The World Wide Web Turns 25 And Its Creator Weighs In On Censorship, Silk Road And Kittens

Today the World Wide Web turns 25. It’s hard to believe that just a quarter-century fills the mind-boggling expanse between the two defining epochs of contemporary civilisation, BI and AI (Before Internet, After Internet). From the retrospective vantage of hindsight, the concept of a life without the widespread availability and proliferation of pornographic material is a bleak abyss of emptiness indeed.

Porn aside, the Internet’s gifts to humanity aren’t even quantifiable, such is the sheer volume of its contribution. As an intellectual and social-behavioural construct, the Web is responsible for connecting people across the world – eliminating ideological and cultural barriers like language, geography, socio-economic status, and number of penises owned – in a way that breeds tolerance, unity and Corgi appreciation. No wonder it’s the only intangible inanimate object yet to garner a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Today we pay our respects to the Internet, and to Tim Berners-Lee without whom we would be without the thing that has pretty much defined the culture of our generation.

Berners-Lee is the British computer scientist responsible for writing the prototype code for the information management system that ultimately became the World Wide Web and the framework for the Internet as we know it today.

Artist’s impression:

In honour of the 25th anniversary, Berners-Lee participated in a Reddit AMA to answer questions from fans, general Internet enthusiasts and aficionados (i.e. everyone on Reddit) about everything from the future of the Web, online censorship, the Internet black market, the prospect of an online Magna Carta, and kittens. These are some of the take-aways from his session…

1. Before settling for ‘World Wide Web’ he was tossing around other naming options, all of which sound super geeky.
He said he considered “Mine of Information,
The Information Mine,
The Mesh…

None had quite the right ring.”

2. “Kittens”
That was his answer to the question: “What was one of the things you never thought the internet would be used
for, but has actually become one of the main reasons people use the

3. He is concerned a free, uncensored web may soon be a thing of the past.
Particularly if “ordinary web users are not sufficiently aware of threats and get
involved and if necessary take to the streets like for SOPA and PIPA and

4. Someone asked what his first computer was, then the person in the comment section wrote down my exact thoughts.

5. He thinks (former NSA contractor and leaker) Edward Snowden should be protected.
He said, “I think he should be protected, and we should have ways of protecting
people like him. Because we can try to design perfect systems of
government, and they will never be perfect, and when they fail, then the
whistleblower may be all that saves society.”

6. He is cool with sarcastically trolling Redditors

7. He is pro Bitcoin
“I think that it is important to have lots of different ways getting
money to creative people on the net. So if we can have micropayment
user interfaces which make it easy for me to pay people for stuff they
write, play, perform, etc, in small amounts, then I hope that could be
a way allowing people to actually make a serious business out of it.”

8. He is in favour of developing some kind of online Magna Carta
“I think is lays the basis for steering laws, and governments are rather
centralized things, but rights constrain governments for the benefit of

9. He’s a dog man

You can read the full AMA with Tim Berners-Lee here.

Happy 25th birthday, World Wide Web. Without you, we could very well be blindly grappling into the grim darkness of the far future, kind of like Nyan Cat sans Pop Tart torso and propelling rainbow poo.