"Al Gore invented the internet."


"During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet."

-Al Gore

"...Gore took credit for the Internet..."

-Declan McCullagh

Did Al Gore invent the internet?

  • 5
    It's a discussion about semantics. As such I think it's off-topic, unless you specify the claim better.
    – Christian
    Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 6:50
  • 5
    To the extent that congress created the Internet -- which amounted to saying "Sure, sounds good, here's the money you asked for" -- yes, he did have a leading role. Commented Feb 27, 2016 at 17:58
  • 4
    Choosing to spend money on the internet, rather than the 10,000 other things people asked Congress to spend money on that year, is not a small thing. Commented Mar 1, 2016 at 17:14
  • The term "internet" was previous and should not be confused with Internet. The difference being a lowercase internet being a generic computer network. uppercase internet was promoted by US Congress by a decision to promote a general use internetworking hence the origin/creation of Internet. "Al Gore invented the internet" is imho false, it should read "Al Gore promoted the Internet"
    – bradbury9
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 10:20

1 Answer 1


The facts of this situation are pretty well known. During his time in Congress, Gore played a vital role in the creation of the computer networking system that we know as 'the internet..

Internet pioneers Vint Cerf and Bob Kahn write:

No one person or even small group of persons exclusively "invented" the Internet. It is the result of many years of ongoing collaboration among people in government and the university community. But as the two people who designed the basic architecture and the core protocols that make the Internet work, we would like to acknowledge VP Gore's contributions as a Congressman, Senator and as Vice President. No other elected official, to our knowledge, has made a greater contribution over a longer period of time.


as far back as the 1970s, Congressman Gore promoted the idea of high-speed telecommunications as an engine for both economic growth and the improvement of our educational system. He was the first elected official to grasp the potential of computer communications to have a broader impact than just improving the conduct of science and scholarship [...] the Internet, as we know it today, was not deployed until 1983. When the Internet was still in the early stages of its deployment, Congressman Gore provided intellectual leadership by helping create the vision of the potential benefits of high speed computing and communication.

It's notable that the quote you cite from Al Gore himself is not that he invented the internet, but that he "took the initiative in creating it". Creating something like the internet is not the same thing as inventing it, just as saying that Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone is not the same as saying he created the telephone network. (It happens that he played a part in the latter also, but the two don't have to be related.)

To summarize: the claims that Al Gore made for himself are largely justified. The truth of claims that other people say he made are dependent on your definition of 'invention', and so subject to opinion.

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