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The Future of the World Wide Web

Released in 1991, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web (WWW). The WWW was Time Berners-Lee’s vision of a global hyperlink information system, which allows people access to information from around the world. However, the WWW has become unsafe in the recent years due to information theft, fraud, espionage, and much more. Major companies are dominating the web for profit through ads and sales. Additionally, companies such as Facebook have been misusing personal data for political and economic reasons. This is why Tim Berners-Lee announced recently that he will be unveiling a project that will decentralize the web. Known as Inrupt, the project is a digital utopia where individuals can control their personal data and the internet remains free and open. The project is built off Solid, which is a decentralized web platform built by Tim and his colleagues. Every bit of the user’s information is stored in a personal online data store. Each user has their own Solid ID and Solid pod. This way, their information is not managed by some corporation such as Google. In addition to Inrupt, Tim is working on a decentralized version of Alexa, called Charlie. Unlike Alexa, Charlie can safeguard personal information such as health records and financial records. None of Charlie’s database will be transferred to a corporation for profit like Alexa would.
From ECON 2040, we were introduced to the World Wide Web and its usage of hyperlinks to navigate from one site to another. Although the article does talk about the World Wide Web, it also talks about a side of WWW that we did not discuss in class, which is the safety of the web. It is interesting to see the creator of WWW talk about the current state of the web and his decision to change it. The current web has over 2 billion websites connected by hyperlinks. However, majority of the sites are owned by large corporations such as Facebook. The domination of major corporations centralized the web to gain profit from the users. Tim’s vision for a decentralized web that is safe and free is revolutionary and it will certainly change the World Wide Web.
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October 2018