Most of information on this page is based on my article on "The information revolution "
Timothy Berners-Lee, b. 1955
The person who transformed the Internet from a scholarly network into the World Wide Web of today (WWW) is Timothy Berners-Lee. It's curious to observe his background, as we strive to understand who the modern revolutionaries are: "I am the son of mathematicians. My mother and father were part of the team that programmed the world's first commercial, stored-program computer, the Manchester University 'Mark I,' which was sold by Ferranti Ltd. in the early 1950s".
How was WWW invented?
It was invented at European Physics Lab, CERN, in the late 1980's by Berners-Lee, working independently of any direction by his supervisor. "Inventing the World Wide Web involved my growing realization that there was a power in arranging ideas in an unconstrained, weblike way. And that awareness came to me through precisely that kind of process. The Web arose as the answer to an open challenge, through the swirling together of influences, ideas, and realizations from many sides, until, by the wondrous offices of the human mind, a new concept jelled. It was a process of accretion, not the linear solving of one well-defined problem after another".
The WWW was designed by Timothy Berners-Lee (TBL) with the goal of sharing knowledge, not selling it: "The idea was that everybody would be putting their ideas in, as well as taking them out". Or: "the Web initially was designed to be a space within which people could work on an expression of their shared knowledge".
The idea of knowledge that TBL has is not that of passive absorption of David Hume, the "empiricism", but rather that of "intercreativity", or interaction between people with the purpose of creating something new. TBL says: "I wanted the Web to be what I call an interactive space where everybody can edit. And I started saying 'interactive', and then I read in the media that the Web was great because it was 'interactive', meaning you could click. This was not what I meant by interactivity, so I started calling it 'intercreativity' ... What I mean is being creative with others. A few fundamental rules make this possible. As you can read, so you should be able (given the authority) to write. If you can see pictures on your screen, why can't you take pictures and very easily and intuitively put them up there?"
"Intercreativity" is the key to the present and the future of Internet, and learning in general. The most amazing sites and "intercreative", or created by the community of users. These include the Wikipedia and YouTube. Learning in general, if it is to be real learning, i.e. something new both for the teachers and the students, should be intercreative, where both the teachers and the students constantly create something new for each other. Intercreativity is implicitly present in computer games, but it can and should be present in more serious learning.
The next project of Tim Berners-Lee is "Semantic Web". Wikepedia defines it thus: "The Semantic Web is a project that intends to create a universal medium for information exchange by giving meaning (semantics), in a manner understandable by machines, to the content of documents on the Web". Timothy Berners-Lee is heading the Semantic Web project. He defines it thus: "The goal of the Semantic Web initiative is to create a universal medium for the exchange of data where data can be shared and processed by automated tools as well as by people". The goal is to make machines understand the data with which they are working, so the data can be processed automatically.
2001 article by Tim Berners-Lee on Semantic Web , from Scientific American