Friday Quiz: Inventor of the Web
March 13, 2009
Q: Did the inventor of the World Wide Web get rich?
Is the inventor upset about that?
Q: Who is the inventor?
A: Tim Berners-Lee The Mind Behind the Web (Scientific American)
"Now the man you've been waiting for: Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web." The crowd hushes and arches forward, for they know the name but not the man. Out from the shadows strides a sprightly 43-year-old Briton, smiling beneath a short crop of blond hair.
The large audience is excited, anticipating a breathless account of how the Web came to be. But they don't get it. Berners-Lee steps to the podium and delivers a sobering warning: The Web is not done. In fact, he says in measured words, it could self-destruct if the immense forces now buffeting it are not coordinated. Patents could prevent users from moving freely around the Web, killing the universal access to information the world now enjoys. Proprietary products could fragment the one big Web into smaller, rival webs, making it impossible to link information globally.
Furthermore, the crusader says, now in inspiring tones, he has a much grander vision. If advanced properly, the Web could powerfully bind people across geographic, ethnic, economic and political bounds, leading to a society in which cooperation, rather than conflict, is the agent of change. But it will require much more work.
The crowd is a bit bewildered. They wanted to revel in a finished Web. But its parent is telling them the Web is only in adolescence, and an unruly one at that. It needs concerted guidance if it is to reach its full potential.
Tim Berners-Lee has remained unknown to the public because he has never gotten rich or famous from the Web. He likes money just fine, but is driven by his larger dream. Every dot.com millionaire, every person who's found a nugget of information searching the Web, owes a debt to Berners-Lee, but he's not looking to collect or be lionized. "I'm happy to let others play the role of royalty," the ego-free inventor says. "Just as long as they don't try to control the Web."
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Friday, March 13, 2009
Friday Quiz: Inventor of the Web
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