Vint Cerf: When wetware and software collide

7.00pm to 8.30pm, Monday 9 March

The Theatre

The Royal Institution of Great Britain GB United Kingdom W1S 4BS 21 Albemarle Street London

This event has already taken place

  • Credit: geralt via flickr


Standard £16


Concession £10


Ri Members and Ri Patrons £7

Event description

The internet, World Wide Web, machine learning and social media are products of our information age. In various combinations, they have enabled countless applications, most recently when hosted on smartphones and cloud computing systems.

This talk explores how this mix of capabilities can lead to abusive behaviours being amplified. Misinformation and disinformation propagate and pollute the infosphere. Malware, denial of service attacks and penetration of operating systems are now all too common. 

Join computing pioneer and 'father of the internet' Vint Cerf to find out what is to be done to preserve the great utility of technologies, while suppressing their abuse.

About the speaker

Vinton G. Cerf is vice president and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google. He contributes to global policy development and continued spread of the Internet. Widely known as one of the "Fathers of the Internet," Cerf is the co-designer of the TCP/IP protocols and the architecture of the Internet. He has served in executive positions at MCI, the Corporation for National Research Initiatives and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and on the faculty of Stanford University.

Vint is a recipient of numerous awards and commendations in connection with his work on the Internet, including the US Presidential Medal of Freedom, US National Medal of Technology, the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, the Prince of Asturias Award, the Tunisian National Medal of Science, the Japan Prize, the Charles Stark Draper award, the ACM Turing Award, Officer of the Legion d’Honneur and 29 honorary degrees. In December 1994, People magazine identified Cerf as one of that year's ‘25 Most Intriguing People.’

His personal interests include fine wine, gourmet cooking and science fiction. Vint and his wife, Sigrid, were married in 1966 and have two sons, David and Bennett.

The event will be introduced by Zoe Kleinman. Zoe is a leading technology journalist and presenter with more than ten years of broadcasting experience and a passion for all things tech.

From cyber-security and hacking to artificial intelligence and driverless cars, she brings tech stories to a global audience of millions across radio, TV and online including BBC News, BBC World News, the BBC World Service and Radio 4's Today.

She also travels the world in search of the next big thing. She has raced drones in the Nevada desert, spent the night in a house full of robots, been turned into a human beatbox, climbed Mount Everest (virtually, in a hotel room in Las Vegas, in a VR headset) and survived 48 hours spending only Bitcoin on the Isle of Man.


The doors will open at approximately 6.30pm, with a prompt start at 7.00pm. There will be time for questions after the talk.

Latecomers will be admitted into the gallery.


This event will be filmed and on the Ri's YouTube channel within a few months. Subscribe for free to hear when new videos are released.


The theatre is on the first floor and there is step-free access from the street via lift.

The closest underground station is Green Park, which is step-free.

There is space at floor level in the theatre for wheelchair users.

Seating is usually unreserved for our events. If you and your group require seating reservations, please do let us know by email and we’ll be more than happy to help. Email:

Carers can receive a free ticket to an event by emailing

Our theatre is equipped with an Audio Induction Loop. 

Become a member

Benefit from free and better than half-price tickets, special offers and access to the CHRISTMAS LECTURES ticket ballot.

Join todayGo

Upcoming Events

View all events