The World Wide Web Turns 25 This Week
In 1989, Sir Tim Berners-Lee turned on the World Wide Web. Since then, it has become one of the most pervasive technologies ever created. In fact, one could argue that it’s the most important invention in human history.
To celebrate the Web’s 25th anniversary, CNN has shared the very first news report it put out on the Web. Unfortunately, the video can not be embedded so you’ll have to head over there to watch it.
CNN’s non-support of standard HTML aside, it’s interesting to see all the skepticism and doubt surrounding something that we all take for granted now, but it’s even more fascinating to see how some things still haven’t changed.
You’ll see that some critics in the early 90s believed that the Internet would create inequality or a split between the haves and have nots. In short, they believed that the price of Internet would create an upper class of technological elites who would gain unfair advantages thanks to the information at their fingertips.
While that particular scenario hasn’t quite played out, there is still inequality in regards to Web access around the world. Even in the U.S. where a large majority of Americans are online, a lot of them don’t have access to decent service. Even those living in cities are oftentimes subjected to high prices, data caps and other unfair business practices that continue to get worse.
Despite troubles in the U.S., it’s even worse in developing regions where Internet access is either absurdly expensive or non-existent. In those regions, Internet access really is a sign of inequality as only those fortunate enough to have a lot can afford the benefits the Internet brings while those on the bottom rung of society are left without. Thankfully, there are groups working to bring affordable Internet access to these regions.
Of course, we got some things wrong as well. Vice President Al Gore said that the Internet will one day make children want to conduct research in the Encyclopedia Britannica instead of playing on the “Nintendo.” Sorry to break to ya, Al, but you’re wrong on both counts. The modern doesn’t even know what Encyclopedia Britannica is anymore thanks to Wikipedia and kids are using the Internet to play games more than ever.
Image via Wikimedia Commons