As the New Year is upon us, it’s the time of the year when we look at the technology successes and failures of the last twelve months with one eye on the future to see what advancements 2016 will bring to the table. However, in our excitement, we should also take a few moments to recognize that the world’s first website was launched 25 years ago.
The official birth of the web might have been born back in 1989 as a simple concept to allow the automatic sharing of information between scientists in universities and institutes across the globe. But it was on December 20th, 1990 that British scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee performed the incredible act of launching the first website in the world via his NeXT computer at CERN.
Unfortunately, global citizens were not able to digest this early form of sharing information until August 1991, but make no mistake: this act laid the foundations for the always online and connected digital world that we often are guilty of taking for granted. The forward thinking genius also selflessly placed his World Wide Web Software into the public domain to prevent it ever being owned by one company and the rest is history.
A quarter of a century later and the original web page remains, but so does a certain amount of confusion, as some users still believe the Internet is also the world wide web. However, BBC Bitesize hopes to settle the age old argument and put digital natives straight on that one by explaining:
“The Internet is a huge network of computers all connected together. The World Wide Web is a collection of webpages found on this network of computers.”
Back in September 2014, the Web Server Survey by NetCraft revealed how we had reached the milestone of 1 billion websites and by 2020 analysts also predict that there will an amazing 50 billion devices connected to the web all sharing information across the world at a phenomenal rate that is continually changing the business landscape every day.
Who would have thought that one idea had the power to transform and affect our lives in ways we never thought possible? Recently we have even seen governments overthrown and its impossible to ignore how this technology is changing politics as well as business.
The more mature readers will be quick to point out that they were busy discussing issues and even trolling users via the worldwide distributed discussion system known as Usenet years before the birth of the web. Usenet was also the precursor of the internet forums that we have come to love and hate over the years.
However, we cannot deny that that it was Sir Tim Berners-Lee’s idea of an uncensored world wide web that also championed privacy that resides in the public domain kickstarted our arrival in the 21st century.
Only 25 years ago, we were blissfully unaware of the kitten videos, vloggers, social media and Jimmy Kimmel videos that would be dominating our entire families’ Christmases on the horizon. These billions of devices all allow the human race to interact, share and process information in a way that is still mindblowing when comparing to our former lives back in 1990.
So when you take a look around at your family during this holiday season and how your living room is dominated by smartphones, PCs, tablets, smart TVs, games consoles and how every generation of your family is accessing their information via the world wide web, consider this: Maybe it’s worth spending a few reflective moments to think about just how different our lives would be if Sir Tim Berners-Lee wasn’t so unselfish and didn’t put his idea into the public domain.
To create the future, we must understand the past and with this in mind, would you agree that technology has dramatically changed our lives for the better over the last 25 years? After all, the idea you are reading this blog post and replying to my thoughts with your own insights should not be taken for granted. Or do you still have a few reservations about the destination that technology is taking us all to?
We are already scratching our heads at what technology trends will be big in 2016, but I ask you to think about where the internet and the world wide web path will lead us to in 2040 and what devices will we all be using? Now there is a challenge that also illustrates not only how far we have come but equally where we are heading to.