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Five Things You Need to Know About Tim Berners-Lee

By: True North Team
February 13, 2019
  1. He created the World Wide Web. Let that sink in for a minute. You use it every day, you are using it right now. Without it, there would be no websites or blogs or social networks. He combined HTML, URL and HTTP, wrote the first web browser and web server. Then he gave it to the world to use for free so that anyone could build upon it and share ideas with people all over the world and now 50 per cent of the planet is on the web. So, he’s an actual visionary.  
  2. Tim also knew from the start that a platform as powerful as the web could easily be misused and altered in problematic ways, so he’s spent much of the last 30 years trying to protect his creation. He founded the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the Web Foundation and the Open Data Institute, working to save the web from proprietary tech, fees and patents that push regular people out.  
  3. Still, the web has come to be dominated by a few massive companies like Google, Facebook and Amazon, and there have been some horrible unintended consequences from enabling universal access to a global communications platform: “We demonstrated that the Web had failed instead of served humanity, as it was supposed to have done, and failed in many places.” We “ended up producing – with no deliberate action of the people who designed the platform – a large-scale emergent phenomenon which is anti-human.”   
  4. He’s hopeful that “While the problems facing the web are complex and large, I think we should see them as bugs: problems with existing code and software systems that have been created by people – and can be fixed by people.” For his part, Tim is building a new platform called Solid, on which he hopes developers can build the next version of the web, where people control their own data and who can access it. He’s also working to create a Contract for the Web, a new set of ideas to “guide the digital policy agendas of governments and the decisions of companies as they build tomorrow’s web technologies.”
  5. He’s married to a Canadian. So, he gets it. 

Sir Tim Berners-Lee will be giving the keynote address at True North on June 20, 2019.