A couple weeks ago, I was honored with an award from the NCWIT. the National Center for Women and Information Technology. Unfortunately, I had a bad flu and couldn’t accept the award in person. So my dear friend and colleague Heather Champ went down to accept it for me, and deliver my speech. This is that speech.
By clock and inch, by place and measure, by drive, dream and design, we’ve come here to California and to the keyboards of our computers, to make the future.
Our successes have been so great and so rapid that within 20 years we’ve gotten a third of the world’s population online, shrunk our computers to the size of our hands, and connected each to each. The magic, the generosity of spirit, the kindness, the art and the song that we’ve put into this technology and into this medium are in evidence all around us, every day.
But with all the glories, many defeats. We make our human mistakes. Connected to so many, we are intimate with fewer and fewer. We squander our days in amusements. Instead of truth, triviality. We are exhorted to sate the urges of the millions, their sloth, greed, pride or lust. We are told that this is what will make us a success. This is a deadly cynicism, which we must fight.
Because the internet is a medium, it doesn’t care whether it transmits love or hate. It is what we build and who we are that make it what it is. We can build things that diminish our humanity or build things that bring us to human flourishing.
There is great work to be done, and the women will lead us. So I say: Astonish us with your genius. Inspire us with your creation. Work with one another. Endure the tribulations. Dream, struggle, create, prevail. Be daring. Be brave. Be loving. Be compassionate. Be strong. Be brilliant. Be beautiful.