Ted Stevens, IT Visionary
AP Photo by Lauren Victoria Burke
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) caught a lot of ridicule last summer for his infamous 'series of tubes' description of the Internet during a hearing on net neutrality. In the aftermath, it was easy for people to write Stevens off as a member of an older generation, a child of the Depression, who just never caught on to technology. But 20 years ago in the pages of GCN, Stevens sounded like more like a technology visionary ' or at least an avid, early adopter.
GCN's Jan. 16, 1987, report on the year ahead included a story on the still-developing prospect of PCs on the desks of all federal officials and workers. The comparatively few cabinet members, agency chiefs and congressional leaders who used PCs regularly were asked about their advantages and what they saw for the future. And there among them was Stevens, then the Senate's ranking minority member.
Stevens not only had a computer on the Hill and at home, he also was a mobile user. 'I use mine a lot on the airplane,' he said. 'When stop in Atlanta or Chicago, I can put a modem in here and uplink the work I have done on the plane to Alaska or to D.C.' He also offered an opinion of nonusers. 'If they don't do it,' he said, 'they are wasting a lot of their life.'