The Web Became 25 - Will It Become 50?

Cover story of the Wired UK, March-14 Edition: Web@25.

25 years ago, Tim Berners-Lee published a proposal for what became the WWW.

It took off because it is universal, decentralized, open, free, built on collaboration, ….

But what of the next 25 years?

Less about searching and more about getting?

I have a simple view to this: web browsers "promised" to become little powerful client operating systems, but the service providers' strategies banked on controlling a major chunk of the whole net universe by providing information services with navigation type interaction. From a business stand point innovators required to find other ways so get their market segment. Something alternative, but on the same platform.

The key question IMO is: will the web not only be a central platform for human information-hunger and creativity, but get built into everything - combining global and local intelligence?

A tightly coupled complex system?

It worked really well up until now, with the above principles, but we are getting into a level of increasing complexity - the internet of things, the internet of biological things, of micro machines …. and computational (knowledge) engines. A lot of additional hidden traffic will be required, and I ask myself whether it will be required that the system, like our brain, will be able to forget to …

Complex systems may have unintended consequences and tightly coupled means there might not be enough time to react to them?

Open Innovation

One of the most promising opportunities: using data and computational power to solve problems.
This would be essential for many fields, including econometrics and quant finance avoiding for example systemic crashes ….

Where are the traps?

Blindly believing in what we compute and see. As a reference, I take: Five New Insights Helping to Avoid the Risky Horror. It is not specific to the web, but the web might make us believe we know the future better.

It is important to understand systemic risk and create theories and deploy models that help to detect bubble forming. We still have homework to do on the microlevel.

Fundamental mistakes may become horrible in interplay - and the web, deploying them, may become old, like the rest of us?

Picture from sehfelder