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Tim Berners-Lee: I Knew The Web Would Be Big

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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However, the inventor of the World Wide Web never thought his creation would facilitate the exchange of so many cat pictures

Sir Tim Berners-Lee has revealed that he always believed that the Internet would go on to be a major technological milestone.

In an AMA (Ask Me Anything) interview on Reddit to mark its 25th anniversary, the inventor of the World Wide Web fielded questions from the general public, revealing that he nearly called his creation “The Information Mine” and that his current browser of choice is Firefox.

Saying that he also considered “The Mesh” as a name for his invention, Berners-Lee said, “I liked WWW partly because I could start global variable names with a W and not have them clash with other peoples’ (in a C world) …in fact I used HT for them.”

Cats, cats, cats

tim berners-lee reddit AMAAsked what most surprised him about the things the Internet is used most for, Berners-Lee simply said, ‘Kittens’. When pushed, however, the founder of the Web confessed that he has put up a picture of his dog online, but so far has never posted any pictures of cats.

The interview also included several questions regarding government surveillance and the whistleblower Edward Snowden, whom Berners-Lee has recently given his support.

Asked whether he considered Snowden to be a hero or a villain, Berners-Lee did not provide a clear answer, but said the former security consultant needed to be ‘protected’, saying that, “Because he had no other alternative [he] engaged [the public] as a journalist / with a journalist to be careful of how what was released, and provided an important net overall benefit to the world.

“I think he should be protected, and we should have ways of protecting people like him. Because we can try to design perfect systems of government, and they will never be perfect, and when they fail, then the whistleblower may be all that saves society.”

Regarding government surveillance, Berners-Lee, who had called earlier this week for citizens to create a ‘Bill of Rights’ for Internet use in their countries, said that some form would be required to fight crime, saying, “We need to invent a new system of checks and balances with unprecedented power to be able to investigate and hold the agencies which do it accountable to the public.” In a separate question, he confessed to not being well-informed on the so-called ‘Dark Web’, but stated that he was of course never in favour of anyone using the Internet for illegal purposes.

Elsewhere in the interview, Berners-Lee also reminisced about his first ever computer, a M6800 evaluation kit which he received in 1976, which featured a car battery as a power source and an old television set for the display.

Looking to the future, when asked where the web would be in 25 years time, Berners-Lee replied, “It is up to us. It is an artificial creation, as are our laws, and our constitutions…we can chose how they work. We can make new ones. Our choice.”

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