As web turns 30, inventor reflects on how to fix growing pains

As web turns 30, inventor reflects on how to fix growing pains

We are at a pivotal moment in the history of the internet and I am determined to make sure it can be a force for good while supporting the next generation of tech innovators.

Berners-Lee explained on CERN's role during the birth of the WWW, which he said was largely attributed to the diversity and freedom of research at the institution.

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

"Governments and large companies realise that there are things they need to do to fix the web and that they need to be good responsible participants", he said.

"While the first category is impossible to eradicate completely, we can create both laws and code to minimize this behavior, just as we have always done offline", Berners-Lee writes.

This year, outside his regular annual writing, the 63-year-old scientist made an onstage appearance at his old employer, CERN, to reiterate the idea of the "Contract for the Web", a framework to govern the use of the internet he first proposed in November 2018.

Today, Berners-Lee is the director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and founding director of the World Wide Web Foundation, which is working to build a Contract for the Web.

"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 published on his World Wide Web Foundation's site on Tuesdayexternal link.

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Berners-Lee worked there in the late 1980s, and had been determined to help bridge a communications and documentation gap among different computer platforms.

And although the web has made some people exceedingly wealthy, Berners-Lee's is not one of them, probably in part down to his idealistic vision of providing free access for all.

He also could not foresee the proliferation of hacking, criminal behaviour and hatred now spread online.

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

The World Wide Web, now ubiquitously known as the internet, turns 30 today.

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?".

He said that citizens must hold companies and governments accountable for the commitments they make.

"The fight for the web is one of the most important causes of our time".

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