Skip to Content
MIT News magazine

Arthur Bushkin ‘65, SM ‘67, EE ‘69

Information technology pioneer promotes open K-12 initiatives
April 19, 2011

Chart the history and growth of information technology and you’ll find Arthur Bushkin at pivotal moments, starting with the birth of the Internet.

Bushkin, who earned MIT degrees in mathematics and electrical engineering, was a grad student and instructor at the Institute when he was chosen through its Project on Mathematics and Computation (Project MAC) to spend the summer of 1967 with the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) in Washington, DC. He led efforts related to privacy and security, and he worked on the precursor to the ARPAnet project, which evolved into the Internet. Bushkin visited many classified sites and command centers to understand how they used information so their requirements could be addressed once computers were networked.

Back at MIT, Bushkin continued consulting for ARPA and authored key reports for Congress and the Executive Office of the President on privacy and security issues. In the 1970s, he directed the Carter administration’s effort to enact the Right to Financial Privacy Act of 1978. As president of Bell Atlantic Video Services (now Verizon) in the early 1990s, he led the effort to introduce video on demand.

In 1999, he left the corporate sector to create the Stargazer Foundation, which initially aimed to promote the public good through online educational and communication services. The altruistic focus reflected MIT’s influence on him. “I’ve always felt an obligation to use the knowledge and the opportunities that I’ve received to help humanity,” he says.

After 9/11, Stargazer’s focus shifted to safety and emergency response. The foundation won an award for its technology that automated emergency communications among all local and federal agencies in DC; it was used in situations such as the anthrax scare and Hurricane Ernesto.

In 2008, Bushkin refocused his social activism on education and now promotes open K-12 resources for all students and teachers. He seeks to develop a platform where all current fee-based and free educational tools—online tutoring, educational software, curricular materials, and more—are universally available and vetted by educators. This is a huge project requiring not only new technologies but also changes to funding and perhaps to teacher-licensing regulations. Though progress has been slow, he remains undaunted: “I’m absolutely committed to doing this for the rest of my productive life.”

A divorced father of two, Bushkin lives in Vienna, Virginia, where he enjoys writing—he maintains a blog (www.artbushkin.com) and is working on a novel—and weekly jam sessions on his electric guitar. “When I’m playing rock and roll with my buddies,” he says, “the world stops.”

Keep Reading

Most Popular

A Roomba recorded a woman on the toilet. How did screenshots end up on Facebook?

Robot vacuum companies say your images are safe, but a sprawling global supply chain for data from our devices creates risk.

A startup says it’s begun releasing particles into the atmosphere, in an effort to tweak the climate

Make Sunsets is already attempting to earn revenue for geoengineering, a move likely to provoke widespread criticism.

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2023

Every year, we pick the 10 technologies that matter the most right now. We look for advances that will have a big impact on our lives and break down why they matter.

These exclusive satellite images show that Saudi Arabia’s sci-fi megacity is well underway

Weirdly, any recent work on The Line doesn’t show up on Google Maps. But we got the images anyway.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.