Akamai CEO Tom Leighton on the four 'grand challenges' facing the Internet

May 30, 2014

Sara Castellanos

The past five decades have seen extraordinary advances in computer science and artificial intelligence, but one of the most important was the advent of the Internet.

That's according to Akamai Technologies CEO Tom Leighton, who spoke about the Internet and its future challenges at an event hosted by MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory this week.

Leighton said that in hindsight, historians might compare the impact that the Internet had on humanity to the impact of TV, radio and maybe even the printing press.

"The most remarkable thing, I think, is that we're just at the beginning of the hyper-connected world," he said at the event.

Leighton co-founded cloud-services, mobile and security company Akamai Technologies (Nasdaq: AKAM) in 1998 and was the company's chief scientist for 14 years before becoming CEO.

About 40 percent of the world — or about 3 billion people — are online today. But that poses inherent challenges for the future of the Internet.

Here are four of the challenges Leighton outlined in his speech: