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Tim Berners-Lee on the future of the web: "The system is failing"

Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the World Wide Web remains an optimist, but worried about advertising, network neutrality and fake news

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the world wide web, remains an optimist, but sees a "bad wind" blowing between concerns about advertising, net neutrality and fake news.

Tim Berners-Lee less optimistic about the future of the web

Sir Tim Berners-Lee's optimism about the future of the web is beginning to diminish in the face of a "bad storm" of problems, including the withdrawal of defenses on net neutrality, the proliferation of false news, fake news, propaganda and the growing polarization of the web. In an interview with the Guardian, he expressed his concern about the fate of the network.

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the web, "algorithms as weapons2

Tim Berners-Lee the inventor of the world wide web has always maintained that his creation was a reflection of humanity: the good, the bad and the bad. But Tim Berners-Lee's vision of an "open platform that allows anyone to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographical boundaries" has been tested by increasingly powerful digital guardians, whose algorithms can be used as weapons by master manipulators.

Tim Berners-Lee: "I'm still optimistic but …"

"I am still an optimist, but an optimist standing at the top of the hill with a bad storm blowing in my face, clinging to a fence," the British computer scientist said.

"We have to grit our teeth and hold on to the fence and don't assume that the network will lead us to wonderful things," he said.

Tim Berners-Lee: "The fake news are children of the online advertising system"

The spread of disinformation and online propaganda exploded in part because of the way advertising systems of large digital platforms like Google or Facebook were designed to attract people's attention.

"People are distracted by very well trained Artificial Intelligence systems that understand how to distract them," said Tim Berners-Lee.

Tim Berners-Lee: "The payment methods of large online groups" entice "to create fake news"

In some cases, these platforms offer users who create content a slice of advertising revenue. The financial incentive prompted Macedonian adolescents who do not have a political orientation to generate fake news from the easy-click that were distributed on Facebook and financed by the revenue of the Google AdSense automated advertising engine.

Tim Berners-Lee: "The system is failing"

"The system is failing. The way advertising revenue works with clickbait does not meet the goal of helping humanity promote truth and democracy, so I am worried, "said Berners-Lee, who in March called for regulation of online political advertising to prevent it being used in unethical ways.

Since then, it has emerged that Russian agents have purchased micro-targeted political advertisements aimed at US voters on Facebook, Google and Twitter. Data analysis companies, such as Cambridge Analytica, which build personality profiles of millions of individuals so that they can be manipulated through "behavioral micro-targeting", have also been criticized for creating a "armed AI propaganda".

Tim Berners-Lee and the victims of digital manipulation

"We have these obscure ads that target you and manipulate you and then vanish. This non-democracy, all this is putting those who are selected, in the hands of the most manipulative companies that hesitate, "said Berners-Lee.

Not too late to change thingshe said, provided that people challenge the status quo.

Tim Berners-Lee: "We need to turn the web into what we want it to be"

"We are so used to manipulating these systems that people think this is how the Internet works. Instead we need to think about how it should be, "he said.

Always think that social media is made by man

"One of the problems with climate change is making people realize that anthropogenic, created by people. the same problem with social networks: they are made by man: if they do not serve humanity, they can and must be changed, "he said.

Tim Berners-Lee thinks the web situation has worsened

The worst situation before it gets better? "Already worsened," he said, referring to the withdrawal of the rules of the Obama era to protect the neutrality of the network.

The problem of net neutrality

The neutrality of the network, which some have described as the "first Internet amendment", the idea that Internet service providers (ISPs) must treat everyone's data in the same way, whether this data consists of an email of your grandmother, or an episode of Stranger Things on Netflix or a bank transfer. Ensures that large cable ISPs, including Comcast, AT&T and Verizon, are unable to choose which data is sent most quickly and which sites are blocked or slowed down depending on the content providers that pay extra.

Net neutrality at risk in the Trump era

In February 2015, the United States Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted to regulate the operations of ISPs in a more rigorous manner and to establish the principles of net neutrality. The Trump FCC, led by former Verizon employee Ajit Pai, wants to kill these rules, claiming that "nothing is broken" and that the rules have been established on "hypothetical damage and hysterical prophecies of doom".

The importance of net neutrality: the examples of Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, who on a visit to Washington urged lawmakers to reconsider the withdrawal of regulations, disagrees and cites problematic examples in which ISPs have violated the principles of net neutrality, for example: AT & T has blocked Skype and other similar services on the iPhone to earn more from normal phone calls, Verizon blocked Google Wallet from smartphones when it was developing a competing mobile payment service.

The web must not ask permission

"When I invented the web, I didn't have to ask Vint Cerf, the father of the Internet, for permission to use the Internet," said Berners-Lee, who previously stated that the Internet should remain a space without the need for creativity permission , innovation and free expression ".

The services of the providers are of public utility

These powerful guardians, said Tim Berners-Lee, monitor Internet access and pose a threat to innovation if they are allowed to choose winners and losers, limiting or blocking certain services. It makes sense, therefore, that ISPs are treated more as public utilities.

"Gas is a user, therefore also clean water and also connectivity," Berners-Lee said. "It's part of life and shouldn't have a perspective on how you use it and for what, just like water."Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the Web