Thirty years ago, an English software engineer submitted a “vague, but exciting” proposal to his boss about a system for managing information that would later be known as the World Wide Web.
Tim Berners-Lee was in his early 30s when he submitted the idea at work, a physics laboratory in Switzerland. He wasn’t hired to create a worldwide communication system. He simply came up with the idea because he noticed inefficiencies at work.
“I found it frustrating that in those days, there was different information on different computers, but you had to log on to different computers to get at it … So finding out how things worked was really difficult,” he said.
His proposal, “Information Management: A Proposal,” was the beginning of http, urls and html.
Today, roughly half the world is online and nearly 2 billion websites exist.
What’s next for the World Wide Web?
Berners-Lee hopes the technology can be a vehicle for “public good” and less littered with hacking, harassment and hate speech. Monday, he outlined what he hopes can become of the web in a “contract” to positively impact the world.
“The Contract for the Web recognizes that whether humanity, in fact, is constructive or not actually depends on the way you write the code of the social network,” he said.
Berners-Lee believes that through laws, system changes and research, it’s possible to achieve a better World Wide Web, “the web we want.”
The World Wide Web isn’t the same as the internet, which had been created years earlier.