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World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee predicts: A Big Tech company may get broken up soon

Mar 14, 2024 02:01 PM IST

Tim Berners-Lee made predictions on what the web will look like in the next 35 years. Here’s a look at them

The inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee on the 35th anniversary of its invention reflected on how things were when the web got started 35 years ago and predicted three things for the future. Tim Berners-Lee said, “When it started, I couldn’t have predicted that it was going to be like this, this change.” Traffic to the very first website, info.cern.ch, “was going up by a factor of 10 every year, so doubling every four months,” he said, recalling, “We lost track of the logs because they cut off. Now this is going to be a serious thing. We need to make sure it doesn’t collapse.”

World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee made predictions about Artificial Intelligence and a big tech company breaking up.
World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee made predictions about Artificial Intelligence and a big tech company breaking up.

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But Tim Berners-Lee still made predictions on what the web will look like in the next 35 years. Tim Berners-Lee’s predictions are:

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Prediction 1: Everyone will have a personal AI assistant

AI will transform the way we interact with the web, he said as one day we will all have AI assistants that work for us.

“Some people worry about whether, in 35 years, AI will be more powerful than us,” he said, adding, “One of the things I predict — but it’s something we may have to fight for — is you will have an AI assistant, which you can trust, and it works for you, like a doctor.”

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Prediction 2: Ownership of our data across all platforms

Tim Berners-Lee said that in the near future we will have a web in which everyone will have full control of our data. Rather than Google, Meta, Amazon, Apple, Microsoft and other tech giants having control, we’ll instead be able to own our data through a data store- “pod.”

He explained, “You’ll think of your data pod as your digital space, you’ll think of it as being one thing you’re very comfortable with.”

The idea is for us to have a set of “trust apps” that we can allow to communicate with each other to share information, he said, adding, “All of your to do lists, calendar events and so on, and all the different parts of your data, will come together, so the ability to live your life becomes much more powerful.”

“You can go do things with a VR headset, and then when you take the VR headset off, you could do it with a huge screen,” he said, continuing, “And whenever you move, you can grab your phone and the experience will be as one. It should very smoothly go between different devices.”

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Prediction 3: A Big Tech company could get broken up

Tim Berners-Lee said that in the future a big tech company could be forced to break up.

“Maybe the companies were prompted a bit by the possibility of regulation. But this was an independent thing. Things are changing so quickly. AI is changing very, very quickly. There are monopolies in AI. Monopolies changed pretty quickly back in the web. Maybe at some point in the future, agencies will have to work to break up big companies, but we don’t know which company that will be,” he said.

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