The Web Turns 35

Tim Berners-Lee:

Three and a half decades ago, when I invented the web, its trajectory was impossible to imagine. There was no roadmap to predict the course of its evolution, it was a captivating odyssey filled with unforeseen opportunities and challenges. Underlying its whole infrastructure was the intention to allow for collaboration, foster compassion and generate creativity — what I term the 3 C’s. It was to be a tool to empower humanity. The first decade of the web fulfilled that promise — the web was decentralised with a long-tail of content and options, it created small, more localised communities, provided individual empowerment and fostered huge value. Yet in the past decade, instead of embodying these values, the web has instead played a part in eroding them. […]

Ed Zitron, in a post provocatively titled “Are We Watching The Internet Die?”:

Right now, the internet is controlled by a few distinct platforms, each one intent on interrupting the exploratory and creative forces that made the web great. I believe that their goal is to intrude on our ability to browse the internet, to further obfuscate the source of information while paying the platforms for content that their users make for free. Their eventual goal, in my mind, is to remove as much interaction with the larger internet as possible, summarizing and regurgitating as much as they can so that they can control and monetize the results as much as possible.

There are some things in Zitron’s post which one could quibble over — too much handwaving around algorithms and generative A.I., for example, and Zitron conflates the web and the internet. But both these pieces are related and worth your time.