Remarks as Delivered

		      by Vice President Al Gore

		      to The Superhighway Summit

			   Royce Hall, UCLA

		       Los Angeles, California

			   January 11, 1994

     Let me begin by saying it is great to be here at the Television
Academy today. I feel as if I have a lot in common with those of you
who are members of the Academy. I was on Letterman. I write my own

     I'm still waiting for residuals.

     At first, I thought that the Letterman show could lead to a whole
new image, maybe a new career. No more Leno jokes about being stiffer
than the Secret Service, or about being so stiff you need a strobe
light to make it look like I'm moving. I thought maybe it would even
lead to an opportunity to do some other shows. I was just thrilled
when I was asked by "Star Trek: The Next Generation" to come on the
show and do a guest shot -- I was crestfallen when they made it clear
they wanted me to replace Lieutenant Commander Data.

     The historian Daniel Boorstin, who used to be the Librarian of
Congress, once wrote that for Americans "nothing has happened unless
it is on television." This, of course, leaves out a few major events
in our history. But this meeting today is on television -- so
apparently it is actually occurring. And it's great to be here.

     I join you to outline not only this Administration's vision of
the National Information Infrastructure but our proposals for creating

Last month in Washington, I set forth some of the principles behind
our vision. Today I'll talk about the legislative package necessary to
ensure the creation of that national infrastructure in a manner which
will connect and empower the citizens of this country through
broadband, interactive communication.

     We've all become used to stumbling over cliches in our efforts to
describe the enormity of the change that is now underway and the
incredible speed with which it is taking place. Often we call it a
revolution -- the digital revolution.

     Speaking of stumbling over cliches, I often used to use the
analogy to automobiles, saying that if cars had advanced as rapidly as
computer chips over the last few years, a Rolls Royce would go a
million miles per hour and cost only twenty-five cents.

     That is, I used to use it until I used it at a meeting of
computer experts and one of them spoke up and said, "Yeah -- but the
Rolls Royce would be about one millimeter long."

In any event, what we have been seeing with this incredible pace of
change, especially in the last decade, really is amazing. But even
this change is nothing compared to what will happen in the decade
ahead. The word revolution by no means overstates the case.

     But this revolution is based on traditions that go far back in
our history.

     Since the transcontinental telegraph that transmitted Abraham
Lincoln's election victory -- where they were assembling the vote
totals in the East all the way to Califomia in real time for the first
time in history -- our ability to communicate electronically has
informed and shaped America.

     It was only a year before that election that the Pony Express was
the talk of the nation, able to send a message across our nation in
seven days. Of course, the next year it was out of business.

     Today's technology has now made possible a global community
united by instantaneous information and analysis. Protesters at the
Berlin Wall communicated with their followers through CNN news
broadcasts. The fax machine connected us with demonstrators in
Tiananmen Square.

So it's worth remembering that while we talk about this digital
revolution as if it's about to happen, in many places it is already
underway. Even in the White House.

     Let me give you an example. The day after the Inauguration, I was
astonished to see how relatively primitive the White House
communications system was. President Clinton and I took a tour and
found operators actually having to pull cords for each call that came
in and plug them into the right jack in order to complete the
connection. It reminded me of the switchboard used by Ernestine, that
wonderful character created by Lily Tomlin.

And there were actually phones like these (PICKS UP STANDARD BLACK
AT&T PHONE), straight from the White House. They're still there. We
have made some progress. They're only in the press room now.

       But these phones just didn't meet our needs. So now we use
modern phones. And on trips I use a cellular phone like this one,
which some of you have probably used. (PICKS UP CELLULAR PHONE. AS HE
DOES, lT RINGS.) Has that ever happened to you when you... Excuse

TOMLIN: A gracious hello. Have I reached... Hello? Have I reached the
party to whom I am speaking?

GORE: I'm not sure. This is the Vice President.


TOMLIN: The Vice President?

GORE: Al Gore.


TOMLIN: Al Gore? Al Gore? Little Albert? Oh my goodness. This is
Emestine the Operator. My wires must have got crossed. I was trying to
reach the VP of AT~T. That's a little company I work for
sometimes. GORE: Well, he may be here somewhere. But perhaps I can

TOMLIN: I'm sure you can help me. Oh, Mr. Vice President, thank you. I
think maybe you can help me after all. I'm so glad I have this time
with you. I must admit I've been somewhat of a technophobe. Me and my
switchboard have been codependent. But I'm not sure exactly which
track to take.


