< LBJ, Futurist

Transcript

Friday, June 24, 2005

BROOKE GLADSTONE: By the way, when President Johnson signed the Public Broadcasting Act on November 7, 1967, he was thinking far beyond the potential of public broadcasting.

LYNDON JOHNSON: I think we must consider new ways to build a great network for knowledge - not just a broadcast system - but one that employs every means of sending and of storing information that the individual can use.

BROOKE GLADSTONE: Okay. Here's the part, the part where Lyndon Baines Johnson, in his perfervid imagination, invents the internet.

LYNDON JOHNSON: The country doctor getting help from a distant laboratory or a teaching hospital; a scholar in Atlanta might draw instantly on a library in New York; a famous teacher could reach with ideas and inspiration into some far-off classroom, so that no child need be neglected. Eventually, I think this electronic knowledge bank could be as valuable as the Federal Reserve Bank, and such a system could involve other nations. It could involve them in a partnership to share knowledge and to thus enrich all mankind. A wild and visionary idea? Not at all. Yesterday's strangest dreams are today's headlines, and change is getting swifter every moment.

BROOKE GLADSTONE: Who knew?

BROOKE GLADSTONE: Coming up, Hillary and Rupert, sitting in a tree of political expedience. This is On the Media from NPR.