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← Sir Tim and Gordon Brown: How Can the Web Accelerate Social and Economic Change? (Geneva University recording)

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Showing Revision 10 created 04/29/2014 by Claude Almansi.

  1. Stéphane Berthet: Mesdames et Messieurs, je vous souhaite la bienvenue à l'université de Genève, et sans plus attendre, je passe la parole

  2. au recteur de l'université, le professeur Jean-Dominique Vassalli, pour ouvrir cette soirée.
  3. Jean-Dominique Vassalli: Merci, Monsieur le secrétaire général. Mesdames et Messieurs, c'est avec un très très grand plaisir
  4. que l'Université de Genève vous accueille ici ce soir pour un événement tout à fait exceptionnel.
  5. Nous avons en effet l'occasion de recevoir ici, en ces lieux, des presonnalités qui représentent pour le monde d'aujourd'hui
  6. un degré d'implication et de réflexion dans tout ce qui concerne la communication et le rôle politique de la communication,
  7. qui sont véritablement à la pointe de toute cette - de toutes les questions qui peuvent se poser.
  8. Je mentionne simplement que de manière exceptionnelle, et peut-être parce que les circonstances s'y prêtent,
  9. nous avons "libéré" l'accès au web depuis cette salle aujourd'hui, ce qui fait que si vous avez un équipement audio -
  10. enfin vous voyez ce que je veux dire - qui vous permet de vous connecter, vous éteignez l'aspect téléphone, mais vous pouvez aller sur le Web.
  11. D'autre part, je précise également que ceci est une discussion entre ces messieurs, mais que des questions, une session de questions,
  12. sera également organisée, et que vous pouvez préparer des questions, les rédiger sur des papiers qui seront collectés et qui seront apportés à l'animateur.
  13. Mesdames, Messieurs, Monsieur Tim Berners-Lee, the Honourable - I don't know if this is the right way: the honourable Gordon Brown? (laughter)
  14. Doctor Gordon Brown, welcome to our university. It is a real pleasure.
  15. I would say that what the Web represents for us today, today we would say it's an obvious thing. The web, for all of us today, is something which has completely invaded our lives.
  16. And I would just like to reminisce a few decades ago, and remind that the Web was inititated - and we'll hear about this - by Tim Berners-Lee in the CERN.
  17. And Geneva, I'm proud to say, was not very slow at picking up on what could be done in this respect, and what could be done with the Web.
  18. And the so-called ExPASy website was created at the University of Geneva in 1993. This was the first website for life sciences, and I think the 50th website altogether.
  19. In the life sciences after, the University and the University Hospital of Geneva created what is called Health on the Net, and this is in the world of life sciences and medicine,
  20. it is the 3rd website the most accessed in the world, after the National Library of Medicine and the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta.
  21. So, I would say, we followed your inspiration, I think, quite fast - which is not necessarily characteristic for this country, but in this case, we did so.
  22. So, Ladies and Gentlemen, let me introduce to you the - le représentant de l'Etat de Genève, qui vient parler en excusant,
  23. et il le dira certainement, le Président du Conseil d'Etat, M. Marc Muller, qui n'a pas pu se joindre à nous au dernier moment.
  24. C'est M. Marc Monin, secrétaire général du Département des constructions et des technologies de l'information, qui va nous adresser quelques mots au nom du Gouvernement de Genève. (applause)
  25. Marc Monin: Merci, Monsieur le recteur. Monsieur le Premier Ministre, Monsieur Tim Berners-Lee, Excellence, Mesdames et Messieurs.
  26. Comme M. le Recteur vient de le mentionner, c'est vrai que je dois excuser M. Muller, qui n'a malheureusement pas pu se déplacer aujourd'hui, parce qu'il y a eu quelques petites urgences opérationnelles
  27. par rapport à certains logements qui doivent être construits très rapidement dans certaines logiques (audience laughs) donc vous comprendrez bien que cet aspect-là - voilà. (laughter and clapping)
  28. Donc, j'ai le privilège aujourd'hui d'ouvrir cette importante, mais aussi, je crois, une discussion qui aura lieu et, pour moi, je pense que le message que M. Muller aimerait vous faire parvenir, j'ai la chance de vous le transmettre aujourd'hui.
  29. (reading Muller's message?) Le monde change. Nous en sommes à la fois les acteurs et les spectateurs. Les évolutions apportées par les technologies ont profondément transformé les sociétés à travers les âges.
  30. Aujourd'hui, les révolutions sociales que nous observons, notamment celles en cours sur le pourtour de la Méditerrannée, sont aussi soutenues par des technologies.
  31. Bien entendu, le soulèvement est celui des peuples avant tout. Mais les populations trouvent un moyen de s'exprimer et de renverser des pouvoirs dictatoriaux qui les oppressent.
  32. Mais le monde d'organisation change et il est aujourd'hui catalysé par les apports technologiques contemporains: les téléphones portables, qui permettent des communications et la diffusion de photos,
  33. les réseaux sociaux, qui facilitent l'organisation de rassemblements autour des causes défendues, ou encore les vidéos partagées, montrant au monde entier les réalités souvent cachées.
  34. Voilà trois usages,pour ne citer que ceux-là, qui n'existaient pas il y a dix ans seulement.
  35. Une autre révolution sous-jacente qui s'est produite est celle de l'information digitale. Déjà identifiée depuis longtemps par les chercheurs académiques, elle bascule aujourd'hui et confirme son entrée dans la société.
  36. La société de l'information et de la connaissance prend un sens beaucoup plus concret, en même temps que le passage à l'ère post-industrielle se confirme.
  37. Comme l'affirme le professeur Clay Shirky de l'Université de New York, "Une révolution ne surgit pas lorsqu'une société adopte de nouveaux outils, mais elle apparaît lorsque la société adopte de nouveaux usages."
  38. En très peu de temps, finalement, nous avons complètement changé nos habitudes en termes de communication, de médias, d'accès à l'information et à la connaissance.
  39. Il n'y a ne serait-ce qu'une décennie, encore une fois, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter et même Wikipédia, n'existaient tout simplement pas.
  40. Tous ces services sont apparus par strates successives. Des ordinateurs tout d'abord, bien sûr, qui forment une partie de l'infrastructure, mais des réseaux numériques, ensuite, qui ont aujourd'hui quasiment tous convergé sur le réseau des réseaux qu'est internet.
  41. La naissance du World Wide Web, enfin, qui, inventé ici à Genève, au CERN, a permis la création d'une plateforme facilement accessible et hypertextuelle.
  42. Je suis extrêmement fier et heureux d'avoir le privilège d'accueillir ce soir l'un de ses inventeurs, M. Tim Berners-Lee, que je salue.
  43. Aujourd'hui, le Web prend un rôle encore plus important et permettant une liaison sémantique des données, en ouvrant leur potentiel sur le monde entier.