GORE: Well, we're...

TOMLIN: Are you sure you can help me?

GORE: We're here talking about the information revolution that's going
to provide lots and lots of information to people.

TOMLIN: Yes, but it's been so hard to change. First I had to give up
the bell. There is no ringy-dingy any more. There's only this kind of
low muffled buzz. And I never see a repairman anymore -- that's the
part I really miss. But I want to be a futurist, Mr. Vice President. I
want to be a futurist like you because I think, well, frankly, I'd
have a better future.

GORE: Well, you may have come to the right place because we're talking
about all of these new changes and all of the new information it's
going to provide to people.

TOMLIN: Oh, really? Let me pretend that I know nothing about this. See
if this is an accurate description. Is it kind of like billions and
billions of tiny little BacoBits of valuable information strewn in
every direction across that great salad bar in cyberspace? Is that it?

GORE: That's close.

TOMLIN: Or does that sound more like your local Sizzler?

GORE: You've got the part about the bits right, it does involve lots
of bits.

TOMLIN: What I really want to know is who's going to connect those
bits? Is it going to be the electronically elite, or is it going to be
all of us -- the people?

GORE: As a matter of fact, that's also one of the things we're talking
about here. We're trying to design it in a way that will help the
people and will help you, Ernestine.


TOMLIN: You're not counting me as one of the people, are you?

GORE: Well, yes. And we've got this problem in the White House I was
telling these folks about earlier. We're trying to get rid of the old
switchboard. Now, you know about these billions of bits. Do you think
you might be willing to give us your switchboard and equipment and
help us in the White House?

TOMLIN: Have access to your telephone calls? In a heartbeat. (SHE
HANDS HrM HER HEADSET.) Here, give this to the Smithsonian. I'm going
to go now to the library so that I can cram and fill up with
information and lots of those little info bits. It's been a
pleasure. Give my best to Tipper.

       She is terrific.

       Our new ways of communicating after this revolution will
entertain as well as inform. More importantly, they will educate,
promote democracy, and save lives. And in the process they will also
create a lot of new jobs. In fact, they're already doing it.

The impact on America's businesses will not be limited just to those
who are in the information business, like Ernestine. Virtually every
business will find it possible to use these new tools to become more
competitive. And by taking the lead in quickly employing these new
information technologies, America's businesses will gain enormous
advantages in the worldwide marketplace. And that is important because
if America is to prosper, we must be able to manufacture goods within
our borders and sell them not just in Tennessee but Tokyo -- not just
in Los Angeles but Latin America

       Last month, when I was in Central Asia, the President of
Kyrgyzstan told me his eight-year-old son came to him and said,
"Father, I have to learn English."

       "But why?" President Akayev asked.

       "Because, father, the computer speaks English."

       By now, we're becoming familiar with the ability of the new
communications technologies to transcend international boundaries and
bring our world closer together. But many of you are now in the
process of transcending other old boundaries -- the boundary lines
which have long defined different sectors of the information
industry. The speed with which these boundaries are eroding is quite

       I'm reminded of an idea of Stephen Hawking, the British
physicist. Hawking has Lou Gehrig's disease. But thanks to information
technology he can still communicate not only with his students and
colleagues but with millions around the world. Incidentally, I read
the other day that his voice box has an American accent -- because it
was developed here in California.

       Anyway, in that American accent, Hawking has speculated about a
distant future when the universe stops expanding and begins to
contract. Eventually, all matter comes colliding together in what he
calls the "Big Crunch," which many scientists say could then be
followed by another "Big Bang" -- a universe expanding outward once

       Our current information industries -- cable, local telephone,
long distance telephone, television, film, computers, and others --
seem headed for a Big Crunch/Big Bang of their own. The space between
these diverse functions is rapidly shrinking -- between computers and
televisions, for example, or between interactive communication and

       But after the next Big Bang, in the ensuing expansion of the
information business, the new marketplace will no longer be divided
along current sectoral lines. There may not be cable companies or
phone companies or computer companies, as such. Everyone will be in
the bit business -- and I don't mean the Baco-Bit business. The
functions provided will define the marketplace. There will be
information conduits, information providers, information appliances
and information consumers.

       That's the future. It's easy to see where we need to go. It's
hard to see how we get there from here. When faced with the enormity
and complexity of the transition, some retreat to the view best
enunciated years ago by Yogi Berra when he said, "What we have here is
an insurmountable opportunity."

