Nearly 30 years ago a group of scientists at a Swiss physics institution came up with a novel idea to share data and work between themselves across the globe. The groundbreaking concept was the brainchild of Sir Tim Berners-Lee, whose vision for a “decentralized information management system” eventually gave birth to the world wide web.
Fast forward three decades and the internet has invaded all corners of the globe and governs all areas of life. It has become a power without equal. Some have suggested it has become a Frankenstein’s monster which needs to be reined in, and fast
One such person is Francois Fluckiger, the man who would become Sir Tim’s successor at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research.
The Daily Mail reports that Fluckiger believes fake news, privacy threats, and online bullying have all conspired to turn the internet into a “completely out-of-control monster.”
When Sir Tim left CERN’s web team in 1994, Fluckiger picked up the reins. He has since retired, and although he has hailed the web as one of the three major inventions of the 20th century, he believes it has morphed into something almost unrecognizable from its early days.
“One has to ask oneself if we did not, in the end, create a completely out-of-control monster,” said Fluckiger.
Sir Tim, dubbed the “father of the web,” also has reservations about his own creation. At the Web Summit in Lisbon in November 2018, he announced his vision for a new “Contract for the Web,” which would prioritize universal access, the fundamental right to privacy, and other key points.
Sir Tim warned, “The web has been hijacked by crooks and trolls who have used it to manipulate people all over the world.”
He cited fake news, cybercrime, and personal data theft as huge areas of concern.
The knight of the realm also called for people to combat the “polarization” of online debates. Sir Tim urged internet users to turn their backs on “online ghettos,” where they rarely encounter opinions which differ from their own, and instead called for discussion platforms where people from all walks of life and backgrounds can share opinions.
At the World Economic Forum in Davos last January, United Nations chief Antonio Guterres also expressed concerned over the merry dance the web was leading us all on.
Guterres expressed alarm over the dangers inherent in the dark web and cybersecurity and voiced concern over countries who use the web to violate human rights.