Viewpoint Hitchhiking on the Information Superhighway
Issue 2, 1994

There is some uncertainty about who first coined the phrase, "the information superhighway." U.S. Vice President Al Gore takes credit for coming up with this felicitous phrasemaking as early as 1978. In the car–crazy U.S. culture, the metaphor quickly occasioned a deluge of clever wordplay. Miles of print and emission clouds of rhetoric trumpeted metaphorical "speed limits," "learner's permits," "jackknifed trailers," "rest stops," "emergency lanes," "roadkill," and "unlimited mileage" – all deployed to describe variations on an event that might or might not actually take place before the end of the century. The Wall Street Journal even devoted a front–page article to the phenomenon of the "metaphor industry" that had grown up around the information superhighway, and the American Dialect Society voted the phrase "Word of the Year" for 1993. There are, of course, serious questions as to what "the information superhighway" really means and whether it will in fact be built. The answers to these questions vary widely, even among my colleagues at Arthur D. Little.