Tim Berners-Lee (inventor of WWW) answers the Internet’s questions

Reddit (the self-proclaimed “front page of the Internet”) is a website where users can create virtual forums to discuss/ask/post/help/collaborate etc. regarding any topic under the sun. Do you like cute puppies? Visit the Aww subreddit. Curious as to why men have beards and women don’t? The geniuses over at Explainlikeimfive will give you a thorough and easy to understand answer.

One particularly fascinating subreddit is called “IAMA,” where noteworthy people begin a discussion thread entitled, “I am a [insert impressive thing here], ask me anything.” And by ‘noteworthy,’ I mean the threads range from “I am a 9/11 survivor” to “I am Colin Mockery” to “I am a black teen adopted by an all-white family.” Anyone with a (free) reddit account can post a question, and the original poster will respond to the interesting ones. 

Today, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, posted on the IAMA subreddit to celebrate the 25th anniversary of his creation. The title reads, “I am Tim Berners-Lee. I invented the WWW 25 years ago and I am concerned and excited about its future. AMA.” 2,700 comments later, the discussion thread now holds not only interesting content from Berners-Lee himself, but insights on the WWW from all around the wide world.

If you have a few minutes, consider perusing this discussion thread. We’ve spoken about the WWW in class, and we’ve certainly spent a lot of time talking about the evolution and future of technology, so I thought this might be of interest.

I hope everyone found something entertaining to do with all this snow!

One comment

  1. What struck me as amazing as I worked my way through this thread was just how unpredictable all of this technology is, even to someone who is an expert (and invented the world wide web, for crying out loud!). At first when I saw Berner-Lee’s response to someone who had asked what other names he’d considered for the world wide web, it appeared that he knew how big this would be. Chances are if you’re considering the name “The Information Mine,” what you’re doing is a fairly big deal.

    Further down the thread however, he says that he never thought that the web would get this big and that where it goes in the next 25 years “is up to us.” I know that this is not a new idea by any means and that we’ve discussed the mystery that is the future of technology many times in class, but this just drove it home for me even more. The world wide web is essentially this guy’s baby. He’s watched it grow, but knows that its future is largely dependent on its users. He says, “It is an artificial creation, as are our laws, and our constitutions … we can choose how they work. We can make new ones. Our choice.” It’s fascinating to think that the world wide web has been impacted by people around the world who will also determine it’s future.

    One user joked that Tim Berners-Lee “doesn’t need a browser. He doesn’t even need a computer. He just puffs the end of an ethernet cable like a hookah,” and while funny, I think this definitely demonstrates just how much this man is revered. He is perceived as all-knowing, but the future of his creation is a mystery even to him. Where it goes will depends on the needs and wants of its users who, in the end, are the reason it exists.

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