Whirlpools World

The World Wide Web – not to be confused with the internet itself – celebrated it’s 30th birthday this week. On 12th March 1989 British scientist, Tim Berners-Lee first conceived the idea of the web, which manifests itself most simply in the www hyper-link you’ll see at the start of every web-page you go to.  Berners-Lee’s concept was that computers could talk to each other with a browser that received information from a server, basically revolutionising the then primitive internet, which had actually been around in various forms since the early 1960s. He put forward the idea when working as a young physicist at the CERN laboratory in Switzerland and thirty years later here we are with everything from having information beyond belief at your fingertips to cat videos.

Talking about his achievement this week Mr Berners-Lee said he had regrets around things such as the way domain names are allocated “Every time I hear that somebody has purchased the domain name of their new enterprise for $50,000 instead of $500 I sigh” he said, while online scammers are also a concern. And the future of the web?  Firstly it will need to deal with major issues such as state-sponsored hacking, criminal attacks, disinformation and online harassment. Partly to cope with this he thinks everything almost needs to be rewritten from scratch, a clean sheet to start again, ironing out the glitches, the crooks and the cranks. Other commentators think the web itself may have peaked – not the internet itself to go back to my earlier point – as more people write their own code, bypassing the famous www altogether.

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