Keynote Address: 20th
Annual Information and Communications Technology for
Sustainable Economic, Business and Social Development Conference
Jerry MacArthur Hultin, 10th President
July 10 -11, 2008
United Nations Headquarters, New York, NY
I want to welcome everybody. I think as the morning progresses, the level of particularity and information
will continue to increase. I will try to bring a few ideas to the table that will give you maneuvering room and
value as you go forward.
I want to say if you marvel today at this transformation of computing, information and communications has
created, we still have to look back on history and say this is not the first time. When they were beating
signal drums in Africa, they were not just doing it for the rhythm. It was information, it was a warning about
colonial slave trading, it was a warning about stealing them away as slaves. So data has been
communicated for a long time across distances.
And, of course, if you were Lord Nelson, you saw the value of a set of signal flags that could rally 60, 80
ships to a major naval victory. Again, using data across distances. Think of Europe in the Victorian era.
You could use a semaphore and get a signal from London to the coast at Portsmouth in something
approaching a minute. In fact, it was Einstein's watching railroad signals that led him to think about time