Not long ago this transition did seem too formidable to contemplate,
but that is no longer the case. Because a remarkable consensus has now
emerged throughout our country -in business, in public interest groups
and in government. This consensus begins with agreement on the right,
specific questions we must answer together.

       How can government ensure that the information marketplace
emerging on the other side of this Big Crunch will permit everyone to
be able to compete with everyone else for the opportunity to provide
any service to all willing customers? Next, how can we ensure that
this new marketplace reaches the entire nation? And then how can we
ensure that it fulfills the enormous promise of education, economic
growth and job creation?

       Today I will provide our Administration's answers to those
questions. But before I do let me state my firm belief that
legislative and regulatory action alone will not get us where we need
to be. This Administration argued in our National Performance Review
last year that government often acts best when it sets clear goals,
acts as a catalyst for the national teamwork required to achieve them,
and then lets the private and non-profit sectors move the ball

It was in that spirit that then-Governor Clinton and I, campaigning
for the White House in 1992, set as a vital national goal linking
every classroom in every school in the United States to the National
Information Infrastructure.

       It was in this same spirit that less than a month ago I pointed
out that when it comes to telecommunications services, schools are the
most impoverished institutions in society. And that has to change.

And so I have been pleased that so many companies participating in the
communications revolution are now talking about voluntarily providing
free access to the NII for every classroom in their service areas. And
I would like to take the opportunity -today to congratulate two
companies, Bell Atlantic and TCI, for their joint announcement
yesterday in which they both individually committed to do just
that. That's leadership from the private sector.

       Setting goals for ourselves is important. Setting the right
goals is critical.

       So let me be clear here today in articulating what I believe is
one of the most important goals for all of us to agree to at this
meeting: That by January 11th of the year 2000, you will connect and
provide access to the National Information Infrastructure for every
classroom, every library, and every hospital and clinic in the entire
United States of America.

       I challenge all of the CEO's who are on the panel and in the
audience during the CEO Summit at the end of the day to make this
commitment at the conclusion of your meeting, and then to challenge in
turn the CEO's of every other company in your industries to accept and
help us meet this goal. If you will make this commitment today, our
Administration will issue the same challenge to state regulators,
governors, mayors, school boards, teachers, librarians, hospital
administrators and citizens throughout this country.

       By meeting this challenge we can realize the full potential of
the information revolution to educate, to save lives, provide access
to health care and lower medical costs.

       Our nation can and must meet this challenge. The best way to do
it is by working together. Just as communications industries are
moving to the unified information marketplace of the future, so must
we move from the traditional adversarial relationship between business
and government to a more productive relationship based on
consensus. We must build a new model of public-private cooperation
that, if properly pursued, can bring great benefits to the American
people and avoid the huge transaction costs which are often associated
with the old, adversarial approach.

       But make no mistake about it -- one way or another, we will
meet this goal. The American people want it. Industry supports it. Our
future demands it. It is one of the principal reasons we are moving
this year on national telecommunications reform.

       As I announced last month, we will introduce a legislative
package that aggressively confronts the most pressing
telecommunications issues, and is based on five principles.

This Administration will:

-- Encourage Private Investment

-- Provide and Protect Competition

-- Provide Open Access to the Network

-- Take Action To Avoid Creating a Society of Information "Haves" and
"Have Nots"

-- Encourage Flexible and Responsive Govemmental Action

       Many of you have our White Paper today, outlining the bill in
detail. If you did not get your copy, it's available on the Internet,
right now.

       Let me run through the highlights with you briefly -- and talk
about how they grow out of our five principles.

       We begin with two of our basic principles -- the need for
private investment and fair competition. The nation needs private
investment to complete the construction of the National Information
Infrastructure. And competition is the single most critical means of
encouraging that private investment.

       I referred earlier to the use of the telegraph to bring the
news here to Califomia in 1860 of Abraham Lincoln's election. Congress
had funded Samuel Morse's first demonstration for the telegraph in
1844. Morse then suggested to the Congress that a national system be
built by the federal government. But Congress said no and insisted
that private investment should build that information
infrastructure. And that's what happened to the great and continuing
competitive advantage of our country to this day.

       Today, we must choose competition again and protect it against
both suffocating regulation on the one hand and unfettered monopolies
on the other.

       To understand why competition is so important, we need only
recall what has happened since the breakup of AT&T ten years ago this

       As recently as 1987, AT&T was still projecting that it would
take until the year 2010 to convert 95% of its long distance network
to digital technology.