  44. Mais ces moyens techniques ne constituent pas une fin en soi. C'est uniquement en confrontant ceux-ci à des problématiques concrètes qu'ils développent toute leur puissance et leur ampleur. C'est en permettant d'autonomiser les personnes qu'ils deviennent pertinents.
  45. A cette architecture technologique vient s'ajouter une architecture sociale et politique: celle mise en évidence par la construction collective, à savoir, la résolution de problèmes de façon distribuée et l'autonomisation plus grande que celle revendiquée par les populations.
  46. J'aimerais à ce propos rendre hommage à M. Gordon Brown, qui a pleinement saisi ces enjeux dans ses mandats politiques.
  47. Mesdames et Messieurs, j'aimerais revenir ici sur une initaitive importante qui nous vient du Royaume-Uni. Le data.gov.uk, c'est son nom, est né de la volonté de MM. Gordon Brown et Berners-Lee, et est emblématique dans sa démarche d'ouverture des données publiques.
  48. En effet, ce site met gratuitement à disposition de tous les données publiques collectées par l'Etat. Il s'agit, bien entendu, de données qui sont non personnelles, dans le respect des règles de la protection de la personnalité et de la sécurité de l'Etat.
  49. Il reste néanmoins un très grand nombre de données, comme par exemple les cartes de références (?) géographiquement, qui présentent un intérêt majeur pour un grand nombre d'acteurs.
  50. Le gouvernement britannique permet ainsi à ses citoyens et à ses entreprises de mieux appréhender son action publique, et de générer ainsi des services.
  51. Nous n'en sommes pas encore là à Genève, mais nous en prenons la direction, notamment via le Système d'information du territoire genevois, le SITG. Genève joue également un rôle à son modeste niveau.
  52. Je pense par exemple au projet de vote en ligne, qui connaît un réel succès, ou encore au programme d'impulsion de l'administration en ligne, permettant aux citoyens d'accéder plus facilement aux services de l'administration.
  53. Et nous ne sommes qu'au début de la transformation du service public vers l'administration de demain.
  54. Mesdames et Messieurs, je crois que le rôle du Web et des technologies de l'information a franchi une étape, celle de la prise de conscience que cet outil transforme la société dans son ensemble.
  55. Je me réjouis d'entendre les débats riches, aujourd'hui, et les échanges stimulants des illustres personnalités ici présentes. Les idées qu'elles défendent doivent être étendues et analysées par le plus grand nombre, et sont cruciales pour la construction du bien commun.
  56. Merci de votre attention. (clapping)
  57. Vassalli: Cet événement, ce soir, Mesdames et Messieurs, nous le devons en fait à la World Wide Web Foundation, qui se réunit dans notre ville et dont Sir Tim Berners-Lee est, je crois, le membre fondateur.
  58. Le président de la fondation, M. Alberto Ibargüen, qui est connu pour être un défenseur de la liberté de la presse, de la liberté d'expression dans le monde, président de la World Wide Web Foudation, va animer la discussion, et je l'en remercie.
  59. Donc e remercie la World Wide Web Foundation de nous donner cette occasion tout à fait exceptionnelle ce soir, et je vous passe la parole, Monsieur le Président.
  60. Ibargüen: Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure and an enormous privilege for me to be here with all of you and with such distinguished company.
  61. The two people that I am supposed to introduce, I think you already know: the inventor of the World Wide Web and the former Prime Minister of the UK.
  62. You may not know that Gordon Brown also started as a reporter on the Scottish television. And so, perhaps, we can talk about some of your media experience (Gordon Brown laughs) before your political experience.
  63. And when we were talking earlier, I told Tim that we probably should start with some kind of discussion of something that perhaps you don't know about, since perhaps you surely know a great deal about either or the two of them, about both of them -
  64. and I thought, maybe we should talk about that day which, according to sources on the Web (and this will lead us into a discussion about authenticity of sources on the Web)
  65. but sources on the Web, specifically Wikipedia, say that the first hypertext message was sent here in Geneva by Tim to some others on Christmas day, in 1990.
  66. And I thought this would be a good place to start, until he told me that no, it's bogus, it's absolutely untrue (laughter) So, Tim, tell us the origins.
  67. Berners-Lee: OK, lesson 1: just because you read it is on the Web, it is not necessarily true. (laughter) So you have to check up on your sources sometime.
  68. So, Christmas day: I think that CERN often basically closes over Christmas, and everybody is sent home.
  69. That particular Xmas Eve, the 24th, in fact, my first child was due on that day, which was a very much more significant thing than the software program I was writing.
  70. So, what I planned to do, I'd work on it, I started in September, worked on it through October and November, and the plan was to get it all wrapped up well before Christmas.
  71. So I made a release of the software, I mean it had been running for a little while, I made a release of the software.
  72. And when you make a release, you give it a version number, and the version number, often, I make up out of the date, and I thought, what date shall I put on this?
  73. So I thought, well, I'm going to do this in time for the Xmas break, and I always try to pick up interesting dates for version numbers. So it was Version 1990 12 25.
  74. And so it was branded as being a Christmas release. But Christmas day, I can tell you, I was not doing anything webby. I was not online.
  75. Ibargüen(?): You were opening your presents.
  76. Berners-Lee: Yeah, well, but in fact, probably not at CERN either, because I think that probably, typically CERN would close for a week or two.
  77. Ibargüen: Do you remember the first time you sent something on the web, Gordon?
  78. Brown: The first time I looked on the Web was to get a football result. I got to be honest. I was in America and I was trying to find out how my favorite team was doing.
  79. Ibargüen: Ah ah.
  80. Brown: I've got to correct your first statement. I started off actually as a university lecturer. And as, you know, Universities stand for objectivity and rationality, and the pursuit of truth, all the qualities I had to leave behind when I went into politics.
  81. (laughter and clapping)
  82. Ibargüen: Have you regained them?
  83. Brown: I hope so. I feel, this evening, you know, that it's a great privilege for me to be with Tim Berners Lee, who should be accorded his proper due as a person who has had the genius to invent something that we all now use.
  84. And I think it's a privilege to be part of the World Wide Web Foundation with him.
  85. I feel rather like - there's a story told that Gore Vidal, the American author, went round America speaking with JK Galbraith, who was the American great economist. And they had the title, "The Condition of America".
  86. And Gore Vidal used to start his speeches by saying: "This is about the condition of America. 99% of the problem, the economic one, I leave to my good friend, John Kenneth Galbraith, to deal with."
  87. And I feel this evening "The Future of the Internet: 99% of the answers will come from my good friend Tim Berners-Lee.
  88. Ibargüen: But let's start with the excellent remarks by the President of the Geneva government, Mr Muller, thank you.
  89. And he was talking about what you did as really a matter of your own will and belief, and deciding that government data should be free and accessible to the people of Great Britain. How did that happen?
