Brewster Kahle is an inventor, philanthropist and digital librarian. His Internet Archive offers 85 billion pieces of deep Web geology — a fascinating look at the formation of the Internet over the years, and a challenge to those who would keep knowledge buried.

Why you should listen

Brewster Kahle's stated goal is "Universal access to all knowledge," and his catalog of inventions and institutions created for this purpose read like a Web's Greatest Hits list. In 1982 he helped start Thinking Machines, a supercomputer company specializing in text searching, and would go on to invent the Internet's first publishing and distributed search system, WAIS, whose customers included the New York Times and the United States Senate.

But most notably, perhaps, Kahle is founder and director of the Internet Archive, a free service which steadfastly archives World Wide Web documents, even as they are plowed over by breakneck trends in commerce, culture and politics. (On his Wayback Machine, you can view pages as they appeared in web antiquity -- say, Yahoo! in 1996.) As a member of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, he works to keep such information free and reachable.

Kahle is a key supporter of the Open Content Alliance and has been elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He and his wife operate a nonprofit organization, the Kahle/Austin Foundation, which funds the Internet Archive.

What others say

“Brewster is one of those guys who has been successful in spite of the fact that he has never been after that kind of success. He's been pushing protocols for the benefit of humanity.” — Kip Parent, on

Brewster Kahle’s TED talk