Broadbanding America: What, Why, and How
November 16, 2004. Spencer Trask Lectures
The technologies for high speed Internet access are racing ahead towards achieving gigabit speeds to the home, and hold the promise of a digital ubiquity in which any content can be delivered almost instantly on demand. However, the sociology, economics, and policies governing this capability are yet to be determined. What will fill these enormous pipes, who will own them, and what technologies will dominate? Perhaps most importantly, what will be the outcome of the escalating war between copyright owners and consumers? These are fascinating questions, and the answers will affect our everyday lives in the near future
Robert Lucky is an engineer known worldwide for his writing and speaking about technology and society. He has led premier research laboratories in telecommunications over the last several decades, first at Bell Labs and then at Telcordia Technologies, where he was corporate vice president, applied research. Early in his career he invented the adaptive equalizer, the key enabler for all high speed modems today. He co-authored a textbook on data communications that was the most cited reference in the field over the period of a decade. He is the author of many technical papers and of several books, including Silicon Dreams and Lucky Strikes Again. He has been the editor of a series of books in communications and of several technical journals. However, most engineers know him best because of the monthly columns he has written for Spectrum Magazine over the last twenty years offering philosophical and sometimes humorous observations on engineering, life, and technology. Dr. Lucky has been a frequent speaker at technical, business, academic, and social occasions. He often gives plenary and keynote addresses to conferences, and has been an invited speaker at more than one hundred different universities. He has also appeared a number of times on network television, including two sessions with Bill Moyers on his World of Ideas public television show. He has been active throughout his career in professional, academic, and government roles. He has been on the advisory boards of about a dozen universities, has chaired the Scientific Advisory Board of the U.S. Air Force, the Technical Advisory Board of the Federal Communications Commission, and the visiting board of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). He has been president of the Communications Society of the electrical engineering institute (IEEE) and executive vice president of the IEEE. He received his doctorate in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1961. He has since been honored with four honorary doctorates, and has received a number of major awards, including the prestigious Marconi Prize and the IEEE Edison Medal. He has been elected a fellow of the IEEE and to membership in the National Academy of Engineering, and to both the American and European Academies of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Lucky lives in Fair Haven, New Jersey, with his wife, Joan. They have two children and a dog, and live in an old house on a pretty river.