  90. Brown: This is the true story. Tim can confirm it. We met and had lunch one Sunday at Checkers', which is one of the residences of the Prime Minister.
  91. And I simply asked him, "What is the next thing that we've got to do, to popularize and make the Web work. What can we actually do?"
  92. And he immediately said that what we had to do was to open up government data.
  93. And so, I was convinced by that conversation, and I said: "Let us drive this project through. But we can only do it if you come in and help us."
  94. And Tim, with all his other things to do, and with all his projects, agreed that he would come in and work with us. And so we decided on a date - which date was it? January the first? (laughter)
  95. Berners-Lee(?) December 21st?
  96. Brown: We decided on a particular date - I think it was January 1st - we were going to open up thousands of files of data.
  97. And Tim worked with the civil servants and Nigel Shadbolt, maybe here this evening, and they did a brilliant job. And they persuaded - what was probably a civil service more wedded to secrecy than to disclosure, that this had to happen.
  98. And so, it was not only files about government policy. It was -
  99. for example, you can now, because companies and organizations have now taken up the data that is available, you can now find all the hot spots where there are ......... accidents or cycling accidents.
  100. So it's doing something to actually avoid accidents. Dentists - huge problem in Britain, believe it or not - getting access to a dentist: you now had a file that was available that allowed people to do a map of where your nearest dentist was.
  101. Train information: you wouldn't believe it; in Britain, train information, passenger information, was a private asset held by a railway company and not necessarily to be made available to the public, unless they chose to do so.
  102. Ibargüen (?): Schedules...
  103. Brown: Yes, schedules: that had to be made publicly available.
  104. And so lots of data that previously, people didn't have access to, now organizations and voluntary groups can actually look at this data, compound maps or compound all sorts of other formulations of that data.
  105. And therefore, information that should be open to the public, is open to the public.
  106. Then, meteorological information: in Britain we had a famous mapping service, a Royal ordinance survey.
  107. They planned at one stage to sell that off to a private company, and therefore the information would be held privately.
  108. Tim persuaded us, rightly so, that we open all that up to the public, as a general free service, so that people can actually operate with that information and do all sorts of things based on maps being publicly available to them.
  109. So, all these different things happened as a result of the Open Data Project, and now Tim, to his credit, and Nigel, are trying to persuade other countries,
  110. and I think you are persuading African countries, you have talked to the American government: you might now explain what you have taken up since then, it is Tim's achievement.
  111. Berners-Lee: But what was great - by the way I should just explain: so Gordon said, we had this conversation.
  112. I spent some 20 years of my life, trying to persuade people to do things, trying to persuade people to put things on the Web, trying to persuade people to install a web browser,
  113. trying to persuade people to use the standards, trying to persuade people to come and join in making the standards.
  114. And most of the time, when you are persuading people, you are just pushing hard, and you feel like you are pushing uphill.
  115. If you are used to pushing hard uphill, and then suddenly, you are pushing on a door which is open, is unlocked (laughter) there is a danger that you fall flat on your face.
  116. So it was absolutely stunning to .......
  117. "All right, then, we'll do that: you're on", you know.
  118. So that leadership from the top is something that is unmatched anywhere. But in fact...
  119. Ibargüen: What year was that, when did that happened?
  120. Berners-Lee: that was Aprilish 2009
  121. Ibargüen (?): Did you make the January deadline?
  122. Berners-Lee: Oh, but in fact, well, depending...
  123. Brown: What date?
  124. (From the audience): January the 10th.
  125. Brown: January the 10th We'll not miss the date, shall we (?) (Brown laughs)
  126. Berners-Lee: I'm terrible at dates and names and faces and most data. But that's not so important as they are on the Web.
  127. But yes, we made the deadline, and it's always a question of what goes in and goes out. And we had, along the way, some wonderful surprises.
  128. Sort of, eople coming up and saying: "Hey! You talk about data, I've been wanting to give you this DVD for ages." That sort of thing.
  129. And then other things, when people turn roun are being really, psychologically, they felt that they needed to keep the data personal to them, because - for a number of reasons.
  130. in fact, we wondered about making a list of 1 to 100 of the reasons why people want to hang on to their data.
  131. Ibargüen: What governments have been receptive, beside...
  132. Berners-Lee: Well, what was nice in fact about the UK, was that it happened at the same time as some people in the US were trying to push the US government to - there had been -
  133. in fact, the first memo out of the Obama administration talked about transparency, and there was a lot of push, specifically for stimulus money, to make it clear where the stimulus money had gone. So, the American folks, well, got quite competitive.
  134. And in fact, they pointed out that they got - the way the British worked was, and in fact, and that was part of the way of working in Britain,
  135. that was people in the civil service who did this - they developed a large core of a few thousand developers who were going to use the data, and the data were under wraps.
  136. If you wanted to access the data, you had to join a mailing list, and become part of the community. And so that mailing list was building. While meanwhile, the Americans had just opened data.gov
  137. So Vivek Kundra, the American CIO, CTO, one of two
  138. Brown: Technology officer
  139. Berners-Lee: blogged that, he wanted to claim that he was out there first. And he said: "Well, they gave us the Beatles, but we gave them data.gov." And that was the title of his blog.
  140. So then, you know, the gloves were off. And so what was great, was there was this really strong competition between the two sides.
  141. And I gave a talk, well later, so that I could show a graph of: yeah, the US got out there first, but you kick in with a lot more data.
  142. And then the US came out with more data, and at the point that I gave a talk at TED, the UK had got ahead.
  143. But so, the UK and the US were seen as, later, and I found (don't tell Gordon this), but I found that very often, you get this question, you know, the first question is:
  144. "How are we doing? How are we doing with this open data?". And the second question is: "Well, how are we doing, compared to them?" (laughter)
  145. And I found that wherever you find yourself in that position, wherever you are and somebody else is asking that question, when they ask you, you turn to them and you say:
  146. "Well, actually, we are a little bit behind them, but not so far behind them we couldn't get way ahead with a concerted effort." And so, repeating that message to both sides and sort of, those -
  147. Ibargüen: I think if that this internet thing doesn't work out for you. Selling shoes or cars .... (laughter)
  148. Berners-Lee: So what is interesting with a bunch of other countries, and also some towns - Canada has just come out with some - it's one of the most recent countries to come out with some open data.
  149. interestingly, the government - they've got a license that, when you put the data out there, they've got some premium data out there (???) and they've put the license out
  150. And I understand that the interesting thing about the Canadian government data license is that you can use the data for any thing you like, so long as it doesn't bring the Canadian government into disrepute. (laughter)
  151. Brown: We never insisted on that. Nobody would have followed it.
  152. Berners-Lee: But the British government actually laid itself open to publishing all kind of stuff, which could -
  153. you know, about bicycles, you know, about publishing the early data about where bicycle accidents were, they might say it was a negative thing, it was a fault by the British government.
