Sir Tim Berners-Lee, British inventor of the World Wide Web, has been on a short visit to Britain from his base at MIT in Boston, during which he met government ministers, academics and major corporations, to promote a new subject, Web Science.
This is a multi-disciplinary effort to study the web and try to guide its future. Sir Tim explained that there were now more web pages than there are neurons in the human brain, yet the shape and growth of the web were still not properly understood.
“We should look out for snags in the future,” he said, pointing to the way email had been swamped by spam as an example of how things could go wrong. “Things can change so fast on the internet.” But he promised that what web scientists would produce over the coming years “will blow our minds”.
The creator of the web has said consumers need to be protected against systems which can track their activity on the internet. Sir Tim Berners-Lee told BBC News he would change his internet provider if it introduced such a system. Plans by leading internet providers to use Phorm, a company which tracks web activity to create personalised adverts, have sparked controversy. Sir Tim said he did not want his ISP to track which websites he visited.
See video interview at BBC News Monday, 17 March 2008, 12:26 GMT