Tim Berners-Lee, fully Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee

Berners-Lee, fully Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee

English Computer Scientist, Inventor of the World Wide Web in 1989, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium

Author Quotes

In an extreme view, the world can be seen as only connections, nothing else. We think of a dictionary as the repository of meaning, but it defines words only in terms of other words. I liked hte idea that a piece of information is really defined only by what it's related to, and how it's related. There really is little else to meaning. The structure is everything. There are billions of neurons in our brains, but what are neurons? Just cells. The brain has no knowledge until connections are made between neurons. All that we know, all that we are, comes from the way our neurons are connected.

Large social-networking sites are walling off information posted by their users from the rest of the Web.

People keep asking me what I think of it now that it's done. Hence my protest: The Web is not done!

The Google algorithm was a significant development. I've had thank-you emails from people whose lives have been saved by information on a medical website or who have found the love of their life on a dating website.

The Semantic Web isn't inherently complex. The Semantic Web language, at its heart, is very, very simple. It's just about the relationships between things.

This is for everyone.

What I do has to be a function of what I can do, not a function of what people ask me to do.

At CERN there was a credo meant to avoid unnecessary labors, it said that when acquiring new technology: Buy, Don't Build. There were several commercial hypertext editors and I thought we could just add some internet code, so that the hypertext documents could then be sent over the internet. I thought the companies engaged in the then fringe field of hypertext would immediately grasp the possibilities of the web. Unfortunately, their reaction was quite the opposite, ... it seemed that explaining the vision of the web was exceedingly difficult without a web browser in hand, people had to be able to grasp the web in full, which meant imagining a whole world populated with websites and browsers. It was a lot to ask. Despite the buy don't build credo I came to the conclusion that I was going to have to create the web on my own.

I don't know whether machine translation will eventually get good enough to allow us to browse people's websites in different languages so you can see how they live in different countries.

I think while it?s very tempting for us to look at the Web and say, ?Well, here it is, and this is what it is,? it has, of course, been constantly growing and changing?and it will continue to do so. So to think of this as a static ?This is how the Web is? sort of thing is, I think, unwise. In fact, it?s changed in the last few years faster than it changed before, and it?s crazy for us to imagine this acceleration will suddenly stop. So yes, the 20-year point goes by in a flash, but we should realize that, and we are constantly changing it, and it?s very important that we do so.

In many ways, people growing up with the Web and now the Semantic Web take the power at their fingertips for granted.

Legend has it that every new technology is first used for something related to sex or pornography. That seems to be the way of humankind.

People think e-commerce is just people browsing, but there's more to it than that. More and more people are using programs and agents to shop for the best deal, and that's how they're going to be getting to your site.

The idea that you could access and combine data anywhere in the world and immediately make it part of your spreadsheet is another paradigm shift. It?s difficult to get people to buy into it. But in the same way as before, those who do get it become tremendously fired up. Once somebody has realized what it would be like to have linked data across the world, then they become very enthusiastic, and so we now have this corps of people in many countries all working together to make it happen.

The Semantic Web lets you build a browser that is optimized for a particular disability.

This is going to be hard work. I'd like everyone to go into this realizing this. I'll be asking these groups to be very accountable, to have powerful issue tracking systems on the w3.org web site, and to be responsive in spirit as well as in letter to public comments. As always, we will be insisting on working implementations and test suites. Now we are going to be asking for things like talking with validator developers, maybe providing validator modules and validator test suites. (That's like a language test suite but backwards, in a way). I'm going to ask commenters to be respectful of the groups, as always. Try to check whether the comment has been made before, suggest alternative text, one item per message, etc, and add to technical perception social awareness. This is going to be a very major collaboration on a very important spec, one of the crown jewels of web technology. Even though hundreds of people will be involved, we are evolving the technology which millions going on billions will use in the future. There won't seem like enough thank-you?s to go around some days. But we will be maintaining something very important and creating something even better.

What is a Web year now, about three months? And when people can browse around, discover new things, and download them fast, when we all have agents - then Web years could slip by before human beings can notice.

At the heart of the web is the link, represented by banal strings of characters, notably those that start with http://. When we link information in the web, we enable ourselves to discover facts, create ideas, buy and sell things, and forge new relationships at a speed and scale that was unimaginable in the analogue era. These connections transform presidential elections, overturn authoritarian regimes, power huge businesses and enrich our social networks.

I don't mind being, in the public context, referred to as the inventor of the World Wide Web. What I like is that image to be separate from private life, because celebrity damages private life.

I want to know if I look up a whole lot of books about some form of cancer that that's not going to get to my insurance company and I'm going to find my insurance premium is going to go up by 5% because they've figured I'm looking at those books.

Innovation is serendipity, so you don't know what people will make.

Let's see whether the United States is capable as acting according to its important values, or whether it is, as so many people are saying, run by the misguided short-term interested of large corporations. I hope that Congress can protect net neutrality, so I can continue to innovate in the internet space. I want to see the explosion of innovations happening out there on the Web, so diverse and so exciting, continue unabated.

Physicists analyze systems. Web scientists, however, can create the systems.

The important thing is the diversity available on the Web.

The story of the growth of the World Wide Web can be measured by the number of Web pages that are published and the number of links between pages. The Web's ability to allow people to forge links is why we refer to it as an abstract information space, rather than simply a network.

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Berners-Lee, fully Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee
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English Computer Scientist, Inventor of the World Wide Web in 1989, Director of the World Wide Web Consortium