100 million websites – but Tim is not happy

 Carried widely in the media today – this paste from SMH
The British scientist who developed the World Wide Web warns that if left to develop unchecked, the internet could be consumed by “misinformation and undemocratic forces”.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientist who is credited with creating the internet, said in an interview with the BBC today that the way the web is used should be examined by a broad spectrum of experts.

Berners-Lee told the BBC that if the way the internet is being used is left to develop unchecked, it could be consumed by “misinformation and undemocratic forces”.

“We really must have a science of understanding this. We must be able to look at whether it’s going to continue to serve us well, or whether we’ll end up with some things which suddenly appear overnight and which in fact are very bad,” Berners-Lee said.

“Maybe we’ll find that some very undemocratic things start happening, and that misinformation starts taking over the web.”

Berners-Lee wants to convene scientists from various disciplines – including biology, political science and sociology – to study the web and the way it affects society.

“All kinds of disciplines are going to have to converge,” he said. “People with all kinds of skills and knowledge are going to need to work together in order to understand the web and in order to build a web which is going to be even better.”

His comments came a day after an internet monitoring company announced that the number of websites had surpassed the 100 million mark.

He first proposed the web while developing ways to control computers remotely at CERN, the Geneva-based European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in 1989.

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