  154. But the idea, I think is, by being open about it, putting the thing out there, suddenly was a psychological move that put the public on the same side as the government. So this is the issue.
  155. Brown: Yes.
  156. Berners-Lee: and this is our issue to solve.
  157. Ibargüen: So, this fundamental change to the economies of all the countries and social relations, and so forth, turns out to be openness. Is that right? It is the openness that causes it?
  158. What is it about the Web that you think has made it such a key part in the development of economies, of social relations?
  159. And then, let's talk a little bit about politics in the Middle East.
  160. Berners-Lee: So it... (laughter) So it's Gordon's .......(?)
  161. Brown: That's a conversation stopper. (more laughter)
  162. Ibargüen: I just want you to know that I don't have all day for your answer.
  163. Berners-Lee: So - where does he get them from? (?) - so as you said you have lots of journalists friends, and I can see, not having had to do with journalism myself, clearly you haven't forgotten.
  164. So, what is it about the Web? It's not just the Web, but what is it about the Web?
  165. That it is decentralized, that the Web itself is neutral, that the Web itself is a platform like -
  166. just as I built the Web technology on top of the Internet technology, internet technology is an open platform, you can invent whatever you can imagine to run on top of it.
  167. I invented the Web. The Web itself is an open platform: you can invent whatever you can imagine to run on top of it. That's what the Web is.
  168. Then, obviously, it's up to your imagination, it's what you do with it.
  169. So when it comes to openness, it's a question of whether you use it to be open, or whether you use your power, as a government,
  170. to get it crawling (?), connections to the system will trail (?) you, to turn it off, or to allow you to filter it.
  171. So, the UK government decided it would be a good idea to use it for openness. And the openness actually is not just - the effect of that it's not just transparency.
  172. The transparency seems to be political, higher on the agenda. But in fact, one of the really big returns for the country and for the world is that data is valuable.
  173. When you can actually take any data about any phenomenonand you could put it on a map, what happened is that people in the government used to produce maps, and the maps were already copyright, because the basic underlying map was copyright.
  174. So they couldn't just distribute it freely. So that's just ................. interdependent (?)
  175. And if, as a company, you want to make a driving direction, you want to figure out how to show driving directions from one place to another one, but also, on your map, you want to show public transport directions - then you need public transport data. It's just going to make that better.
  176. So in fact, there is a huge economic benefit in this data openness . (?)
  177. Brown: I think it will come to be seen as one of the biggest generators of businesses, because people have got these data that they can play around with, they can develop new ideas and products that come out of these ideas,
  178. they can sell that service over a period of time, and you have lots of companies form as a result of that. So, the more that countries open up their data, I think the more businesses and entrepreneurship will actually flourish as well.
  179. Ibargüen: How did you use the Web in your last campaign (?)?
  180. Brown: Not very well (laughter)
  181. Ibargüen: And in spite of that...
  182. Brown: And in spite of that - I think that President Obama has shown how the Web can be used incredibly effectively. But I think - and you are coming to talk about other parts of the world -
  183. I think - you can think about all the difficulties that arise, because, as Tim has written in a very prestigious article in the Scientific American, you have the problem of these walled sites,
  184. you have providers that can slow down the provision of services to people that they don't want to privilege, whereas they want to privilege other people, and you get governments misusing information.
  185. But think of it the other way. As a result of this, power is in people's hands themselves. And it's leading to people to be able to connect and communicate in a way that has never happened before.
  186. And it's leading to people finding that there is probable common ground between them and people in other countries, and of other religions, and in other continents.
  187. And it's giving people an ability to organize, based on their ability to connect almost instantaneously with each other.
  188. So, I think that is transformative for the world, and I don't think 10 or 20 years from now, we'll look at the world as it is now: we'll look at the world as it has become, with communities formed right across the world, as a result of people's ability to connect with each other right across frontiers.
  189. And that, I think is a very powerful development, and in it, you've got the seeds of change, not just in Egypt and Tunisia, but the seeds of change in other parts of the world.
  190. Ibargüen: I heard you talk earlier this afternoon - both of you, actually - about the internet and the Web being simply platforms. But in fact, Tunisia and Egypt wouldn't have happened if there were not other causes.
  191. So how does this work, going forward? Do we end up with government by plebiscite, for everything that government now decides?
  192. Do we have a call for demonstration or a call for some kind of a vote on the Web every time as soon as there is an issue everybody pulls up the telephone and -
  193. Brown: No, I think Tim will have his own views on this, and I'll probably refer to them after I've given mine (laughs) but the truth is that the Web, as Tim says, gives you a platform.
  194. But if your ideas are not powerful, and if what you are saying is not of consequence, and if what you want to communicate doesn't make a difference to people's lives, it will not have an effect.
  195. So if you look back at what happened in Egypt, it all started, as far as I understand it, in 2008. There was a major strike, it was called the April 6 movement.
  196. As a result of that, 70'000 people joined the Facebook campaign in support of those people who were being discriminated against.
  197. But then they realized that this Facebook group really didn't have enough support, and they had to think of other ways of getting their message across about an authoritarian regime.
  198. So they started to learn from what happened in other countries.
  199. And of course, there were movements in the old Jugoslavia that had been very effective: one particularly, in removing President Milosevic. And they learned from what was called the CANVAS group there.
  200. So it was a combination of the new technology, of course enabling people to do things, in a far faster way, but also, in a far bigger way than ever before.
  201. Having a cause, and people wanted dignity, they wanted - with very high youth unemployment, 35% youth unemployment in Egypt, and a repressive regime - people wanted their own human dignity to be expressed properly.
  202. And then the organizational methods that they developed over a period of time, not instantaneously, that meant that this was a youth movement that was outside the traditional party structures, and gradually got people out onto the streets:
  203. not to demonstrate against the police and the army, but to demonstrate, as if with the police and the army, because that was another tactic that they had learned from looking at what had happened and been successful elsewhere.
  204. But if you ask "Could this have happened in the same way without the Web?"
  205. No: I'm not saying it wouldn't have happened, and I'm not saying things wouldn't have happened this year, but it would have happened in a completely different way.
  206. The Web has actually changed the nature in which, if you like, protest or dissidence can express their views.
  207. Ibargüen: So, different and also, probably, much slower.
  208. Berners-Lee: I think, in there, there is an interesting question. from what I heard. OK, so basically, if this decentralized web is where its hatched, does that mean that we should everything with a plebiscite? Should -
  209. So that - obviously, it's easy to conclude: "Well, the masses of students who got together in this country and overturned this, obviously, they were right. So therefore the web should be made so that we listen to masses of students.
  210. But then of course, sometimes when you look at the way people describe events, you'll find that in one country, people who are described as - the patriots, in America, for instance:
  211. during the American War of Independence, the Patriots were the farmers who got together and tore North America away from the British grasp and from the Red Coats.
