Imagine, just 25 years since the World Wide Web invented by Tim Berners-Lee came into being. Tim, or more correctly Timothy John Berners-Lee was born in 1955 in London, UK and became a computer scientist and originally proposed the introduction of a management information system in 1989 that could be used to communicate between an HTTP client and server via the internet, basically what we today know as the World Wide Web.
Today he is the much decorated director of the World Wide Web Consortium in Southampton, but back in 1989 he was working at CERN in Switzerland [the ones with the Hadron collider] as a fellow and CERN had the largest Internet node in Europe at the time so Tim managed to put together things like hypertext, internet, multifont text object, and connect it all to the transmission Control Protocol and domain name system and presto you have the WWW.
Sounded easy, but it was not till 1991 it was first put online and it was in 1994 that the Consortium was established by various companies that were willing to create the standards and recommendation to improve the quality of the Web. It would be fair to say that Berners-Lee is one of the most important people of the 20th century.
We all know now what his contribution has meant to our daily lives, how the global reach of the internet has made possible an incredible change to communication, to business also although that was never the object of the exercise, and to us as individuals enabling many millions of us to send photos, videos and blog posts like this one around the world.
From the original priorities was the openness of non-interference of the net and privacy, the now well-known government interference, spying and nefarious uses were very much not welcome and are still something he balks at.
The growth of the web and it becoming a global system for publishing is nothing short of astonishing, but more than anything is how ‘internationalness’ has made communication borderless even if attempts to control it seems a constant battle of wits.
So what can we expect in the future. Already we have seen software applications run on the web so ultimately it will become a really fully fledged computing platform as opposed to the web being a mass of documents. Surveys show that many feels that the Web has helped their social relations, made them feel more connected, but as Time Berners-Lee says we need to be in nature too for we are wired for fresh air and green. We have to make sure that technology doesn’t drive that out.
So get out from your screen now and then, even if it only to get down to SeniorNet Kapiti’s Learning Centre for a bit of a social and a learning session.