       Then it became pressed by the competition. And as a result,
AT&T made its network virtually 100% digital by the end of
1991. Meanwhile, over the last decade the price of interstate long
distance service for the average residential customer declined over

Now it's time to take the next step. We must open the local telephone
exchanges, those wires and switches that link homes and offices to the
local telephone companies.

       The pressure of competition on the information superhighway
will be great -- and it will drive continuing advancements in
technology, quality and cost. Incidentally, when I first coined the
phrase "information superhighway" 15 years ago, I was not prepared for
some of the unusual images it would ultimately bring into our
language. For example, one businessman made this point I'm making here
about competition and the pressure of competition when he told me last
week that his company was accelerating its investment in new
technology to avoid ending up as "road kill on the information
superhighway." And just this week I received a letter from a group of
companies wanting to be allowed to compete, who complained that they
were scared of being "parked at the curb" on the information

       In any event, to take one example of what competition means,
cable companies, electric utilities and long distance companies must
be free to offer two-way communications and local telephone
service. To accomplish this goal, our legislative package will
establish a federal standard that permits entry to the local telephone
markets. Moreover, the FCC will be authorized to reduce regulation for
telecommunications carriers that lack market power.

       We expect open competition to bring lower prices and better
services. But let me be clear: We insist upon safeguards to ensure
that new corporate freedoms will not be translated into sudden and
unjustified rate increases for telephone customers.

       The advancement of competition will necessarily require more
opportunity, as well, for the Regional Bell Operating
Companies. Current restrictions on their operations are themselves the
legacy of the break-up of AT&T and must now be re-examined.

       The Administration endorses the basic principles of the
Brooks-Dingell bill, which proposes a framework for allowing
long-distance and local telephone companies to compete against each

       Regulation and review of this framework should be transferred
from the courts to the Department of Justice and the Federal
Communications Commission.

       This process of change must be carefully calibrated. We must
make sure that the Regional Bells will not be able to use their
present monopoly positions as unfair leverage into new lines of
business. That is why the Administration supports the approach of the
Brooks-Dingell provision that requires the approval of the Department
of Justice and the FCC before the Regional Bells may provide
interexchange services -- most notably in long distance.

       In working with Congress, the Administration will explore the
creation of incentives for the Regional Bells. We want to increase the
transparency of those facility-based local services that raise
concerns associated with cross-subsidization and abuses of monopoly

       Our view of the entry of local telephone companies into cable
television also balances the advantages of competition against the
possibility of competitive abuse. We will continue therefore to bar
the acquisition of existing cable companies by telephone companies
within their local service areas. We need this limitation to ensure
that no single giant entity controls access to homes and offices. But
to increase diversity and benefit consumers, we will permit telephone
companies to provide video programming over new, open access systems.

Even these measures, however, may not eliminate all scarcity in the
local loop -- of course, the local loop meaning those information
byways that provide the last electronic connection with homes and
offices. For some time, in many places, there are likely to be only
one or two broadband, interactive wires, probably owned by cable or
telephone companies. In the long run, the local loop may contain a
wider set of competitors offering a broad range of interactive
services, including wireless, microwave and direct broadcast

But for now we cannot assume that competition in the local loop will
end all of the accrued market power of past regulatory advantage and
market domination.

       We cannot permit the creation of information bottlenecks that
adversely affect information providers who use the highways as a means
of supplying their customers.

       Nor can we can permit bottlenecks for information consumers who
desire programming that may not be available through the wires that
enter their homes or offices.

       Preserving the free flow of information requires open access,
our third basic principle. How can you sell your ideas, your
information, your programs, if an intermediary who is also your
competitor has the means to unfairly block your access to customers?
We cannot subject the free flow of content to artificial constraints
at the hands of either government regulators or would-be monopolists.

We must also guard against unreasonable technical obstacles. We know
how to do this; we've seen this problem in our past. For example, when
railroad tracks were different sizes, a passenger could not travel
easily from a town served by one railroad to a town served by
another. But the use of standardized tracks permitted the creation of
a national system of rail transport.

       Accordingly, our legislative package will contain provisions
designed to ensure that each telephone carrier's networks will be
readily accessible to other users. We will create an affirmative
obligation to interconnect and to afford nondiscriminatory access to
network facilities, services, functions and information -- with the
customer keeping the same telephone number. We must also ensure the
future of non-commercial broadcasting; there must be public access to
the information superhighway.

