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Thu 29 Mar 2018 02:01 PM

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World Wide Web creator fears for future of his invention

Tim Berners-Lee tells Sharjah forum: 'We have lost control of our personal data'

World Wide Web creator fears for future of his invention
British computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, the man credited with inventing the world wide web. (PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images)

Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the creator of the World Wide Web, has admitted that he is worried about the future of his invention in comments made in Sharjah.

Berners-Lee told state news agency WAM that he has become concerned about new threats facing the internet.

"When I created the Web 29 years ago, I imagined it as an open platform that would allow everyone to share information anywhere and collaborate. But now even when they are connected together, they don’t end up collaborating positively, but rather the result comes negative in many instances," he told WAM on the sidelines of the International Government Communications Forum in Sharjah.

He added: "I’ve become worried about new threats which I believe we must address in order for the web to fulfill its true potential as a tool that serves all of humanity and to be an accurate mirror of humanity.

"We have lost control of our personal data; it’s becoming too easy for misinformation to spread on the web; and transparency.

"Now we've gotten into the age of social networks. I think the last two years have caused a lot of people to have a different view of the web. So having spent two decades trying to keep the Web open, and produce wonderful things for our life, now we've realised, actually, it might not."

Speaking earlier at the forum, he called for a new balance between data sharing and government regulation to restore faith in social media, as the online world accelerates into the fourth industrial revolution.

"Data from millions of users has ended up at the disposal of the political consultants, forcing some uncomfortable questions for Facebook as to how personal information is used without consent," he was quoted as saying by WAM.

Regarding the future of artificial intelligence, Berners-Lee added: "You have to worry if you’re doing a minimal job. If you’re a truck driver or factory worker, you’ve to be worried because automation is taking over."

Berners-Lee, also known as TimBL, is an English engineer and computer scientist and is currently a professor of Computer Science at the University of Oxford.

He is also director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which oversees the continued development of the internet.

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