THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Vice President
For Immediate Release
October 12, 1998
VICE PRESIDENT GORE ANNOUNCES FIVE CHALLENGES TO BUILD A GLOBAL INFORMATION INFRASTRUCTUREMinneapolis, MN -- In a speech today before the United Nations' chief telecommunications organization, Vice President Gore challenged delegates representing over 180 nations to use our newest technologies to preserve our oldest values.
"Four years ago, I asked you to helped create a global information superhighway," Vice President Gore said. "Today, I thank you for what you have done to bring about the most stunning revolution the world has known, and I challenge you to build on this unprecedented opportunity by putting these new global networks to work helping people."
"Today, we can build on our progress and use these powerful new forces of technology to advance our oldest and most cherished values: to extend knowledge and prosperity to the most isolated inner cities at home, and the most remote rural villages around the world; to bring 21st century learning and communication to places that don't even have phone service today; to share specialized medical technology that can save and improve lives; to deepen the meaning of democracy and freedom in this Internet age," he said.
The Vice President proposed five new challenges, which he characterized as a "Declaration of Interdependence."
First, he challenged the world community to improve access to technology so everyone on the planet is within walking distance of basic telecommunication services by the year 2005. For all our progress, 65% of the world's households still have no phone service. Second, he challenged the world community to bridge language barriers by developing technologies with real-time digital translation so anyone on the planet can talk to anyone else. Such technologies could reduce the cost of doing business and increase international cooperation.
Third, he challenged the world community to create a global knowledge network of people working to improve the delivery of education, health care, agricultural resources, and sustainable development, and to ensure public safety. The Vice President challenged the education community to link together practitioners, academic experts, and not-for-profit organizations working on our most pressing social and economic needs.
Fourth, he challenged the world community to ensure that communications technology protects the free-flow of ideas and supports democracy and free speech. We must continue to work to ensure that the Global Information Infrastructure (GII) promotes the free-flow of ideas and supports democracy around the globe. Fifth, he challenged the world community to create networks that allow every micro-entrepreneur in the world to advertise, market, and sell products directly to the world market. Such networks will enable entrepreneurs to keep more profits, provide information about world prices, develop technology as a business tool, increase the diversity of the global marketplace, and create jobs.
Additionally, the Vice President called on the world community to address the Year 2000 computer problem, which, if not addressed, could pose serious problems for commerce and communications all over the world.
"We must ensure that the international system is ready for the year 2000 -- because one weak link in the system will hurt us all," Vice President Gore said. "Together, we must solve this problem."