Fifteen Years Later, Are We Better Off wih the Web?

May 1 represents the 15th anniversary of the day the Web's code was placed into the public domain. So this public birthday of the Internet raises the question of whether it's been a force for good or evil.

Tim Berners-Lee, who many dub the "inventor" of the Internet for his work at Cern Labs, tells BBC News in an interview that the Web will eventually allow every user to access all the data in the world. This may be a little more than I require, since I already have my hands full monitoring technology news sites and my fantasy baseball league. But I'm sure he's correct, even though more knowedge is not necessarily better knowledge.

Berners-Lee notes that the Web has emerged as a tremendous global collaborative tool and may someday soon be used to manage the planet. It's certainly collapsed existing business models, enpowered individuals to take more control over their lives, and forever changed the technology industry. However it has also enabled lunatics around the world to gain an audience, destroyed a lot of business ventures, stolen personal privacy and made intrusiveness a societal norm. Some of us remember the pre-Internet era, and not necessarily dismissively. Happy Birthday, Internet, you're destined to rule the world. Good luck to you and the rest of us.

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