Friday, 14 December, 2018

Bugged by 'weaponized' Web? Inventor Berners-Lee says coding can fix it

Tim Berners-Lee says regulation of the Web may be needed WWW inventor says the Web is "under threat"
Freda Brock | 13 March, 2018, 10:50

Today, the World Wide Web turns 29.

In 2016, the United Nations declared internet access a human right, on par with clean water, electricity, shelter and food. They also decide what content is and isn't allowed on the web. While the United Nations has declared internet access as a human right, mobile internet still isn't affordable in many developing countries which deprives many off the opportunities to learn and access valuable services.

"What was once a rich selection of blogs and websites has been compressed under the powerful weight of a few dominant platforms", said the 62-year-old British computer scientist. "Add to this the competitive advantage that their user data gives them and we can expect the next 20 years to be far less innovative than the last", he said.

This comprehensive and enlightening perspective about the current state of the word wide web and its future is available at The Guardian. Targeting firms including Facebook and Google, Berners-Lee criticised how "a handful of platforms" manipulate and control what people see online.

But there's another problem that business can't really solve: Closing the digital gap by getting the unconnected onto the internet.

These online gatekeepers can lock in their power by acquiring smaller rivals, buying up new innovations and hiring the industry's top talent, making it harder for others to compete, he said.

Apple grabs 'Bob's Burgers' creator's new animated musical series
Already greenlit for two seasons, the series will follow a family of caretakers that work and live in the famous NY landmark. Apple had added yet another show to its growing list of to be produced original content.

The rest of Berners-Lee's letter contends with global inequality of internet access, focusing on those who aren't connected, and those who only nominally are. That's an entire generation left behind.

Berners-Lee suggests that the only way to ensure that these dominant platforms do everything they can to make the web a better place is if regulations are put in place govern them.

He says thinking that advertising is the only way to make money online is a myth, and so is the mentality that it's too late to do anything to make real changes.

The creator says that the web of today is very different from what he created. "Greater ambition" for the web Berners-Lee is joining tech leaders including Microsoft founder Bill Gates and Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff in calling for regulation for tech giants. Even though he has been talking about the problems with the web for many years, now he seems to be saying things are at their worst as he referred to the "setbacks of the last two years".

"Let's assemble the brightest minds from business, technology, government, civil society, the arts and academia to tackle the threats to the web's future. I want the web to reflect our hopes and fulfil our dreams, rather than magnify our fears and deepen our divisions", writes Berners-Lee.

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