The bloke who created the world-wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, said he is worried that artificial intelligence (AI) could become the new ‘masters of the universe’ by creating and running their own companies.
Speaking at the Innovate Finance Global Summit today, Berners-Lee envisioned a world where AI systems start to develop decision-making capabilities and the impact this will have on the fairness of our economic systems.
He said that AI could decide which companies to acquire: “So when AI starts to make decisions such as who gets a mortgage, that’s a big one. Or which companies to acquire and when AI starts creating its own companies, creating holding companies, generating new versions of itself to run these companies.
“It becomes difficult to understand how to ensure they are being fair, and how do you describe fairness to a computer anyway.”
The scenario does threaten to wipe out an entire industry and raises some fundamental questions about how fair a financial system without any human involvement can be.
Berners-Lee also slammed the Trump administration’s rollback of net neutrality protections.
He recently published a letter on the 28th anniversary of the world wide web, detailing what he views as the three main challenges for the web: loss of control over personal data, the spread of misinformation across the web and the need for transparency with online political advertising.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, said he is alarmed at what has happened to it in the past year.
He said that the world needs to step in to reverse three new trends which could kill off the Internet as a useful tool for humanity
Sir Tim cited compromised personal data, fake news and the lack of regulation in political advertising, which he says threatens democracy.
“Even in countries where we believe governments have citizens’ best interests at heart, watching everyone, all the time is simply going too far. It creates a chilling effect on free speech and stops the web from being used as a space to explore important topics, like sensitive health issues, sexuality or religion.”
When Berners-Lee submitted his original proposal for the Web, he imagined it as an open platform that would allow everyone, everywhere to share information, access opportunities and collaborate across geographic and cultural boundaries.
He said that his faith has been badly shaken by a series of high-profile hacks and the dissemination of fake news by data science and armies of bots. The scourge of fake news and cyberweapons pose a significantly greater threat.
The father of the world wide web, Saint Tim Berners-Lee, has called for the development of a new web which cannot be snooped on by the government.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web, believes that the way his creation works in the present day “completely undermines the spirit of helping people create”.
He is currently involved in a project which will set up a new kind of information network that can’t be controlled by governments or powered by megacorporations like Amazon and Google.
Along with luminaries like TCP/IP protcol co-creator Vint Cerf, Mozilla Project leader Mitchell Baker and Electronic Frontier Foundation special advisor Cory Doctorow, they’ve gathered at the Decentralized Web Summit in San Francisco to discuss how this new kind of internet can be created and sustained.
One of the things they will look at is the use of increased encryption and methods to bring more accountability, as well as to reduce content creators’ and publishers’ dependence on ad revenue by developing secure, direct cryptocurrency-based payment methods for subscribers.
The Decentralized Web Summit is on from June 8-9. It will be interesting to see if they get any backing or how long it takes for the world to stuff it up again.
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee is calling on internet barons to force the King to sign a Magna Carta.
Such an internet bill of rights would be designed to defend freedom and privacy and guarantee the rights of web users and is needed to maintain the independence and integrity of the World Wide Web.
He made the announcement on the 25th anniversary of the day he drafted an outline of what would become the web.
Sir Tim has been a vocal critic of online surveillance since Edward Snowden, a former NSA contractor, leaked documents that detail how the British governments and US gather data on web users worldwide.
He said that it was time for humanity to make a big communal decision.
“In front of us are two roads – which way are we going to go? Are we going to continue on the road and just allow the governments to do more and more and more control – more and more surveillance? Or are we going to set up a bunch of values? Are we going to set up something like a Magna Carta for the World Wide Web?”
Sir Tim has defended Edward Snowden, saying that his decision to turn whistleblower was “in the public interest”. He has also been an outspoken critic of the “growing tide of surveillance and censorship” in many parts of the world.
He said that any constitution on internet rights and freedoms should also consider issues surrounding copyright laws around the world and how ethics work online. His online bill of rights will be incorporated into a new campaign called “Web We Want” that aims to build an international review of internet conventions.
The founder of the world wide web has blown the whistle on the dangers of governments turning the internet into a huge spying tool.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee said that while it was important to fight serious organised crime and for a state to defend itself against cyber attacks, citizens should be worried about governments taking control of the web.
Lately there have been a lot of calls for internet filtering – with governments saying they are protecting citizens from organised crime, terrorists, state sponsored cyber war and sex pests.
However, Sir Tim warns that internet monitoring for these reasons is fraught with danger. He is especially worried about the government data retention plans which are being mooted in Australia.
The data retention proposal is part of the federal government’s overhaul of national security measures and would require internet service providers and telecommunication carriers to store the internet history of all Australians for at least two years.
Sir Tim said that stored information is so dangerous, you have to think of it as dynamite. But instead of nabbing “serious criminals”, such a process would only snare people who had taken out too many library books.
While it is possible to set up a watchdog to ensure there was no overstepping the mark, so far no government had introduced a foolproof system of checks and balances.
Sir Tim said he is worried about web filtering, which he called a sign of a sick government that is addicted to spying.
According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Sir Tim said that people should beware of any government that has the ability to control what you see on the web.
His comments must have been embarrassing to the Communication Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, who was present. Conroy is the architect of a silly mandatory internet filtering plan. He wants every Aussie ISP to block overseas-hosted “refused classification” material as identified by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. His plan was shelved in November after it was deemed too silly, even for a country which has a mammal that lays eggs and is half duck, half otter.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, said that the internet needs to be considered a basic human right and recognised as such in law.
Speaking in India, Sir Tim said that access to the internet on par with any other civil right. Finland has already accepted access to the Internet as a human right.
He wants the world to get away from the idea that the internet needs to be controlled by large corporations or governments.
Sir Tim said Egypt was now communicating online with its people and the great unwashed was in a position to give feedback to the government.
Currently the idea of internet governance and a mechanism to control international cyber crime was too complicated, he added.
Sir Tim said there was a problem of jurisdiction and coordination among law enforcement services across different countries. There is a lot of discussion going on about which aspect of Internet should be governed by what sort of international organisation.
Sir Tim called for the use of mobile technology to make the web available to a large number of people in countries with low levels of internet penetration like India.
People needed to build websites which work well on mobile phones and said there was scope for entrepreneurs can build an economy using this technology.
The father of the world wide web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, has told ISPs that their cunning plan to for a “two-speed” internet goes against the principles that have let the net grow so rapidly in the past 20 years.
Sir Tim said that best practices should also include the neutrality of the net.
According to the Guardian, Berners-Lee was at a round table meeting in Westminster convened by the communications minister Ed Vaizey
At the meeting Facebook, Skype, the BBC and Yahoo, and Sir Tim were on one side and ISPs were on the other.
Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group, who was representing consumer interests at the meeting, said afterwards that he was concerned about the direction the debate was going as it was clear that the regulators and government do not wish to intervene. However the industry is not putting forward anything that looks like meaningful self-regulation.
In Blighty ISPs have for years sought to charge the BBC or customers for using large amonts of bandwidth on things like the iPlayer
Now they are talking about a “two-tier” connection where some services are slower than others. Skype said that this state of affairs exists on Mobile services in the UK because carriers are violating the principle of net neutrality because they fear it will affect their call revenues.
Sir Tim said that every customer should be able to access every service, and every service should be able to access every customer. He said that the web has grown so fast precisely because we have had two independent markets, one for connectivity, and the other for content and applications.
As far as the government was concerned Vaizey said the meeting had been “useful and productive” and that “it was important to discuss how to ensure the internet remains an open, innovative and competitive place.”
It does not look like we will see him putting his foot down soon.