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NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

AI Promise, Perils

‘Father of Internet’ Cerf To Deliver Rall Cultural Lecture

Dr. Vinton Cerf

Dr. Vinton Cerf

Dr. Vinton Cerf, vice president and chief internet evangelist for Google, will deliver NIH’s annual J. Edward Rall Cultural Lecture on Tuesday, Mar. 19 from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. ET in Masur Auditorium, Bldg. 10. The title of the event is the “Promises and Perils of AI in Biomedical Research and Health Care Delivery.” 

The first Rall Cultural Lecture since 2019, the talk also will be publicly viewable via In addition, NIH Director Dr. Monica Bertagnolli will conduct a “fireside chat” with Cerf. 

A thought leader and public face of Google, Cerf is widely recognized as one of the “fathers of the internet” who co-designed TCP/IP protocols and internet architecture.

During his tenure from 1976 to 1982 with the Department of Defense’s Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), he led development of internet and internet-related packet data transport and security technologies. 

As a vice president of MCI Digital Information Services, Cerf led engineering of MCI Mail, the first commercial email service to be connected to the internet. Subsequently he helped design advanced networking frameworks for delivering combinations of data, information, voice and video services for business and consumer use.

Long a champion of internet neutrality and full accessibility, Cerf in recent years has voiced his concern about and proposed possible solutions to combat dangers such as the long-term durability of digital storage, the spread of misinformation and rapid growth of artificial intelligence (AI).

The Rall event is free to all NIH staff but tickets will be required. Tickets will be given to institutes, centers and offices for distribution. Sign language interpreting services will be provided. Individuals who need other reasonable accommodation to participate should contact the Wednesday Afternoon Lecture Series (WALS) office,, (301) 594-6747.   

Part of the NIH Director’s WALS, the lecture is named in honor of Joseph “Ed” Rall, who helped to define NIH’s modern Intramural Research Program and establish a stable academic-like and culturally rich community within a rapidly expanding government agency. To learn more about his life and legacy, see the video posted at

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