“To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate,” Berners-Lee said. “If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042. That’s an entire generation left behind.” Earlier this year in an open letter he called for large technology firms to be regulated to prevent the web from being “weaponised at scale”.

“In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data.”

“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.These problems have proliferated because of the concentration of power in the hands of a few platforms – including Facebook, Google, and Twitter – which “control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared”.

Google now accounts for about 87% of online searches worldwide. Facebook has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users – more than 20 times more than MySpace at its peak. Together, the two companies (including their subsidiaries Instagram and YouTube) slurp up more than 60% of digital advertising spend worldwide.

Berners-Lee warned of “two myths” that “limit our collective imagination” when looking for solutions to the problems facing the web: “The myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it’s too late to change the way platforms operate. On both points we need to be a little more creative,” he said

Two years ago, the UN declared internet access to be a basic human right on par with clean water, shelter, food and electricity. This is far from reality even in India. 

Are we mindlessly marching ahead or is it time to introspect are we really marching ahead because Sir Tim imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But there are quite a few issues we are facing like 

We have lost control over our personal data

It too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

We are facing these issues daily not knowing what to trust and what not to. They have to be addressed and corrected so that the web can be used to take humanity ahead and not backwards.


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World Wide Web: Marching Ahead?
World Wide Web: Marching Ahead?

World Wide Web: Marching Ahead?


World Wide Web: Marching Ahead?


Nearly three decades ago Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web and set to transform almost every aspect of our lives. This year - 2018 is the first year that more than half of the world’s population will be online.Though this is a milestone, this still leaves a gaping “digital divide” that exacerbates existing inequalities: you are more likely to be offline if you are female, poor, or live in a rural area or a low-income country.

“To be offline today is to be excluded from opportunities to learn and earn, to access valuable services, and to participate in democratic debate,” Berners-Lee said. “If we do not invest seriously in closing this gap, the last billion will not be connected until 2042. That’s an entire generation left behind.” Earlier this year in an open letter he called for large technology firms to be regulated to prevent the web from being “weaponised at scale”.

“In recent years, we’ve seen conspiracy theories trend on social media platforms, fake Twitter and Facebook accounts stoke social tensions, external actors interfere in elections, and criminals steal troves of personal data.”

“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.These problems have proliferated because of the concentration of power in the hands of a few platforms – including Facebook, Google, and Twitter – which “control which ideas and opinions are seen and shared”.

Google now accounts for about 87% of online searches worldwide. Facebook has more than 2.2 billion monthly active users – more than 20 times more than MySpace at its peak. Together, the two companies (including their subsidiaries Instagram and YouTube) slurp up more than 60% of digital advertising spend worldwide.

Berners-Lee warned of “two myths” that “limit our collective imagination” when looking for solutions to the problems facing the web: “The myth that advertising is the only possible business model for online companies, and the myth that it’s too late to change the way platforms operate. On both points we need to be a little more creative,” he said

Two years ago, the UN declared internet access to be a basic human right on par with clean water, shelter, food and electricity. This is far from reality even in India. 

Are we mindlessly marching ahead or is it time to introspect are we really marching ahead because Sir Tim imagined the web as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities, and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries. In many ways, the web has lived up to this vision, though it has been a recurring battle to keep it open. But there are quite a few issues we are facing like 

We have lost control over our personal data

It too easy for misinformation to spread on the web

Political advertising online needs transparency and understanding

We are facing these issues daily not knowing what to trust and what not to. They have to be addressed and corrected so that the web can be used to take humanity ahead and not backwards.




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