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WWW: A historical revolution

[Q]... do you have a sense of how you would place it all historically?

[Tim Berners Lee]I'll answer that one in a thousand years' time, if that's okay. [LAUGHTER]
I think trying to write the history, at the time I think it's very difficult. we didn't know whether we were going to be looking at history or not, because when you look at a curve like that, an exponential curve going up can often just tilt over and crash back down again. And there were a lot of other projects we've all had which have done that.
How very true - Tim Berners Lee put it quite aptly that an exponential curve could as well crash and end up looking like a 'blip' on the scale of centuries in history.

Many of us Millenials remember the craze that VCR's were in the 90's - some of today's most hyped innovations like the i-Pod or iPhone could as well end up similarly. It is too early to place any new technology or trend as a game changer - which is a mistake that many a tech enthusiasts (leading tech bloggers, self proclaimed web 2.0 gurus etc) commit as a matter of routine.

And it is the visionary humility displayed by people like Tim Berners Lee, what make them great. In fact, Lee is one academic whom I respect the most because in spite of innovating "World Wide Web [without which] we might not be talking about the flattening of the world right now" - he has hardly ever tried taking advantage of the same.

Read the complete transcript of his interview here. And read on this excerpt about the inspiration behind the concept of hypertext and WWW ...
Enquire was a program which allowed you to make random associations between different things.

I'd had a long term interest in the idea that the brain can store random associations between things. You can store a random association between a place, between what you're doing at the moment, for example, if somebody walks in with a particularly flavored cup of coffee, then later on when you remember that flavor you remember what you're doing just now, it will make association between flavors, and running your equipment and conducting a interview, totally otherwise unconnected things.

So computer systems couldn't do that. And so that was a general interest, which is, and that's related to the ability to make, link anything to anything, which is a fundamental part of I suppose of the Web architecture, and then now of the Semantic Web architecture.
Wow!! Its so fascinating to know that the concept of the web arose from trying to develop a 'human-like' ability in machines ... almost like The Matrix ... sends shivers down my spine!!


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