The World Wide Web and the future
When we talk about the internet we tend to think about the World Wide Web as though it was the same thing. Of course the internet is much bigger
than the web and is the basic network infrastructure of which the World Wide Web is only part. It can be said that the internet was invented (or at least
conceived) by J.C.R. Licklider in 1962 when he described his "Galactic Computer". The father of the World Wide Web is generally taken to be Sir Tim
Berners-Lee who proposed it in 1989.
The World Wide Web is simply a very large number of documents written in hypertext mark-up language (HTML) with hyperlinks to other documents
distributed across the internet and that can be downloaded using Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP). The World Wide Web combines social
networking, information sharing and commerce. We know all this. We all know how to log on to our favourite website, buy a book or a part for our car,
download a piece of music, and manage our bank accounts and credit cards. We know about viruses and phishing. Most of us consider ourselves
quite www savvy.
Like all things the Web is evolving, but what is it evolving into? Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the original architect of the web, believes that it is evolving in
three directions. Firstly he says that rather than collections of documents the web will become more like a spreadsheet. He says that it will be
accessed by an ever increasing number of different kinds of device and that web applications will become more integrated with our environment. The
web will eventually surround us. Sir Tim has also expressed disquiet about some possible futures. He is concerned about what he calls undemocratic
things happening and bad information being disseminated over the web.
To some extent it seems that he is correct in having some concerns. We can all point to lies, myths and conspiracy theories that abound the web. We
do need to concern ourselves with the quality of the information out there. However with a little common sense overall the web is und