Happy birthday World Wide Web
Wow, it has only been 30 years.
I am 39 years old. So, World Wide Web was founded when I was 9. I cannot remember anything that has grown so quickly and made such a huge impact on everybody’s daily lives as WWW and it has only been 30 years since it was founded. Nearly half of the world’s population has access to it and the other half is catching up very quickly.
One of the leaders in the foundation of the web, Sir Tim Bernes-Lee has made a statement to honor WWW’s birthday. In short, he says that WWW is great but there is more to be done.
Directly quoting from him, he underlines that “Of course with every new feature, every new website, the divide between those who are online and those who are not increases, making
it all the more imperative to make the web available for everyone.”
“And while the web has created opportunity, given marginalized groups a voice, and made our daily lives easier, it has also created opportunity for scammers, given a voice to those who spread hatred, and made all kinds of crime easier to commit.”
This is one od the issues that I write frequently about and I believe that it is essential that we fix it very quickly. The urgency is not because of the magnanimity of the hassle of dealing with trolls, but it is about the pace of the rise of IoT. When everything is connected to everything, you want that connection to be as neat as possible.
Sir Lee says that to tackle any problem, we must clearly outline and understand it. And he adds that he has found three sources of dysfunction affecting today’s web:
Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behaviour, and online harassment. System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward clickbait and the viral spread of misinformation. Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarized tone and quality of online discourse.
Anyone who thinks that internet should be for all, it should be free, decentralized and for the good of the people should read and think about these three sources he has identified.
According to a recent Cisco survey 53% of respondents placed the greatest emphasis on the value of the Internet in the past 30 years as a means of connecting people, 46% noted the Internet for allowing new ways of learning, 39% for career opportunities, and 30% pointed to how the Web has created opportunities for new business start-ups. When Cisco asked people about their expectations from the WWW, the response was better education and better healthcare.
So how will it be possible to foster health care and education while there are so much misinformation flooding the net? How can I be sure that my blood pressure results go from my wrist watch to my doctor without being manipulated?
These questions and issues are what humanity should work on collectively. We have the power to shape the future and we should use it wisely.