"That's why I made the internet"

... is now officially my favourite quote ever. Did you know that the World Wide Web was invented by one guy. Not NASA or the CIA or the Pentagon or some other massive organisation as a lot of people believe, but by one guy while working at CERN. And an English guy at that! The guy's name is Tim Berners Lee, and if you didn't know that, it tells you everything about the Englishness of the whole enterprise. Bill Gates and co. made a million off the back of the world wide web and Tim BL basically handed it over as open source and free to the world. Even better, instead of being bitter about these gazillionaires, Tim has continued to develop web standards and push things forward for the benefit of the little man. Now that's what I call social enterprise!

A couple of days ago Greg sorted me out with a spare ticket to the NESTA Innovation Edge conference. They had speakers like Bob Geldof and Gordon Brown, but I really just went along to hear Tim Berners Lee speak. Primarily because one of Tim's latest areas of development is the semantic web. Not quite artificial intelligence but contextual intelligence. Anyway that's for another post.

Tim sadly didn't talk about the semantic web, but was interviewed instead by some 'famous' journalist guy I'd never heard of. At one point he was talking about the web and information sharing and social behaviour and he finished his sentence with ... "and that's why I made the internet". Think about it. This is singularly the greatest invention and cultural shift of our generation, and the man just shrugs like yeah you know I made it for everybody. No pretentions. How cool is that?

Imagine one day having created something that changed the world. How would you deal with it?

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