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posted by martyb on Wednesday April 05 2017, @02:38PM   Printer-friendly
from the no-itsy-bitsy-spider dept.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee gave an interview with radio station WBUR about the state of the Web and its future:

Berners-Lee initially imagined the web as a beautiful platform that could help us overcome national and cultural boundaries. He envisioned it would break down silos, but many people today believe the web has created silos.

And he still largely sees the potential of the web, but the web has not turned out to be the complete cyber Utopian dream he had hoped. He's particularly worried about the dark side of social media — places where he says anonymity is being used by "misogynist bullies, by nasty people who just get a kick out of being nasty."

He also identified personal data privacy, the spread of misinformation, and a lack of transparency in online political advertising as major problems with the current Web in a letter marking the World Wide Web's 28th birthday last month.

Previously: World Wide Web Turns 25 years Old
Tim Berners-Lee Proposes an Online Magna Carta
Berners-Lee on HTML 5: If It's Not on the Web, It Doesn't Exist
The First Website Went Online 25 Years Ago
Berners-Lee: World Wide Web is Spy Net
Tim Berners-Lee Just Gave us an Opening to Stop DRM in Web Standards


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06 2017, @05:48AM (2 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06 2017, @05:48AM (#489520)

    Read his views instead of taking a line out of context.

    He of course did not expect everybody to act as himself. The main difference in vision was one of decentralization as opposed to centralization. E.g. instead of everybody going to Facebook to post inane comments about themselves they would be able to do so on their own page which they would then link in some way rather more streamlined than buying a domain, buying a server or access to one, and going through all the hoops currently involved in setting up a page. Things like Geocities were scratching the surface of the possibility there and was a natural domain for inevitable decentralization. People could connect to and share things however they like. Instead now people use services like Facebook that tries to tell them what they like, fills "their" page with political propaganda / native advertising / etc, and of course heavily constraints what they are or are not allowed to discuss.

    These ideas were taking off for quite a while. People would have webs of pages where one person's individual page would link to others and so on. Given time it would have taken off as the standard. Even interconnected BBS type systems were incredibly promising. I think what arguably killed the direction of the internet was AOL. Instead of the smooth and gradual progress the vision was making AOL dumped huge numbers of low information people on the web all at once and companies quickly reacted to milk them for what they were worth. It was like a giant foam party got thrown in a library followed shortly by v-i-a-g-r-a vendors (TIL v-i-a-g-r-a is censored on Soylent) and Girls Gone Wild. There was nothing wrong with the library, but it's not going to survive that. Companies trying to do what AOL did do was predictable, but the magnitude of their success (and thus the internet's downfall) was not.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06 2017, @10:06AM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06 2017, @10:06AM (#489600)

    What killed the vision of the internet was commercialization. Businesses doesn't like decentralized systems to which everyone can contribute equally. Business likes centralized systems they control, which they can use for their profit.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06 2017, @01:49PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 06 2017, @01:49PM (#489649)

      Absolutely agreed. And that's the point I was kind of getting at. At the time the internet was blossoming as a decentralized independent entity full of varying opinions, views, and types of people. Suggesting a handful of companies would come in and somehow convince the vast majority of join their little ring fenced and heavily controlled space would have sounded absurd. And I think it never would have happened without the unimaginable success of AOL. You needed a critical mass of people and AOL chummed the waters.