       These measures will preserve the future within the context of
our present regulatory structures. But in our view that's not
enough. We must move toward a regulatory approach that encourages
investment, promotes competition and secures open access. And one
that's not just a patch-work quilt of old approaches, but is instead a
new approach that promotes fair competition in the future.

       We begin with a simple idea: similar entities must be treated
similarly. But let's be clear: Our quest for equal treatment of
competing entities will not blind us to the economic realities of the
new information marketplace, where apparent similarities may mask
important differences.

       This idea is best expressed in the story about the man who went
into a restaurant and ordered the rabbit stew.

       When it came, he took a few bites, then called the manager
over. and said "This doesn't taste like rabbit stew!" "It tastes
... well, it tastes like horse meat!"

       The manager was embarrassed, and he admitted that he had run
out of rabbit, and he said, "Well, I did put some horse meat in it."

       The guy said, "How much horse meat did you put in it?"

       The manager said, "Well, it's equally divided."

       The customer said, "What do you mean, 'equally divided'?"

       He said, "Well, one rabbit, one horse."

Maybe the lesson is obvious. A start-up local telephone company isn't
the same as a Baby Bell.

       What we favor is genuine regulatory symmetry. That means that
regulation must be based on the services that are offered and the
ability to compete -- not on corporate identity, regulatory history or
technological process.

       For example, our legislative package will grant the Federal
Communications Commission the future authority, under appropriate
conditions, to impose non-discriminatory access requirements on cable
companies. As cable and telephone service become harder and harder to
distinguish, this provision will help to ensure that labels derived
from past regulatory structures are not translated into inadvertent
and unfair competitive advantages.

       As different services are grouped within a single corporate
structure, we must ensure that these new, combined entities are not
caught in a cross-fire of conflicting and duplicative regulatory
burdens and standards. This Administration will not let existing
regulatory structures impede or distort the evolution of the
communications industry.

       In the information marketplace of the future, we will obtain
our goals of investment, competition and open access only if
regulation matches the marketplace. That requires a flexible,
adaptable regulatory regime that encourages the widespread provision
of broadband, interactive digital services.

       That's why the Administration proposes the creation of an
alternative regulatory regime that is unified, as well as
symmetrical. Our new regime would not be mandatory, but it would be
available to providers of broadband, interactive services. Such
companies could elect to be regulated under the current provisions of
the Communications Act or under a new title, Title VII, that would
harmonize those provisions in order to provide a single system of
regulation. These "Title VII" companies would be able to avoid the
danger of conflicting or duplicative regulatory burdens. But in
return, they would provide their services and access to their
facilities to others on a nondiscriminatory basis.

       The nation would thus be assured that these companies would
provide open access to information providers and consumers and the
benefits of competition, including lower prices and higher-quality
services, to their customers.

       This new method itself illustrates one of our five principles
-- that govemment must be flexible. Our proposals for symmetrical, and
ultimately unified, regulation demonstrate how we will initiate
government action that furthers our substantive principles but that
adapts, and disappears, as the need for government intervention
changes -- or ends. They demonstrate, as well, the new relationship of
which I spoke earlier -- the private and public sectors working
together to fulfill our common goals.

       The principles that I have described thus far will build an
open and free information marketplace. They will lower prices,
stimulate demand and expand access to the National Information

       They will, in other words, help to attain our final basic
principle -- avoiding a society of information "haves" and "have

There was a Washington Post headline last month that read this way:
"Will the 'Information Superhighway' Detour the Poor?" Not if we have
anything to do about it. Our Administration believes that it is basic
to require that all be served. After all, governmental action to
ensure universal service has been part of American history since the
days of Ben Franklin's Post Office. We will have in our legislative
package a strong mandate to ensure universal service in the future --
and I want to explain why.

       We have become an information-rich society. Almost 100% of
households have radio and television, and about 94% have telephone
service. Three-quarters of all households have a VCR, about 60% now
have cable, and roughly 30% of households have personal computers.

       As the information infrastructure expands in breadth and depth,
so too will our understanding of the services that are deemed
essential. This is not a matter of guaranteeing the right to play
video-games. It is a matter of guaranteeing access to essential

       We cannot tolerate -- nor in the long run can this nation
afford -- a society in which some children become fully educated and
others do not; nor can we tolerate a society in which some adults have
access to training and lifetime education, and others do not.

