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Father of the Web Confronts His Creation in the Era of Fake News


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Berners-Lee in his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1998.

In an interview, World Wide Web Consortium founder (and 2016 A.M. Turing recipient) Sir Tim Berners-Lee says the Web's complexity is now comparable to that of the human brain.

Credit: Elise Amendola/AP

In an interview, World Wide Web Consortium founder (and 2016 A.M. Turing recipient) Sir Tim Berners-Lee discusses how his perspective of the Web has changed since its inception, especially with it being widely used to spread misinformation.

Berners-Lee says the Web's complexity is now comparable to the human brain's, which demands the technology sector follow a multidisciplinary strategy to "look out for unintended consequences" and study how services affect the world.

He also notes Google and other Web companies bear some responsibility for incentivizing fake news purveyors by developing advertising systems for commercial reasons without considering the more malevolent implications.

In addition, Berners-Lee says there is "no magic recipe that the Internet will be able to solve censorship, so censorship is something we have to protest against."

He also cites the importance of people being able to control their own data, contending that companies' perception of data as a business asset is dangerous. "It's becoming toxic," Berners-Lee warns.

From Bloomberg
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