News that CERN is restoring the first ever web page twenty years on is a gentle reminder to some of us that perhaps we aren’t as young as we like to think we are. Unlike today’s young ‘whipper snappers’ some of us had the readjust and learn to use the Internet. Inconceivable to some, but the truth for many of us.
Reading the news got me all nostalgic. I’m not sure if you remember your first web encounter but the first thing I did was set up a Yahoo address. I was completely fascinated with instant messenger and the little italics ‘typing’ that informed me my mate was writing a response. The next thing I did was to set up one of the first Jamiroquai groups. In my defence it was the 90’s. And to be fair, it has 194 members. Not sure they are exactly active…..
Twenty years on, as the web becomes ever more central to the way we live our lives, it feels right to look back and think about the impact it has had. Has it held true to Berners-Lee vision? Difficult question to answer. When you are talking about something as pervasive and now as well distributed as the Internet, it will inevitably influence, and become influenced by all forms of human life, some will support the original vision and some won’t. Society is being shaped by and shaping the Internet, let’s hope forthcoming generations leverage national and international political systems to make the most of services like Wikipedia, and ensure that services from Giants like Google continue to offer real value: universal access to decentralised information, at a fair personal cost i.e. personal data I have given you permission to use.
Fast forward another twenty years and it is almost impossible to predict what further changes the Internet will have brought to our lives. Will I still need my wallet when I fly or go out for dinner? As developments such as NFC rolls out our identity, finance and pretty much everything else will be able to reside in nearly any device you wish, whether that’s in your pocket or on your head.
The one thing I’m fairly certain about is that the chances of me wearing technology such as Google Glass are pretty slim. I like the idea of being able to record everything I see, find out anything, but then part of me just thinks, is this not going to squash the magic, and chance in life. Surely some things should just be memories, something intangible and fuzzy?
Out if hours Paul is at his happiest drinking wine, eating cheese, travelling the world, playing sport and discovering new music and film.