At 30, World Wide Web ‘not the web we wanted,’ inventor says

Leroy Wright
March 13, 2019

Berners-Lee said that the web has created opportunity and made our lives easier, but many people feel afraid and unsure if the web is really a force for good.

Tim Berners-Lee issued a cri-de-coeur letter and spoke to a few reporters Monday on the eve of the 30-year anniversary of his first paper with an outline of what would become the web - a first step toward transforming countless lives and the global economy.

The World Wide Web Foundation promotes a "Contract for the Web", a list of guidelines for governments, companies and citizens.

Berners-Lee has already outlined the solution to these problems a year ago, when he launched his Contract for the Web initiative.

"The dream behind the Web is of a common information space in which we communicate by sharing information", he wrote. Berners-Lee plans to stop where he first pitched the idea for the web. "They must ensure markets remain competitive, innovative and open".

English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee 3rd left on the podium best known as the inventor of the World Wide Web attends an event at the CERN in Meyrin near Geneva Switzerland
How to save the Internet

"Berners-Lee said Sendall told him to "'pick a random program to develop on it. "It's our journey from digital adolescence to a more mature, responsible, and inclusive future".

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. Finally, there are the unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, which includes the "outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse".

In the United States, for example, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) repealed net neutrality protections in 2017, serving big cable companies at the expense of the public interest-a move Berners-Lee strongly opposed.

The web also fuels the risky spread of misinformation; search engine optimization tactics can push fake news stories to the top of Google search results, feeding internet users with falsities.

As of late 2018, half of the world was online, with the other half often struggling to secure access. Many experts peg the start of the internet to September 2, 1969, when a team of computer scientists at UCLA got two computers to send data to each other through a network for the first time.

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