On March 12, 2018 it was the 29th birthday of the World Wide Web and to celebrate the occasion, its creator father of the world wide web told how bad the web has become.
The March 12, 2018 was the 29th birthday of the World Wide Web and to celebrate the occasion, its creator father of the world wide web told how bad the web has become. In an open letter that appears in the Guardian, Tim Berners-Lee painted a disheartening picture of the current Internet, dominated by a handful of large platforms that have narrowed innovation and erased the rich and varied archipelago of blogs and small sites of before . Not too late to change, Lee wrote, but to do so, we need a dream team of business, technology, government, civil servants, academics and artists to cooperate in building "the web we all want". Not the first time that Tim Berners-Lee has expressed his concerns about the web and fake news.
Tim Berners-Lee father of the world wide web against the big names of the web
Lee reserve his biggest criticisms for the huge platforms – implicitly, Facebook and Google, among others – that have come to dominate their habitat and become de facto guardians. "They check which ideas and opinions are seen and shared", Wrote Lee, stressing that they are able to hinder competition by creating barriers. "Acquire challengers at the start-up stage, acquire new innovations and hire the best talent in the industry by adding to this the competitive advantage that the data that users give them provides and we can expect that the next 20 years will be much less innovative than the last 20 ".
Centralizing the Web in this way has led to serious problems, such as when an interruption of Amazon Web Services interrupted an entire slice of internet services more than a week – ironically, almost a year after another similar and paralyzing incident occurred on AWS. But the bottleneck of the internet consisting of a handful of platforms has also allowed something more sinister to make headway: the use of web weapons. From triumphing conspiracy theories to influencing American politics by using hundreds of fake social media accounts, external actors have been able to maximize their manipulation efforts thanks to a much more centralized Internet than we had ever seen before, according to Lee.
These companies are ill-equipped to work for social benefit given their focus on profit. "The responsibility – and sometimes the burden – of making these decisions falls on the societies that have been built to maximize profits rather than maximizing the social good: a legal or regulatory framework that takes social objectives into account can help to ease those tensions", wrote Lee.
Who could solve the future of the Internet?
We, of course, a group of individuals from a vast cross-section of society that can overcome the hegemony of colossal Internet companies. Incentives could be the key to motivating new solutions, Lee concluded.
But there is another problem that companies cannot really solve: closing the digital gap by bringing those who are not connected to the web. more likely to be women, poor, geographically distant and / or living outside the first world. Bringing them to the sheepfold will diversify the voices on the Internet and a moral thing to do now that the UN has decided that access to the Internet is a fundamental human right. But it will take more than creative business models to bring them online and faster and faster: we will have to support policies that bring the Internet to them through community networks and / or public accesses.