As part of the 2006 Global Summit I recently interviewed one of the presenters Robert Cailliau who is the co-Developer of the World Wide Web. He spent the last 30 years working at CERN – the European Organization for Nuclear Research, the world’s largest particle physics centre.
He thinks that nobody can predict the future of the internet and that revolutionary developments have come from unexpected avenues in the past, and will again. Asked about the development of technology connected futures, he described them as “Simply hell. Matrix, but worse.”
The one trend Cailliau sees is towards more virtual community spaces. People are going virtual. They meet in virtual spaces, build their virtual worlds, let others in or keep them out. He believes the distinction between life inside the matrix and outside it will blur.
This is already evidenced by the behaviour and addiction to networked 3D virtual worlds. And just like the web spread like wildfire out of CERN, things will continue to develop and grow. Skype, blogging, podcasting, real crime inside networked 3D virtual world – all these phenomena will continue and at one point meld together into the Matrix. Or never at all! Yet note that nobody predicted any of them.
Developments like wikis must amuse Cailliau because providing a facility for working on the same page together was the first thing the prototype web did. He explains that this is how he and Tim Berners-Lee refined the documentation of the protocols and HTML back in 1990. This facility disappeared when others developed the browsers we see today.
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