       Nor can we permit geographic location to determine whether the
information highway passes by your door. I've spoken often about a
vision of a schoolchild in my home town of Carthage, Tennessee being
able to come home after school, turn on her computer and plug into the
Library of Congress. Carthage is a small town. Its population is only
about 2,000. So let me emphasize the point: We must work to ensure
that no geographic region of the United States, rural or urban, is
left without access to broadband, interactive service. Yes, we support
opening the local telephone exchange to competition. But we will not
permit the dismantling of our present national networks.

       All this won't be easy. It is critically important, therefore,
that all carriers must be obliged to contribute, on an equitable and
competitively neutral basis, to the preservation and advancement of
universal service.

       The responsibility to design specific measures to achieve these
aims will be delegated to the Federal Communications Commission and,
of course, to the states. But where the FCC is concerned, their
actions will be required in the legislation. They have the
flexibility, and it will be carefully defined. But our basic goal is
simple: There will be universal service; that definition will evolve
as technology and the infrastructure advance; and the FCC -- and we're
confident the states as well -- will get the job done.

       Reforming our communications laws is only one element of the
Administration's NII agenda. We'll be working hard to invest in
critical information infrastructure technologies. We'll promote
applications of the NII in areas such as scientific research, energy
efficiency and advanced manufacturing. We'll work to deliver
government services more efficiently. We'll also update our policies
to make sure that privacy and copyright are protected in the networked

We'll help law enforcement agencies thwart criminals and terrorists
who might use advanced telecommunications to commit crimes.

       The Administration is working with industry to develop the new
technologies needed for the Information Infrastructure Initiative.

I have been working as well with the First Lady's Health Care Task
Force, former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop and others to develop
ways we can use networks to improve the quality of health care.

       Beginning this month, we are concentrating first of all on the
legislative package that I outlined earlier. We haven't invented all
of the ideas that it contains. Representatives Dingell and Brooks,
Markey and Fields, Boucher and Oxley -- and Senators Hollings, Inouye,
and Danforth -- have all focused on these issues in constructive ways.

In many ways our legislative goals reflect or complement their
work. We expect to introduce our legislative package in short order,
and to work with Congress to ensure speedy passage this year of a bill
that will stand the test of time.

       Our efforts are not, of course, confined only to
government. The people in this room, and the private sector in
general, symbolize the importance of private enterprise.

       Our economic future will depend in a real sense on your ability
to grasp opportunity and turn it into concrete achievement.

       As we move into the new era, we must never lose sight of our
heritage of innovation and entrepreneurship.

       In some ways, we appreciate that heritage more when we see
countries that don't have it. Last month, in Russia, I had a chance to
see close up a country that tried to hold back the information age --
a country that used to put armed guards in front of copying
machines. In a way I guess we should be grateful they did that; it
helped to strengthen the desire and courage of the Russian people to
bring about the end of Communism.

       My hope is that now Central and Eastern Europe and all the
states of the former Soviet Union can use technology and the free
market to build democracy -- and not thwart it.

       And my hope is that America, born in revolution, can lead the
way in this new, peaceful world revolution.

       Let's work on it together.

       A few months ago, Toni Morrison won the Nobel Prize for
Literature. It was a proud and signal moment for this country:
Recognition of an African-American woman who has communicated her
insight and narrative power to readers all over the world.

       In her acceptance speech, Toni Morrison used one version of an
old story -- a parable, really -- to make an interesting point.

It was about a blind old woman renowned for her wisdom, and a boy who
decided to try to play a trick on her. He captured a small bird,
cupped it in his hands, and said to her, "Old woman, is this bird
alive or dead?"

       If she said "Dead," he planned to set it free and prove her
wrong. If she said "Alive," he planned to quickly crush its life away
and prove her wrong.

       She thought a moment and said, "The answer is in your hands."

       Her point is that the future of language is in our hands. Or
put more broadly, the future of communications.

       As we prepare to enter the new millennium, we are learning a
new language. It will be the lingua franca of the new era. It is made
up of ones and zeros and bits and bytes. But as we master it, as we
bring the digital revolution into our homes and schools, we will be
able to communicate ideas and information -- in fact, entire Toni
Morrison novels -- with an ease never before thought possible.

       And so we meet today on common ground, not to predict the
future but to make firm the arrangements for its arrival. Let us
master and develop this new language together.

       The future really is in our hands.

       Thank you.