World Wide Web needs to progress from adolescence, founder says


The celebration kicked off with a short panel discussion involving Berners-Lee and a group of scientists and industry partners at CERN outside Geneva on Tuesday morning, which was part of a 30-hour trip by the father of the WWW who would then travel to London and later to Lagos, Nigeria, for a series of celebrating activities. At the top of that paper, his boss scribbled three words: "vague but exciting".

Berners-Lee, who has previously rallied for improvements to the technology, said the "fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time".

Berners-Lee's proposal contained the basic concepts of the web, including ideas like HTML, URL, and HTTP, but it would be another couple of years before he could demonstrate his idea.

He said that governments, technology companies and web users around the world have to make their contributions to make the web safer in the next 30 years.

Around half of the world's population is now online, with a Google post accompanying today's Doodle reading: "The web would soon revolutionise life as we know it, ushering in the information age".

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"The web has become a public square, a library, a doctor's office, a shop, a school, a design studio, an office, a cinema, a bank, and so much more", Berners-Lee wrote in an open letter. It seeks help from governments, companies and citizens to become more involved in shaping the web to do more good for humanity. The inventor also remains optimistic about its long term prospects saying, "If we give up on building a better web now, then the web will not have failed us".

And finally he worries about the "unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarised tone and quality of online discourse".

This year's challenge is to create an impactful video around the question, "If you could have one special power that would make life online better, what would it be?". "If we dream a little and work a lot, we can get the web we want", he added.

Under the contract, governments should make sure everyone can connect to the internet, keep it available and respect privacy. Berners-Lee wasn't looking to transform modern life when he invented the World Wide Web; he had just gotten exhausted of having to switch computers whenever he needed to access information that wasn't on his main work computer.

Ultimately, his "Contract" proposal is not about "quick fixes", but a process for shifting people's relationship with the online world, he said. "It is more urgent than ever to ensure the other half are not left behind offline, and that everyone contributes to a web that drives equality, opportunity and creativity".