It’s a running joke that will never totally leave the public’s collective consciousness. Former Vice-President and the one that lost to George W. Bush in the hotly contested 2000 election, Al Gore, famously (or infamously as it were) boldly claimed that he created the Internet in a speech. His actual quote was “I took the initiative in creating the Internet.” It was a bold claim, no doubt, and it was an unbelievably stupid thing for him to say publicly. But what did he really mean? Does Al Gore really think that he created the Internet? What was the real motivation behind this quote that would be repeated perpetually from now until the end of time?
In reality, what Al Gore was probably trying to say was that he was one of the first political leaders in power to really recognize what the Internet was and its potential in the world. He also helped fabricate a lot of policy and legislation that created fertile soil government-wise for the growth of the Internet. After all, while the Internet is basically a global network of people’s computers, the actual physical connectivity of it is what makes any average Joe have the ability to put whatever they want on the net for anyone around the world to be able to view if they are connected and have a web browser. Al Gore’s policies helped create a stable system to make that level of global connectivity possible, but more importantly, it was left out of total government control. After all, the Internet is a global entity, and therefore no individual nation should harness complete control over it. Al Gore could have realized the potential of the Internet and sought to monopolize it and bring it under the government’s thumb. Instead, he chose to make the situation favorable for it to grow by the leaps and bounds they did.
So, in recap, no, Al Gore did not physically create the Internet. It is doubtful that Al Gore even knows how to code a web page, much less create a global network. However, you could make a strong argument that Gore did aid in the creation of the Internet through his policies and influence, and many heavy hitters in the Internet world have praised him for what he did back in those times to create the vehicle that we use today.
Unfortunately, Al Gore chose a very dumb way to express the sentiment, and that will forever be all that the public remembers.