On March 14, Tim Berners-Lee returned to Oxford University for a keynote address sponsored by the e-Horizons Institute in affiliation with the Oxford Internet Institute, the Oxford e-Research Centre and the School of Electronics and Computer Science of the University of Southhampton. Sponsorship for the presentation was provided by the British Computer Society.
The 100-min talk entitled, “The Future of the Web,” is available for online viewing or download via a number of different formats. After a slow start, TBL hits his stride and some of his slides (see this W3C listing) are especially good, particularly in the latter part of the presentation.
The major thrust of the talk is on the semantic Web, with attention to why adoption may be perceived as slow, with social and policy factors affecting that. Berners-Lee cogently recalls that the original WWW Web took about five years before it transitioned from geeks to commercial, and he predicts the same for the semantic Web. While it is true we now have the phenomenon of the Web coloring (or “colouring” depending on your semantics) expectations about the pace of adoption of the semantic Web, I thought this quote from the talk was the best by TBL in looking back to his original Web efforts in 1990:
It was really difficult to explain to people what the Web would be like before the Web. The fact it was so difficult to explain to people what the Web was like before the Web [existed] is now extremely difficult to explain to anybody after the Web.
In other words, like all broadly accepted breakthroughs, after acceptance it is hard to understand what life was like before them or why it was so amazing they were innovated and got adopted in the first place.
Check out this talk. It will re-instill perspective and give you a glimpse as to how constant efforts eventually produce results if the vision is compelling.
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