“We’ve lost control,” says World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee

The Web has become a necessity of life, though it has been a “recurring battle to keep it open and transparent,” said Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web.

Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web
Sir Timothy John Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web

Speaking at the International Government Communications Forum in Sharjah this week, Berners-Lee told WAM, “When I created the Web 29 years ago, I imagined it as an open platform that would allow everyone to share information anywhere and collaborate. But now even when they are connected together, they don’t end up collaborating positively, but rather the result comes negative in many instances.”

He added, “I’ve become worried about new threats which I believe we must address in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool that serves all of humanity and to be an accurate mirror of humanity: We have lost control of our personal data; it’s becoming too easy for misinformation to spread on the web; and transparency.

“Now we’ve gotten into the age of social networks. I think the last two years have caused a lot of people to have a different view of the web. So, having spent two decades trying to keep the Web open, and produce wonderful things for our life, now we’ve realised, actually, it might not.”

According to the WAM report, following the recent revelations surrounding the sharing of data between Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, Berners-Lee called for a new balance between data sharing and government regulation to restore faith in social media, as the online world accelerates into the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

“Data from millions of users has ended up at the disposal of the political consultants, forcing some uncomfortable questions for Facebook as to how personal information is used without consent.”

He added, “Lots of big things will be happening over the coming years as majority of the world people are connected, which means that people have to worry about their skills as well.”

In response to the hot topic of AI replacing jobs, Berners-Lee said that some are at more risk than others. “With regards to AI, you have to worry if you’re doing a minimal job. If you’re a truck driver or factory worker, you’ve to be worried because automation is taking over.”

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