It’s only in 1989 that Tim Berners Lee wrote the first idea for the World Wide Best web design, which changed into providing a radically exclusive way of sharing statistics on a global scale, constructed on the existing infrastructure of the internet.
And in that very short time, we’ve got gone from not anything to two and half billion customers and over six hundred million Web pages. And both of those records is converting, going up all the time. We’ve constructed the most important information infrastructure in human history in just that quick space of time. In this lecture, what I’d want to keep in mind is questions about that. The first one is, how on Earth did we get from there to right here?
And very briefly, wherein exactly is here that we are at the moment? We’ve were given some clues already from the preceding lecture. So we recognize that the Web had a records. It didn’t come from nowhere. The Web became linked to technology that existed earlier than 1989.
The net, of path, become truly essential–microchips, the private computer, document transfer protocols. And it turned into also related to lots broader technology that have been shaping our cutting-edge global –mass manufacturing, electricity, the cables that provided the internet. But as well as technological improvements that enabled us to expand the Web, it’s vital to recognize that it become connected to a cultural history. As we’ve got heard within the preceding lecture, it wasn’t the primary manner of thinking about a international facts infrastructure.
And certainly, if you read technological know-how fiction at all, pass and feature a have a look at William Gibson’s book Neuromancer, became written in 1981. And you’ll discover it almost impossible to imagine that that book became written earlier than the Web existed, due to the fact there it is, in 1981, on this e book. The Web additionally had a records that became tied in with economics and with social alternate. So we need to think about the postwar economic boom.
We need to think about electronics. We want to think about the Cold War. We additionally need to consider mass better training and the way wherein science turned into funded in the postwar length. So the Web had a history–a technological, a social, an economic, and a political history in phrases of where it got here from. In 1989, Tim Berners-Lee made a totally unique notion to use HTTP, HTML, and URLs or URIs to proportion records and to navigate records on a global scale.
At the very beginning, or so the tale goes, Tim Berners-Lee saved a pocket book, wherein he determined he could write down on every occasion a brand new Website seemed on the net. And he were given to 20 and determined that perhaps he would prevent doing it, as it become getting a chunk tough to hold up with it all. You consider the notebook he’d want now–over 600 million Websites and counting, 2 and half of billion people and counting.
And you realize what? The foremost makes use of of the Web are not physicists. So how did we get from there to here? A famous manner of knowledge technology and know-how technical innovation is to assume that improvements take off because they are very clever and because they’re designed to reap certain consequences. So one solution to that query, how do we get from there to here, might be to say, well, it became designed to try this, and it is a definitely clever technology.
I’m afraid I assume that the answer to that is, no, this is no longer how we got from there to right here. And there may be three different things I’d such as you to reflect onconsideration on, which underline my motive for pronouncing no. The first one is that technology on its own isn’t enough. However smart, but modern some thing is, technologies do not appear on their very own. They manifest due to the fact people use them.
And humans use them or do not use them relying on the occasions of their lives, relying on their motivations, depending on all styles of social and economic factors. So the World Wide Web is a virtually apparent factor. It desires a good way to study and write. If we don’t have maths literacy, nobody’s going to apply the Web, or at least now not on the dimensions that we are used to.
We need disposable incomes. If people cannot pay for get right of entry to to the net, they cannot purchase computer systems, they’re not going to apply the World Wide Web. Slightly more complicated, this, but it needed a number of use values. So if all you may do on the Web changed into percentage physics datasets, not very many humans could be the usage of it. All the physicists is probably, however nobody else could be the use of it. And it additionally needed an open version. If the Web were copyrighted, if we ought to pay every time we wanted to apply it, would it looks like it looks nowadays? I certainly don’t assume that it might. And those of you who watched the outlet ceremony of the Olympics ultimate year in 2012 would possibly recollect Tim Berners-Lee being present to that ceremony with a message flashing around the Olympic Stadium in London, announcing, this is for anybody.
And that has been a truly vital selection, I might say almost as essential because the technology themselves, in shaping how we were given from there to right here. So this is the first reason. The 2nd purpose why we can not simply say that this become inevitable outcome of the technology that turned into developed is because the Web we’ve now, even in technical terms, is not the Web we had in 1989.