  212. And you could retell the whole story of the American Revolution using the word "insurgents", and it sounds much more like Iraq.
  213. And people who sort of teach American history sometimes are a little bit off-put, because they realize that, wait a moment, one person's activist to be encouraged is another person's terrorist.
  214. And so, you end up then with needing a decision method. You need a decision algorithm for what is an activist and what is a terrorist.
  215. And this bring us back to something really key to just the way we run our collective lives at all.
  216. You've been involved in journalism, you've been involved in politics: key to both of these are decisions: what do we believe is true? What to believe we should do?
  217. We have erected quite large institutions. We have changed them over time. We constantly reevaluate them. These institutions we set up, which are really important to discover -
  218. how do we - what processes do we use, given this mass, this tide of junk information on the internet, how do we pick out of the bloggers who say what is true?
  219. Given this tide of ideas awaiting (?) of which we could change things how do we decide which are the ones that we should do?
  220. And is the answer that actually, on the Web, you just have a great big vote for everybody, is it that you just listen to all the people that you follow on Twitter?
  221. No. Actually it's not. Even in Wikipedia, which had this wonderfully utopian and very successful model that anybody can write to any Web page, actually, when there is a politically contentious Web page,
  222. they had to have, firstly, a meritocratic set of people who would be allowed to lock Web pages, then they had to have people - web pages that were locked, then they had to have a system of - a process that you could go into, to how to go, how to start a discussion page about it.
  223. So Wikipedia created a sort of democracy, a sort of government by the people, a sort of meritocracy. And so one of the exciting things is that all over the Web, people are creating new forms of meritocracy, new forms of democracy.
  224. And they are experimenting with the ways to answer that very difficult question. The answer is, I think, that one way, always, we've got to be trying to do better.
  225. The answer is how we commonly decide what is good quality material? And it's not a simple question. And it's one of the key questions of all of our lives.
  226. Ibargüen: One of the - in fact this was the question when you and I first met, we were talking about authenticity on the Web and your concern that the greatest threat to a free and universal Web is the lack of authenticity on the Web.
  227. How do you deal with that? Do you have 10'000 fact checkers? Do you have the Wikipedia structures' Do you write programs that will help people determine whether they believe the sources? How do you propose to ensure authenticity on the Web?
  228. Berners-Lee: Well, there are lots of ideas I could propose, but here we are in a university, and the university is the place where you research on that sort of things.
  229. So the answer is, you know, you get lots and lots of students thinking about cool new ideas.
  230. I can suggest some things, so for example, technology gives us public key technology for signing things with a public key system.
  231. That means that I can publish my public key, I can sign the things which I have published: wherever you read them, wherever you find them, then you can use simple verification technology to find out whether it's really something that I digitally signed.
  232. That is wonderful technology. We've never managed to deploy it socially, because we've never managed to make a system which deploys the keys.
  233. There have been various attempts to do that: Pretty Good Privacy, PGP, is one of them, and the Mind (?) system is another one. This technology allows also you to encrypt our information which we think should be only seen by a certain set of people.
  234. We've never actually got that working. There are lots of reasons or not being able to get it working and all that.
  235. It's not just having the technology, it's also a question of designing the sociology, figuring out how people will actually be motivated to keep a set of keys. But so, technology provides tools, like public key encryption.
  236. It allows us to do things like track the provenance of data, but the true challenge is for providing various (?) interfaces for it.
  237. And so really, if you've got students in that area, go for it. It's a wide open ..... (?) question. But how we do this with technologies, wide open?
  238. I know that the Knight Foundation funds all sorts of interesting projects, which have a go at solving that problem.
  239. And maybe the Web Foundation will actually find that at some point, that becomes one of the things that the foundation wants to -
  240. Ibargüen: So the three of us areactually here, because you mentioned the Web Foundation that you've founded, and that Gordon and I are privileged to serve on the board of.
  241. Let's talk a little bit about the work of the Web Foundation and move south a bit from North Africa into the area focus where the Web Foundation is.
  242. Why did you start this? And did you initially have Africa in mind, when you first had the idea of a Web Foundation?
  243. Berners-Lee: Not at all, not specifically, no. The Web Foundation was started partially by - well, when we looked at what we were trying to do, we realized that the people we worked with were trying to make sure that the Web serves humanity, en général.
  244. And then when you look at humanity,actually only 20% of it uses the Web at all. So, the first question was, what about the other 80%?
  245. Now the other 80% is not all in Africa. Yes, we have gone to some communities in Africa, there are some projects also in South America.
  246. But if you look at people who are not using the Web, they are not necessarily the rural poor, they are not necessarily the rural disconnected, because an awful lot of people have signal.
  247. They may be the urban poor, they may be the urban illiterate. So, in fact, you have to look at every country differently, and of course, the conditions are different in each country, and you have to look at regions within the countries as being very different.
  248. So, obviously, it's a very complex thing, but yes, obviously, looking at sub-Saharan Africa is particularly interesting, because - Gordon, you have a long experience and an interest in the situation in Africa.
  249. Brown: Yes. I think the fascinating thing about Africa is what has happened in the last two years, where the penetration of mobile telephones has just risen dramatically.
  250. And so, I think I'm right in saying 500'000'000 mobile telephones. And therefore, you're talking about a complete change, even in some of the poorest parts of the world.
  251. Sometimes people get access to that mobile telephone, simply by having a SIM card and they use a point at which they make their call. They don't actually have the physical phone itself, just the SIM card, but the access has grown and grown and grown.
  252. The question then is, why is it the case that only a very very small number of people in Africa have broadband and have access to the internet?
  253. Broadband is maybe about 2%, access to the internet about 10%, less than 10%.
  254. And so, you've got a population that could benefit from a technological leap forward, in fact, bypass fixed line telephones and everything else, and why can't we move that a bit quicker, particularly so since people now have mobile phones?
  255. So, you've then got to look at what are the benefits that are going to come from this, and there are huge educational benefits,
  256. if you can transmit, as some people are already doing, educational information where previously you would have text books, and previously you would have teachers with specific experitise in particular subjects.
  257. That doesn't happen in many primary and secondary schools in Africa. So, the transmission of information.
  258. Then health information: there is a big HIV- AIDS project in South Africa where people are kept in touch, not by regularly visiting the doctor, which has become impossible and expensive, but by texting information to them.
  259. Tim has been promoting, with the World Wide Web Foundation, an agriculture project, to get market information to people, information about the price of crops, so that people can actually sell at the best price;
  260. get information about the wheather, so they can actually know about the problems they are going to do in harvesting the crops, and everything else.
  261. So, uses for the Web, but particularly looking at a) how we can get services through the mobile phone, and then b), how we can get proper connection to the Web by other means in Africa, would make a huge difference, because you could actually leap-frog some of the institutions and some of the technologies that we used during the Industrial Revolution years in Europe.
