Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the founder of the World Wide Web, has told The Drum that he hopes a more peaceful society will be the lasting legacy of his invention.
In a wide-ranging interview, the British-born computer scientist opened up about his aspirations for the web and his thoughts on its progress so far ahead of his induction into the UK Digital Hall of Fame at ad:tech in London next week.
Speaking from his office at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Sir Tim said: “Hopefully [the web] will make the human race work more efficiently in many, many ways: we’ve already seen acceleration of commerce, and the acceleration of learning.
“The big question is can we use it to accelerate peace? One of the worrying things when people go online is that they tend to interact with their own kind: race, colour, creed, sexual preference and so on.
“People tend to stick to their own on the web. So the big thing is to get people to connect across cultural borders.
“If you’ve just been in conversation with somebody, or somebody’s parents about some common interest – whether it’s bird watching or global warming – you are less likely to shoot them.”
Sir Tim said the growing availability of mobile phones would help realise this ambition of a more connected world.
“The web going mobile will bring the people using the web from 25% to 80%,” he said.
“I think people in the developing world will start with phones then may want to move to cheap tablet PCs. The price of devices is generally falling.
“It has always been a mantra of mine that when you make a website you should make no assumptions of what sort of devices people will be using.”
You can read the full interview with Sir Tim in the latest edition of The Drum magazine, which is published today.