development of the world’s first high-speed network—the railroad—the telegraph upended centuries of stability and literally redrew the map of the world.
Wheeler puts these past revolutions into the perspective of today, when rapid-fire changes in networking are upending the nature of work, personal privacy, education, the media, and nearly every other aspect of modern life. But he doesn’t leave it there. Outlining “What’s Next,” he describes how artificial intelligence, virtual reality, blockchain, and the need for cybersecurity are laying the foundation for a third network revolution.