Saturday, August 22, 2009

The Web in Developing Countries according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee

The founder of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee shared his thoughts (See video below) on what the web should be like for all communities around the world. Questions about are developing nations like those in Africa, India being fed a Western Culture via the web has been raised, but the key thing is making sure that every person have the right to access to the web irrespective the device which is the point of access.

He stated that of course mobile phones are popular in developing nations and that this replaces the computer but yet most of the web is still focused around the PC. According to Berners-Lee 20% of the planet (approx. 1.2 billion) have access to the web even though over 4 billion have access to mobile phones. What this mean is the web should also consider those who don't have access to HD, latest technologies but attempt to reach the rest of the world using simple low-bandwidth browsers.

The more people who have connectivity the greater the opportunity for creativity to come forth in those developing nations. This of course leads to innovations that could come back to impact developed nations as well.

Transcript of Sir Tim Berners-Lee's Talk

'In developing countries of course people have phones where they don't have computers. And to a certain extent there are certain level of people who have phones with their browsers but don't have computers.

...where the web at the moment is only used by 20 per cent of the planet, it's possible that we'll get very much more of the planet actually with access as they get phones, and those phones have simple web browsers.

So one of the things we have to make sure is that it works for them, that we don't just target everything in HD, in three dimensions, whatever the next new thing is - at, you know the early adopter, we also have to make sure that we target things in low resolution, low bandwidth, to people out there.

But also we have to realise that one of the things which, when you talk to anybody, for example, about going to Africa, about how people use technology, is they all say it is incredible how whatever the technology is they are really really creative with it. Well guess what? They're human beings and human beings are creative. So one of the things we've got to realise as well is as people, more people get connected, it is their creativity...

...the important thing is we must enable them to create a web that they need and that they want, and they will. If they're enabled, if they're given an open Internet platform, a neutral Internet platform, they will do that. So we must not think that we will be feeding them our culture, we must realise that their culture is going to be coming back very strongly and that is going to be very exciting for the world.'

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