Three things you can learn from Tim Berners-Lee

The creator of the web gave a talk at LeWeb yesterday - here's three ideas you should take away from the talk.

Three lessons from the on-stage interview with Tim Berners-Lee at LeWeb yesterday

1. A technology-spawned problem doesn’t always need a tech solution

Issues of privacy and security are partially technological ones, certainly. But we also need a societal and legal response to them, too. For example, making it illegal to use a candidate’s social media activity while a child when assessing them for a job would send a clear message about acceptable behaviour that would work its way into culture.

Coupled with that is the idea that everyone needs a basic understand of coding – if for no other reason that our legislators need to understand what computers can actually do as they make laws about them.

2. The web is at its best when we read and write

The web was always designed to be a read/write environment. Everyone at CERN could write to it, and read it. It was at its best when people did both, because that created the maximum information value in the system.

It was a really good point – we forget too easily that many of the great digital successes in recent years have been in services that make it easier and easier to publish to the web (like Facebook, Twitter, et al. Attempts to reassert the “publish/read” model of print just don’t go well – from iPad editions of magazines, to many big publishers’ sites.

Change what you do based on the web, don’t try to change the web to match what you do.

3. The robots are coming. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Sir Tim made a truly frightening connection: fast trading companies are essentially driven by algorithms now. Human beings can’t keep up. And, under US law, corporations have personhood. In essence, algorithm-driven companies are already people in the eyes of the law. We need to go into this with our eyes open…

Further reading/watching

The video of the session isn’t available yet, but I liveblogged the Time Berners-Lee interview on my own site.

I’ll add the video when it’s released.