Berners-Lee predicts new internet revolution

News 25 Apr, 2012

The "father of the web" sets out his vision for the future of the online world.

The internet is at the dawn of a new era of open data, according to Sir Tim Berners-Lee.

The inventor of the world wide web said open data and the semantic web would virtually link every physical device and piece of data online.

“The vision of a semantic web has taken a while to come into being because the web is so exciting in many other ways," said Berners-Lee, speaking at the Teradata conference in Dublin, Ireland.

The goal is having data available in such a way that it is more powerful, linkable and usable.

He said the future of the web is one where "data and devices everywhere will be interlinked and metadata is central to this."

Leading this revolution would be governments and organisations that open up datasets for people and businesses to make better choices and informed decisions, said Berners-Lee.

The quality of this data would be central to the success of this revolution, he added, and it would have to be made available to all.

To overcome this, there should be a five star system to denote the data’s quality, he suggested.

"The first star is for data that is available to all, even when it is in the worst format. Everything is a fax or a scan or an image. Somebody has to untangle that and pipe it back in,” he explained.

However, getting organisations to release data in an open format, that is readily accessible, easily queried and linked to other sources, would require a huge effort.

"Open data can change how government works. The goal is having data available in such a way that it is more powerful, linkable and usable,” he added.