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Werner Does the Valley
Ian A. Stewart | Photo: Courtesy of Magnolia Pictures | August 17, 2016
Herzog trains his lens on a series of tubes.
For his latest documentary, Lo and Behold, Werner Herzog, the man who made us think differently about cave paintings, steamboat travel, and co-living with grizzly bears, is training his eye on something close to home for us Bay Areans: the Internet. When it comes to the web, all wires eventually lead to the Valley—as proved by these cameos.
Kleinrock is interviewed about the earliest days of the web, including the first computer-to-computer message, which he supervised. That message was sent from a lab at UCLA to the Stanford Research Institute.
Hillis, another Internet pioneer, recalls being able to thumb through a directory of online users like it was a phone book. (Today, such a directory would be 72 miles thick.) Hillis is also one of the founders of San Francisco’s Long Now Foundation, the group behind the 10,000 Year Clock.
Mitnick, the black-hat hero whom Herzog interviews about spending five years in prison for hacking, now has several gigs, among them an advisory board position with Zimperium, a San Francisco–based mobile security firm.
The PayPal, SolarCity, and SpaceX bigwig daydreams with an eager Herzog about decamping to Mars. Around here, though, Musk is still known as the man behind Palo Alto’s Tesla Motors.
Thrun, the head of online-education site Udacity who helped found Google X, appears in the film to explain the global promise of e-learning. Offline, Thrun is a research professor and runs the Thrun Lab, focused on artificial intelligence, at Stanford.
Lo and Behold is in theaters and available online on August 19.
Originally published in the August issue of San Francisco