JUDY WOODRUFF (NewsHour): The World Wide Web turns 25 years old today. The date marks the publication of a paper that originally laid out the concept, which eventually led to the vast system of Internet sites we now use.
Jeffrey Brown looks at how it’s changed the world we live in.
JEFFREY BROWN (NewsHour): One way to do that is to look at how individual Americans think about the Internet and its impact on their lives.
The Pew Research Internet Project did that in a survey just out. Among much else, it finds that 87 percent of American adults now use the Internet, and the number goes up to 97 percent for young adults from 18 to 29. Ninety percent of Internet users say the Internet has been a good thing for them personally, though the number drops to 76 percent when asked if the Internet has been a good thing for society generally, with 15 percent saying it’s been bad for society.
And 53 percent of Internet users say the Internet would be, at minimum, very hard to give up.
We’re joined by three people who’ve watched the growth of the Internet from different angles. Xeni Jardin is a journalist and editor at the Web blog Boing Boing, which covers technology and culture. Catherine Steiner-Adair is a clinical and consulting psychologist at Harvard Medical School, and author of “The Big Disconnect: Protecting Childhood and Family Relationships in the Digital Age.” And Daniel Weitzner teaches computer science and Internet public policy in at MIT. From 2011 to 2012, he was U.S. deputy chief technology officer in the White House.
And welcome to all of you.
And, Daniel Weitzner, I will start with you, because you worked with Tim Berners-Lee, who — one of the main people that started all this 25 years ago. What has — what surprises you now, sitting here 25 years later, about where we’re at?
DANIEL WEITZNER, Massachusetts Institute of Technology: Well, it does surprise me how tremendously the Internet and the Web has grown into every aspect of our lives.
I think that a lot of us who were involved in the early days of the Internet and the Web had hoped that it could really reach the whole world. And there’s no question that Tim Berners-Lee, who — whose architecture for the World Wide Web really helped it to grow, had the ambition that it in fact cover the whole world — represent everything in the world. But I think it’s amazing how far we have actually come in that direction.