[Foundation-l] Internet nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

Brian J Mingus Brian.Mingus at Colorado.EDU
Thu Mar 11 17:45:16 UTC 2010

On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 10:10 AM, Tim Starling <tstarling at wikimedia.org>wrote:

> Amir E. Aharoni wrote:
> > On Thu, Mar 11, 2010 at 01:40, Brian J Mingus <Brian.Mingus at colorado.edu
> >wrote:
> >
> >> On Wed, Mar 10, 2010 at 4:31 PM, Thomas Dalton <thomas.dalton at gmail.com
> >>> wrote:
> >>> http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/8560469.stm
> >>>
> >>> We're the biggest non-profit website in the world. That sounds like
> >>> argument for us to get the prize money to me.
> >>>
> >> The Internet is definitely worthy of the prize as a whole but I'm not
> >> following the logic that for-profit websites are more deserving. Google,
> >> for
> >> example, is a major force for peace. In fact it is the biggest
> popularizer
> >> of Wikimedia content.
> >>
> >>
> > Yes, but Google doesn't really need the prize money.
> >
> > Although giving it all to Wikimedia is probably not quite right either.
> Give the Nobel Peace Prize to DARPA for designing the Internet. And
> they've made so many other excellent contributions to peace, like
> unmanned bombers and anti-missile lasers.
> Seriously, the only reason I can think of that the committee would
> choose "the internet" as a recipient is if they wanted to make an even
> more bizarre choice than last year.
> -- Tim Starling
I'm actually not sure how unmanned bombers are not a tool for peace given
our current situation. As Obama noted very eloquently in his Nobel
acceptance speech even though we may dream of world peace it is not yet a
reality. The reality is that we have rogue regimes, unstable international
relationships, religious wars, insane people who manage to get elected as
POTUS, etc... Given that we must put men and women in harms way and we must
drop bombs it makes sense to do so in the most responsible way possible.
These unmanned bombers are a step in the right direction. Similarly for
anti-missile lasers. Supposing a hostile nation lobs an ICBM in our
direction if we are capable of zapping it out of the sky then we can avoid
war entirely. It means that we will not have to retaliate with a
counter-ICBM. How is that not for peace? How can you disparage these
technologies with tongue in cheek? A world without them would be utopia for
sure. We do not live in utopia.

Speaking as someone who has been funded by DARPA (I am now funded by
[[IARPA]]) and whose research cannot be used for war I can say that not
everything they do deserves to be described with insidious undertones. Much
of what DARPA invests in has no practical application within any reasonable
time frame. Furthermore I would note that the D is for Defense, and Defense
does not just mean developing new weapons. More and more defense for us
means stopping a threat in its early development so that nobody gets hurt.

Lastly I will note two reasons that the Internet should have been nominated
(not that it will necessarily win - it is against > 200 other nominees!)

   - Free access to the sum of all human knowledge for those who have it.
   That's 25% of the world and a recent survey showed that > 80% believe that
   everyone deserves access to the Internet as a fundamental right, including >
   70% of those who aren't even connected yet.
   - Secondly, the Internet for Peace Manifesto (

We have finally realized that the Internet is much more than a network of
> computers. It is an endless web of people.
> Men and women from every corner of the globe are connecting to one another
> thanks to the biggest social interface ever known to humanity.
> Digital culture has laid the foundations for a new kind of society. And
> this society is advancing dialogue, debate and consensus through
> communication.
> Because democracy has always flourished where there is openness,
> acceptance, discussion and participation. And contact with others has always
> been the most effective antidote against hatred and conflict.
> That's why the Internet is a tool for peace.
> That's why anyone who uses it can sow the seeds of non-violence.
> And that's why the next Nobel Peace Prize should go to the Net.
> A Nobel for each and every once of us.

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