Happy Birthday, World Wide Web!
Did you call the web yesterday and wish it a happy 30th birthday?!? That’s right, on March 12, 1989 the actual founder of the web (a real person named Tim Berners-Lee), authored the original information management protocol which organized a batch of fledgling computer code into what would become the public internet. Back then even Berners-Lee could never have imagined how much his creation could impact humanity, for both the good and the bad.
To commemorate yesterday Sir Tim penned an elegant blog post, which decried three sources of dysfunction of the web today which we must endeavor to fix. Here they are in his own words – I didn’t feel it was right to paraphrase an opinion as important as this.
- Deliberate, malicious intent, such as state-sponsored hacking and attacks, criminal behavior, and online harassment.
- System design that creates perverse incentives where user value is sacrificed, such as ad-based revenue models that commercially reward click bait and the viral spread of misinformation.
- Unintended negative consequences of benevolent design, such as the outraged and polarized tone and quality of online discourse.
To be sure, the digital age has provided so much good which Tim Berners-Lee and his world wide web must be credited for. However, there must also be times when he probably feels a little like Dr. Frankenstein, watching his creation being used to menace today’s world.
Something to think about, to be sure.