  262. So there is an enormous opportunity for the poorest continent in the world to move quite quickly to being the more prosperous continent if it can harness this new technology to its benefit.
  263. And there are very exciting projects going on, that make it look as if we had the commitment to doing this, we could make a huge difference to cutting poverty and extending opportunity in those areas where it is least available to people at the moment.
  264. Ibargüen: So if I understand you correctly, then, rather than focus on having everyone have broadband, what we ought to focus on is to significantly increase the percentage of people who have access to the internet, even at the most basic level?
  265. Brown: Well, I think we have to look at all the different means by which this can be done quickly.
  266. But clearly, the broadband is happening, and Tim was describing earlier this afternoon, the cabling that has been taking place and the price can come down quite quickly as a result of broadband.
  267. But if I give you this example that has been given to me: if you are in India at the moment, you could access the broadband for anything between $6 and $40 a month.
  268. But if you are in Africa, because it's purely a business proposition in most countries, in most countries, access to broadband could be anything, $200, $300 a month: a huge difference in price that puts it out of the reach of millions of people.
  269. And while in India, broadband is becoming accessible to millions of people, in Africa it's still very much a business service, and not a service for the whole population.
  270. Can we move quickly on broadband through cabling and everything else, or can we make progress through the internet coming through the mobile phone, as is happening in many countries?
  271. I think that we've got to look constantly at what will give us the best results. But in the end, it will be a variety, I suspect, of these technologies, that will be available.
  272. But the question is, can we move those countries forward more quickly by using the best available technologies, to get access to something that could make an even bigger difference to their lives than the internet has made to our lives?
  273. Ibargüen: And Tim, do you know, what is the difference in cost in setting up a regional broadband, versus a simpler text Web access kind of system? Is it that much harder to do?
  274. Berners-Lee: Well, yes.
  275. Ibargüen: and therefore, more expensive?
  276. Berners-Lee: it depends on exactly what kind of broadband you are talking about, and where you're doing it, and which - and so on.
  277. But let me, I suppose, there's something here - But when we went to Uganda it was noticeable that we were looking at people who didn't have any internet connectivity. But meanwhile my colleagues were tweeting about it.
  278. Ibargüen: From the place?
  279. Berners-Lee: So, there was signal. So in fact, 80% of the population have signal. So if you were there, if you went to visit them, you'd be able to tweet. So you'd be able to phone home, but they don't make-
  280. So what - if 80% have signal and 20% use the web, so what's the difference? If you like, the Web Foundation is looking at the difference. And the difference, in fact, can be quite complicated.
  281. So, and it's not all access. Access to the internet is one thing. But of course, it's also using the Web means that you're going to be actually using Web pages, and hopefully even writing Web pages. So what's the difference?
  282. There is in fact all kinds of different factors, which can come in, apart from just the connectivity. It can be that you've got signal, but you don't have a phone.
  283. Well actually, as Gordon was saying,
  284. the number of people with phones is actually a minority of people now who don't have phones. That means that if you don't have a phone, chances are that you've got someone in the family, or certainly someone in the village, who's got a phone.
  285. So if you have a phone, maybe it is that you have a phone, but it doesn't have a Web browser. Well, there are lots of phones out there.
  286. The standard $10 Nokia brick (?) phone, which sort of has swept Africa doesn't have - didn't have a Web browser. But a vast majority of new phones which are sold worldwide do have Web browsers.
  287. So, maybe then, you have a phone, and it's got a Web browser, but when you go onto the Web, you can't find anything in your native tongue. And actually, there are some countries where a lot of people speak English.
  288. So for instance in Ghana, lots of people speak English, in India, lots of people speak English. But in of (?) the intellectuals, not of the people, of the rural people. So in fact, most people just speak one language. So: a huge effort to make the Web a multilingual thing is called for.
  289. So, maybe that you have a phone, and it's got a Web browser, and there's something there in your own language. But you know what? You're illiterate. So, you can't actually see that there is something there in your own language.
  290. And maybe it is that you're not illiterate because you are in a remote African village and you haven't learned to read, because you are in a developed country, in a city, and you ought to be able to read, but actually you can't.
  291. So there is the urban illiterate as well. So within that question between who's got signal and who's using the Web, lots of different questions (? blurred)
  292. Ibargüen: The last issue you raised could be solved by voice-to-text system, couldn't it?
  293. Berners-Lee: Absolutely.
  294. Ibargüen: which is what you are looking at.
  295. Berners-Lee: Yes, one of the Web Foundation projects are to look at, and lots of ongoing questions: how can you get people so that when they put the data as the Web not just put the data as a Web site, a Web site, mind you, which will work on a pretty small phone, but also to put up in a standard language a dialog which a phone system could use to take people to the same information.
  296. If you've got information about how to diagnose and cure a disease for your banana plants, then can you put it up there as a dialog, so that other people can then - set up for the phone providers - can set up portals, which will allow people to call in and go through that dialog.
  297. Ibargüen: So, I wonder what you think about changing values as a result of changing, not just availability of information, but availability to use information.
  298. What are the values that have been changed?
  299. And I've heard you on other occasions talk with great feeling about a farmer who is able now to find out, because he has a cell phone, to find out that a buyer or estimator for whatever the product is, is in one town and not in another, and what he is willing to offer.
  300. And clearly, these folks are being empowered in a way that makes me wonder, when do we change our values to the point where we say that access to the Web is a universal human right? Are we there? Is access to the Web a universal human right?
  301. Brown: I think it's got to be, in the end. I think that - funnily enough, this afternoon, I had pleasure of meeting Kofi Annan, and talking about his agriculture project in Africa, where he is trying to engender a green revolution across Africa,
  302. where you've got some of the most uncultivated land in the world, but it's got the potential to be cultivated; where at the same time, you've got very low productivity, but it can be changed.
  303. And he was explaining to me how he'd been with a group of farmers in Ghana, and they had just cut out the middle man.
  304. They had done it successfully by using the mobile phone to get all the prices at different markets, and then making the deal with the market that was offering the biggest prices.
  305. So the middle man was cut out altogether. And therefore, their agricultural work was becoming profitable in a way it hadn't really been profitable before.
  306. Because they were basically losing out to middle men who could dictate a price and they didn't know what the prices at the market actually really were.
  307. So that is a huge economic advance that is taking place.
  308. And he is encouraging through his project - Tim, with the project that the World Wide Web foundation is doing, is also making it possible for this agricultural information to be transfered across people. So you're seeing big changes taking place.
  309. Your more general question is, should not everybody have access to the Web? And the answer must be: yes.
  310. Ibargüen: I think, in my own country, in the United States, if you have to apply, as you do, to Wallmart or MacDonald's for an entry-level position, the only way they'll take your application is on the Web.
  311. Well: that denial of access to the Web is denial of economic opportunity, quite simply.
  312. Brown: In my home country, in Scotland, there are 100'000 people of a county of 350'000 people who are not on the Web at the moment. So how do you deal with that?
