Michael Nelson

Adjunct Professor, Internet Studies, GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY
Arlington, VA, United States

About Michael


Michael Nelson is currently analyzing technology policy for BGOV, Bloomberg Government (bgov.com). In addition, since January, 2008, he has been a professor of Internet Studies in Georgetown University's Communication, Culture, and Technology Program, where he has been doing research and teaching courses on "The Future of the Internet" and technology trends as well as consulting and speaking on Internet technology and policy.

Before joining the Georgetown faculty, Nelson was Director of Internet Technology and Strategy at IBM, where he managed a team helping define and implement IBM's Next Generation Internet strategy. His group worked with university researchers on NGi technology, shaped standards for the NGi, and communicated IBM's vision of NGi and the future of computing to customers, policy makers, the press, and the general public. He worked closely with governments around the world on next generation Internet technologies and applications.

Prior to joining IBM in July, 1998, Nelson was Director for Technology Policy at the Federal Communications Commission. There he helped craft policies to foster electronic commerce, spur development and deployment of new technologies, and improve the reliability and security of the nation's telecommunications networks.

Before joining the FCC in January, 1997, Nelson was Special Assistant for Information Technology at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy where he worked with Vice President Al Gore on telecommunications policy, information technology, encryption and online privacy, electronic commerce, and information policy.

Nelson is a Trustee of the International Institute of Communication and recently became a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). He has a B.S. in geology from Caltech, and a Ph.D. in geophysics from MIT.

Areas of Expertise

Internet Studies

I'm passionate about

For 20 years, I've been spurring the growth of the Internet, helping shape its evolution, and studying the impacts of digital technologies.

My TED story

When I was an executive at IBM, I was fortunate enough to attend a TED conference in
Monterrey in the late 1990s. Some of my IBM colleagues were TED regulars and convinced me to attend. It was one of five of the most amazing conferences I've ever attended. Among all the conferences I've attended, I could only compare it to the World Economic
Forum meetings in Davos and the old PC Forum conference organized by Esther Dyson.

I helped an extraordinary group of Georgetown University students organize two TEDxGeorgetown events in March 2011. It was one of the most fascinating, fun, and fulfilling experiences I've had during my five years at Georgetown.

Comments & conversations

Michael Nelson
Posted over 2 years ago
Is America past its prime? DISCUSS WITH Robert Gordon and Erik Brynjolfsson in a LIVE DEBATE, Thursday at 4pm Eastern.
Decades ago, most innovations occurred within one field; today, many innovations are occuring where disciplines combine or overlap (e.g. biology + chemistry + statistics = bioinformatics). Erik, how will the increase in multi-disciplinary innovation affect the rate of innovation and the types of innovation? The type of jobs and skills needed?
Michael Nelson
Posted over 2 years ago
Is America past its prime? DISCUSS WITH Robert Gordon and Erik Brynjolfsson in a LIVE DEBATE, Thursday at 4pm Eastern.
It is possible, Dr. Gordon, that you are missing some very important innovations. A hundred years ago, progress meant BIG infrastructure (e.g. railroads) that everyone could see. Forty years ago, innovation was more human-sized (e.g. PC and cellphones). Today, some of the most exciting innovations involve biochemistry (where the effects are inside our bodies or our crops) or involve organizations and business models (e.g. hackathons and crowdsourcing).