In 1989, or 1990, I assume, to be more correct, you can placed static Web pages up–textual content, no visuals. And the best human beings definitely who should positioned Websites up had been those who had pretty excessive-stage technical talents with the intention to do that. All of that modified as we moved right into a 2d generation of the Web, what people have known as Web 2.0, where it started to look plenty nicer. You could have visuals, you could have dynamic Web pages.
All of it have become lots fancier, much greater interesting and engaging. But additionally sincerely importantly, Web 2.0 is used to explain a section of the Web wherein user-generated content became feasible. So it wasn’t just a exceedingly small quantity of humans with high technical capabilities who may want to positioned data on the Web. All folks–you, me, all of us with get admission to to the Web should positioned their records out there, whether or not it’s on Facebook or Twitter or whether we are running a blog, a whole range of methods in which humans can percentage facts, share their pictures, share their existence histories, promote their products, be on eBay, something it is, consumer-generated content material is driving the Web or has driven the Web to a massive extent in phrases of that increase inside the recent duration. It’s not preventing there. People now are talking about Web 3.0. And this is something we’ll speak about in a while it. But that is going to alternate once more how the Web is and the way we’re the usage of it. The third cause why we can not surely say, oh, the Web grew because it was a terrific technology, is due to the fact we have had to paintings very, very hard to make the Web what it’s far these days.
Some of you’ll have heard of an enterprise known as W3C, the World Wide Web Consortium. The World Wide Web Consortium is an company that develops protocols and hints to make certain the stability of the Web and the ongoing boom of the Web. It’s an business enterprise that brings collectively governments, corporations, teachers, a whole variety of folks who negotiate long and tough over the way to allow the Web to continue to characteristic in a strong,reliable, and sustainable type of way. And it is absolutely vital to recognize that at W3C, there’s two underpinning values. One is, the Web is for all of us. And two is, the second is, the Web is for the whole thing. It needs to be possible to apply the Web on any sort of device, now not on one it’s produced via one company or any other business enterprise or a specific sort of tool, but on any sort of tool.
And again, you may believe if that hadn’t been the case, the Web may appearance very exceptional today to how it does. W3C is not the only corporation that is doing all that difficult paintings to try and hold the Web collectively. But it is a completely powerful employer, and it has as its vision–I suppose it’s critical to say this–a commitment to participation, know-how sharing, and accept as true with. And that’s no longer clean. That’s honestly, honestly hard paintings–the attempt, the energy, that it takes to hold the Web together.
So we’ve gone from physicists sharing facts to eBay, Twitter, via all of these mechanisms I’ve simply defined. And the Web, what it is and what it is become, is sincerely, certainly complicated. And it is why we need Web technology to assist us to understand it.
The Web has changed the sector to be sure, however the world has also modified the Web over that period of the final 25 years. People have taken it, they have got used it, they’ve transformed it, and all sorts of surprising things have took place. And we honestly do not know what’s going to occur next. Where are we in the meanwhile? The final question I need to do not forget–where are we now? Two and a half billion users is wonderful. But we are heading for 7 and half billion human beings in the wild.
Most people within the global do not use the Web. What’s going to happen while more human beings begin the usage of the Web? What are the effects of the reality that most of the people are excluded or now not blanketed as a minimum from the Web? Many of those humans are in countries outdoor of the West, however it’s predicted that 15 million human beings within the UK have never used the Web. So we must be honestly cautious while we communicate approximately the Web and we say its changed all our lives and we all use the Web, because we do not.
And we need to think very carefully about the results of that. Where we are now’s additionally now not assured. The Web that we’ve now is not inevitable. The paintings that I’ve defined to preserve it collectively, the matters that make the Web what it’s miles today are not assured. And we want to be very cautious to consider if and the way we need to keep the Web that we’ve got now the way this it’s miles now and what would possibly manifest if modifications are allowed, adjustments for instance within the manner that authorities’s get entry to our records in phrases of questions about privateness, governance of the Web, company possession of elements of the Web, and so forth.
The Web that we’ve now isn’t guaranteed. Lastly, the Web will no longer stand nevertheless. The Web goes to change. There’s no doubt approximately that. I assume all that attempt couldn’t keep it still if we wanted it to. So all of us need to take obligation for the Web for know-how wherein it’s miles, wherein it might cross inside the future, and our element in that. And the ones are the challenges that Web Science faces.