  313. Martha Lane Fox, who is credited with some big commercial innovations in Britain is leading a project, Race to 2012, to get everybody on by 2012.
  314. And the groups of people that are excluded in the industrialized countries are elderly people, who have got to be persuaded of the advantages of taking up this opportunity;
  315. lots of single parents, I'm afraid, who are isolated in many other ways, who are not accessing the contacts, actually, that could be made through the Web, as well as the information that they can get from the Web, and then large numbers of unemployed people.
  316. So if you can get through to these three groups in particular, and there is an additional issue about disabled people, where I think we've got to think through the different things that we can do to be of help to them - then you could have almost 100% access in a very short period of time.
  317. And then, of course, the same lessons that we learn in the industrialized countries, are going to be applied more widely.
  318. Berners-Lee: I find it interesting to listen to you and Martha Lane talking about that issue.
  319. And what was interesting there, is to compare the situation we have in Africa where we have a small number of people using the Web, and where we've seen situations where you've got one person in a village who's got access to the Web, how can they be the information agent, and allow everybody else to get access.
  320. So that's what happens when you are at the beginning, and it's critical: first few people would get onto the Web and then become examples for other people.
  321. Now, till now - but when you look at Britain where there is actually a whole lot of internet penetration, and most of the people who apply for their driving licenses, to pay their car tax, they paid it online in 2 or 3 minutes during a TV commercial break. So now -
  322. Brown: Tim, we were on Xmas day, remember. Remember we had this project called car licensing
  323. Berners-Lee: That really happened on Xmas day?
  324. Brown: Well, that did reallly happen on Xmas day, because people who were bored onXmas day and they went to buy their licenses, and that was a peak point in which people used the internet.
  325. Berners-Lee. Well, as Martha pointed out, which I thought was very interesting: when you make all these things accessible to people who are online, you're liable to be in a situation, as with the McDonald's job, that you exclude everybody else.
  326. So the other really interesting 2 people are the last 2 people in the community to get online. And so, when suddenly you actually could say that everybody is online, then you save huge amounts of money, because you remove all the offline things.
  327. So, suddenly, you have only e-government, and the only way you can do that, to be fair, something which I think is really important, whether you're in Scotland or you are in Africa, is that -
  328. in fact, because you know, there is always going to be a small percentage of people who actually don't want to, or actually they are so remote or they just really don't like the idea of it:
  329. they are too old and they are not going to - they've gone through 2 world wars without the internet, and thank you, they don't need it any more - so I think it's really important to respect those people.
  330. So I think it's really important we don't foist the internet on them, we don't make it so that you actually can't exist as a member of society and vote and drive a car and sell it (?) without the internet.
  331. So, therefore, we have to have places you could go, where maybe we could use the buildings where we used to go to get your driving license, now you don't have to go there to get your driving license,
  332. Brown: Or libraries.
  333. Berners-Lee: So, you go somewhere - the place where you used to go to get your driving license or where you used to go to get a job, or a library, and there you find somebody who can help you use - do all those things that you can only do online.
  334. And they are going to sit down - instead of sitting down in a static government way, where you have a screen, you are on that side, you are going to talk to me, and I can see what's on the screen and you can't, and I'm totally superior to you -
  335. I'd like to design a way where you would actually have a screen here, and we sit on both sides of it, and so I can help - you could see what I'm doing, and I can do with you all the things that you do online.
  336. And if that means that you end up realizing that actually, computers don't bite, and actually, the internet is quite useful, and you end up learning how to do it, and you end up buying a computer, and doing it online, then that might be a pretty valuable -
  337. you always have the right to go to somewhere and get the support, if you're not - we shouldn't force people to be computer-literate.
  338. Brown: And that's very much part of the project in Britain, that helping people get access if they don't have the connection themselves. And training people to use the equipment.
  339. I may say that - talking about elderly people, I managed to persuade my mother, who is in her 80's, to go onto the internet. But I could never persuade her to use a mobile phone.
  340. Berners-Lee: Really? (laughter) Well, they're tricky things.
  341. Ibargüen: I remember getting a call one time from a reporter in Cuba, who I asked if he had seen - when I used to publish a newspaper - if he had seen the report that we had published.
  342. And he said: "No, I don't have access to internet", and he said "Remember, I live in a country where I was just explaining to my mother what a fax machine was: 'It's a telephone that prints paper'." (laughter) So this is a very difficult concept.
  343. Let's talk - this is a university and this is all about the future, and I just want to make sure that I'm not missing something. I thought we were going to get some questions.
  344. (Vassalli explains something off-mike) Ibargüen: OK, alright, then, good, then we'll have an opportunity for questions from the audience.
  345. But what do you do to ensure that we are on the path towards this effective delivery, effective guarantee of this new human right, this access to the Web?
  346. What are the things that you think about as, from the perspective of government, and you, Tim, from the academy? What's necessary, what are these terms (?) that folks in universities should be thinking about?
  347. Berners-Lee: It's an ethical change, I suppose: a change of the ethos.
  348. Just as the right to open government data is a change in people's expectations, which - it's mainly, nowadays, the way change happens, is through a change of ethos on the web, that.
  349. Now in Finland, it has turned into actual, I understand there's actual e-government (?) has been adopted as human right. I understand Estonia as well, rumor has it, has it. Can somebody confirm? Estonia has adopted it as human right.
  350. So, one thing to know is that country by country could do it.
  351. You guys are all in Geneva, you have the UN right there, you might be right - you may be in the UN, so you could use the UN system. Folks in Europe could use the European system.
  352. Then where there are those institutions, then those institutions should pursue it.
  353. I - it's interesting to go to meetings at the Pole (?) foundation: you were there, where their concern was that there are lots of NGos who have been fighting for people's rights.
  354. They have been fighting for the rights of the poor. They've been fighting for the rights of black people. They've been fighting for the rights of women. And they are fighting for the rights of gay, lesbians and trans-gender people.
  355. And they are all set up to pursue those, and they don't realize that actually now, the right to connectivity is something that is the timely thing to be fighting for, and they need to be turning their attention to it, these people and these organizations.
  356. And in a way, if you fight for the rights of women and you get them in principle, on paper, but actually don't get women on using the internet (?), you lose. So, in fact, well (?), the fight for human rights really has to move to this place.
  357. That is - because it's such an enabling technology, that, any place where it is granted in unfair fashion, any place where it is granted with discrimination, so that,
  358. yes you can do that, but others - your ISP or your government - will discriminate as to whether you could easily get to this site or to that site, then everybody who supports that should cry foul and the press should watch out and cry out.
  359. So it's partly a question yes, moving towards making it a policy, maybe moving it towards developing international language to adopt for it to be specified as human right, as we have as we have a human right of the child, for example.
