Dan Gillmor's opinions...(excerpted)
Consider, for example, Claude Shannon and Norbert Weiner. In 1948,
Shannon invented Information Theory, describing as mathematical
concepts the behavior of information as it moved. Weiner's closely
related work drew profound connections between information and nature.
Any short list of imaginary Nobel Laureates in information would also have
to include John von Neumann, among whose insights was the recognition
that computer programs could be stored as patterns in memory exactly the
way data could be. Alan Turing defined a mathematical model from which
he could derive the limits of computing; he also designed and helped build a
groundbreaking computer to solve Nazi codes during World War II. John
McCarthy and Marvin Minsky, building on Turing's work, were among the
inventors of artificial intelligence.
Let's also consider Ted Nelson and Douglas Engelbart for pioneering the
notion of hypertext in the early 1960s. And we should absolutely not forget
the people whose ideas helped make the Internet happen in the 1960s: Paul
Baran came up with the idea of reliably moving information around in little
packages, called packets, while Vinton Cerf and Bob Kahn devised the
networking rules, called protocols, that became the universal standard.