The web at 25: Where next?

As the world wide web celebrates its birthday, Simon takes stock of what's happened so far, and the big tests ahead...

There's little room left for staring at an evolving technology with wide-eyed wonder, hoping that its problems will resolve themselves. Furthermore, the excuses for being blindsided by technologies and the issues that they bring with them continue to wear thin.

But where there's more sinister crime, and increasingly sophisticated criminals, law enforcement agencies have to garner cross border support to effectively police the web. In the UK, just getting cross-county support tends to be an effort.

The offline conundrum

But then to tackle any major issue facing the future of the world wide web requires a level of co-operation 'offline' that ironically is both the factor that slows web regulation down and speeds web progress up. There's simply nothing of note to stop it.

Conversely, when it comes to issues such as infrastructure, a further major test that will be revisited lots and lots over the next 25 years, co-operation is arguably essential. In that time, it should be noted, that many people who have grown up knowing the world wide web from a young age will move into positions of notable legislative power. But even then, there's a lot of work that needs to be done.

Still, it's somewhat refreshing in a way that for all the changes that the world wide web has brought about, human beings are still the best and worst thing about it.

The road ahead

So is it a doom and gloom future for the world wide web? Of course not, but it is a difficult one. There's little room left for staring at an evolving technology with wide-eyed wonder, hoping that its problems will resolve themselves. Furthermore, the excuses for being blindsided by technologies and the issues that they bring with them continue to wear thin.

Perhaps there's not another major evolution in communications technologies on the horizon, at least that many can foresee. But there will be a lot of growth, a lot of evolution, and many more challenges facing this one.

The world wide web's birthday is significant, certainly, but also just the opening chapter of a technology's story. The next chapter is likely to be just as interesting...

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