As part of our new Venture Talk series, organized jointly with SAP Silicon Valley and Sapphire Ventures, we had the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, one of the “Fathers of the Internet”. Learn more about Vint’s take on Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IoT, and the Interplanetary Internet.

By Collin Gill-Sommerhauser from SAP Silicon Valley


On October 25, Dr. Vinton G. Cerf, VP and Chief Internet Evangelist at Google, and Nikki Helmer, SAP.iO Data & Decision Science Lead, shared the stage at HanaHaus for an animated discussion about emerging trends in the future of technology. The conversation ranged across a wide variety of topics from artificial intelligence, blockchain, and IoT to the Interplanetary Internet and Vint’s life. Organized jointly by SAP Silicon Valley, Sapphire Ventures, and HanaHaus, this was the second episode in the HanaHaus Venture Talk Series.

Kicking off the night

With over 90 attendees in the audience, Nikki welcomed Vint to the stage and highlighted his incredible history and success in the computer industry. Widely known as one of the "Fathers of the Internet," Vint co-designed the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. In addition, he has served in executive positions at MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and on the faculty of Stanford University. He even pioneered the development of the first commercial email service in the early 1980s.

To open the discussion, Vint shared entertaining stories about how he was invited to join Google in 2005 and how he wrote the first stack for the internet with Bob Kahn in the Cabana Hotel in Palo Alto in 1973. Vint’s enthusiastic personality and clever jokes captivated the audience and had people laughing out loud from the very beginning.

Blockchain, Artificial Intelligence, and IoT

As the conversation continued, Vint dove into emerging technologies and provided interesting insights and new perspectives. The underlying theme that he communicated was that with the rise of new promising technologies like blockchain, AI, and IoT, there must be a healthy dose of caution taken when deciding their applications in society.

He then gave a few examples of how these technologies could potentially be dangerous in the future. One particular case that stood out was the idea of thieves stealing temperature data from a Home IoT device in order to know when to rob someone. Vint made the point that as trivial as this may seem, stolen IoT data could actually allow something like this to happen. The idea may sound crazy, but Vint has correctly anticipated a number of other trends including the rise of mobile as a primary platform and the advent of IoT itself.

The Next Big Thing – Interplanetary Internet

To close, Vint explored the intriguing idea of a delay and disruption tolerant network protocol for an internet in space. This project was started in 1998 at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the concept has been recently standardized by the consultative committee on space data systems. Vint led development of this interplanetary internet and the prototype software is currently running in orbiters around Mars as well as the International Space Station. The future of the internet is going to be out of this world!

In case you missed this exciting discussion, watch the replay here.