Wednesday, May 25th, 2016 marked the semi-official 23rd birthday of Tim Berners-Lee’s launching of the World Wide Web. The date is a bit arbitrary, but recognized as the day CERN (the European Organisation for Nuclear Research) released hypertext transfer protocol (HTTP) software to the global scientific community.
When I was a younger academic journeyman, I gave many talks marveling at the accident of my birth- that I was born in the computer era, taking my first programming course in 1968. Code was in my blood, and a future in technology was calling. What I now realize is that I have been blessed by living in the early era of the Internet. Virtual globalization has transformed my world every possible way.
More than 20 years after the Internet’s introduction, we face broad challenges and possibilities due to fluid social, industrial, political and cultural evolution. Threatening, accelerating changes and exciting growth are moving our planet to a new destination, a different human experience. Scientists and philosophers have new perspectives on the earth and its place in the universe; nanotechnology, pharmacology, encryption, virtual reality, social networking, and the Internet of things impact our daily lives in the most precise ways. We are living longer and better because of these changes, made possible by the Internet. Now we have to decide how to spend this extra gift of time in an uncertain, yet thrilling future.
Futurists tell us that if we can survive ourselves now, the human race will experience a new singularity – the integration of non-biological intelligence with our own human minds. What an incredible vision!
It’s a great time to be alive. Thank you, Sir Berners-Lee.