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There is a promise, out there, what some commentators call Web 2.0, that the Web is shifting from an international library of interlinked pages to an information ecosystem, where data circulate like nutrients in a rain forest [R72]. Well, at the moment, I can see a dense forest, really dense and unsafe, where one can easily be lost and/or misguided.             [MORE THIS WEEK] 

Sir Tim Berners-Lee : oil on canvas (Photoshop filters effect)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee speaks during a news conference on Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006 at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

THE GUARDIAN, London :  Sunday, Nov. 5, 2006 : p.12

WWW creator warns of cheats and liars

The creator of the World Wide Web said on Thursday night that the Internet is in danger of being corrupted by fraudsters, liars and cheats. Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Briton who founded the Web in the early 1990s, says that if the Internet is left to develop unchecked, "bad phenomena" will erode its usefulness.

Berners-Lee's creation has transformed the way millions of people work, do business and entertain themselves. But he warns that "there is a great danger that it becomes a place where untruths start to spread more than truths, or it becomes a place which becomes increasingly unfair in some way".

He singles out the rise of blogging as one of the most difficult areas for the continuing development of the Web, because of the risks associated with inaccurate, defamatory and uncheckable information. Berners-Lee believes devotees of blogging sites take too much information on trust.

"The blogging world works by people reading blogs and linking to them. You're taking suggestions of what you read from people you trust. That, if you like, is a very simple system, but in fact the technology must help us express much more complicated feelings about who we'll trust with what", he said.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of Southampton in the UK, announced the launch of a long-term research collaboration that aims to produce the fundamental scientific advances necessary to guide the future design and use of the World Wide Web. The next generation of the Internet needs to be able to reassure users that they can establish the original source of the information they digest.

Creating the world wide web didn't make Tim Berners-Lee instantly rich or famous. In part, that's because the Web sprang from relatively humble technologies: it was based on an information retrieval program called Enquire (named after a Victorian book, Enquire Within upon Everything), which he wrote in 1980 as a contract programmer at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland. In part, it's because Berners-Lee did the unthinkable when in August 1991 he finished writing the tools that defined the Web's basic structure: he gave them away, with CERN's blessing, no strings attached. While others made millions off his invention, Berners-Lee went on to found the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) at MIT, which he still directs, to promote global Web standards and development.

Berners-Lee finally got his rewards: in July 2004 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, and a month earlier he received Finland's million-euro Millennium Technology Prize, awarded "for outstanding technological achievements that directly promote people's quality of life, are based on humane values, and encourage sustainable economic development".

Now, in new offices in MIT's Frank Gehry–designed Ray and Maria Stata Center, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is overseeing hundreds of projects at the W3C. He is also personally engaged in developing his second big idea: the Semantic Web, which adds definition tags to information in Web pages and links them in such a way that computers can discover data more efficiently and form new associations between pieces of information, in effect creating a globally distributed database. Though part of Berners-Lee's original intention for his invention, the Semantic Web has been 15 years in the making and has met its share of skepticism. But Berners-Lee believes it will soon win acceptance, enabling computers to extract meaning from far-flung information as easily as today's Internet simply links individual documents.




























Krešimir J. Adamić