  360. But also, ............ (?) just looking out for when it's abused,
  361. looking out, for example, so that when people say, we'll push back (?) well, it's not a problem, you say no, actually I can show you specifically it was a problem which damaged one person, here. And that's the sort of things we need to go out against.
  362. Brown: Well, I think it is fascinating, if you now look at the world:
  363. in the 1990's we had the terrible tragedy of Uganda and information didn't come out quickly enough, which was one of the problems about why the United Nations and others did not intervene in the way that was necessary to prevent that genocide.
  364. But now, you can repress people as a government, you can try to do that. But you will not be able to do that for long without the information coming out.
  365. You can try to terrorize your citizens, but now there is access for these citizens to get messages out to people. And it puts enormous pressure now on regimes.
  366. And it means that things that were never exposed in the past and were never known to people until too late will now become known in such a way that people can respond.
  367. And I think that the other part of this is that you are building an international community where people who share similar values;
  368. and people who, in a way, have what you might call a golden rule, that they feel responsibility towards others, neighbors, people can start to see strangers as neighbors.
  369. If they can connect with each other and communicate with each other, they can also organize to change things. So I don't think the world can ever be the same again.
  370. I mean foreign policy used to be elites talking to elites, without ever the public knowing and then being told that there is some special reason or some special explanation about why we didn't take action at a very good point in time.
  371. But now, I think, because of the means of communication now available, and the interaction that is available, then foreign policy cannot be the same again.
  372. And, you know, when you talk about someone said that someone was appointed as the foreign secretary, or the foreign minister ...... (?) secret diplomacy would come to an end because the person was so prone to talking out of turn.
  373. But actually, it's not easy to talk about secret diplomacy now, because in the end, people will start to know what is going on, and they will start to pressure on you.
  374. And I think that one of the reasons why Côte d'Ivoire has come to a crisis point now, and it should have been earlier, is that people have information out about Côte d'Ivoire, and people know what's now going on, and people are trying to stop it.
  375. And of course, one of the reasons why that actually took place in Lybia, was that people had started to find out things that probably, in another age, it would have been very difficult to know about.
  376. And these things are changing the world. So the world, 20-30 years from now, is going to be very different from the world 20-30 years ago, and people, directly, will be involved in holding vested interest accountable.
  377. Now Tim's got a very good point about the truth, what is the truth and how do you know what is the truth on the masses of information that is displayed around the world.
  378. But one thing you do know, however, is that you can hold vested interests, or hold people in power, far more accountable than ever before, and you can ask the questions and expect to get the answers.
  379. And I think this is a very, very important change that has taken taken place in the international community.
  380. Ibargüen: And the changed value is the expectation is and ought to be available - it looks like pretty much universally - and it's so in earthquakes in China, and it's so in crises in Japan. I'm inclined -
  381. Berners-Lee: Talking about something else, by the way, in case there are some technical people there:
  382. Anybody here is a computer programmer or geek? Do we have any geeks here? I'm a geek and I'm proud of it.
  383. Ibargüen: Are these mutually exclusive, either a computer programmer or a geek?
  384. Berners-Lee: The rest of you just give us a little while, for a moment.
  385. So most of these problems of course is seeing ISPs as being social (?) We started out ...... (?) making mistakes, thinking that actually, all these designs are technical designs.
  386. And yes a lot of these designs are done by geeks. But bearing in mind, social design is also technical design.
  387. But actually, when it comes to looking at - making the world more robust, then there is an interesting avenue of research about how can we make the Web less - what happens when somebody turns off a country?
  388. OK. One answer is, if somebody turns the internet off, establish a no-fly zone immediately anyway. That's a military answer: ........ (?) action.
  389. But the story of the ISP who was reported - this was reported by - in the New York Times.
  390. Ibargüen: So it must be true?
  391. Berners-Lee: So it must be true. (laughter) How come? I trust them on everything except when they report on anything I know about.
  392. And so, I. Markoff (?) went to Egypt and he talked to these people, independant ISP who'd been trying to deliver service. And he realized that Egypt as country was cut off, But it had connectivity, it had an internet inside.
  393. So he said "OK, look, we can set up a distributed system, we can set up our own web service, we can use our own mail,
  394. and we can use that good old Internet Relay Chat system, which is a pre-web system of exchanging chat messages, which is like a sort of decentralized version of Twitter.
  395. So we can do that, if we can't get to Twitter, we can set up Internet Relay Chat, which will be our decentralized version of that.
  396. And then, he resolved to do it, but that involved installing some software, and the only places he knew to download the software from were in America.
  397. So, he could have done it. Egypt could have been more resilient, but he didn't have a stockpile of the basic software you need to set up when you are under attack.
  398. Interesting questions are, how could we redesign the HTTP protocol to be more resilient.
  399. Can we make HTTP so that it runs like a - as it does at the moment, it is just for a request from one person to a Web server for some data until the system is under attack.
  400. When the system is under attack, could every web browser turn into a peer to peer system automatically, so that every web browser would automatically switch into a mode where it is routed around the censorship?
  401. So OK, that's the challenge for the geeks:
  402. Is there a technical way that we can design the internet to improve protocols like http so that, in fact, the system will be resilient.
  403. Because we think of it as being a resilient system and actually I think - we think of it as being a network where you cut one piece and everything else keeps running.
  404. But if you really try going out there and cutting a cable, well somebody is going to lose connectivity. It's not going to keep running.
  405. Most of the cables are mostly .........(?)
  406. So what we should design - this is the challenge to the technical community: designing a more robust technology.
  407. Ibargüen: So there is the challenge to the technical community: everyone who raised their hand before, go home and start working on this. (laughter) For the rest -
  408. Berners-Lee: You may leave early.
  409. Ibargüen: In fact - yes, you may leave early - we have an opportunity for some questions.
  410. Vassalli: Effectivement, disons, personne - tellement habitués à utiliser les claviers ou les écrans tactiles - personne n'a rempli les petites cartes. Donc n'hésitez pas à poser les questions oralement et le panel va y répondre.
  411. Ibargüen: There is a question over there, and it looks as if he has even written it down.
  412. Q1: Can I have your opinions on Wikileaks? Is it a good thing, bad thing, or what?
  413. Ibargüen: I'm glad you asked that, because I was going to ask my friend Gordon Brown (laughter), when he was waxing poetic about transparency. What advice would he give to the current foreign minister?
  414. Gordon Brown: Well, when it attacked me, it was a bad thing. No, the issue in Wikileaks is, I think, that a maximum of information should be available to the public.
  415. When I said that secret diplomacy is really an old-fashioned idea, and people expect to be involved in the decisions, and expect to know the bases of these decisions, then I think, what Wikileaks achieved in getting information to the public was a good thing.
  416. I think the only point I would make is that where some people were put at risk as a result of disclosure about what they were doing as individuals, I think that was difficult to justify.
  417. So, where people were in situations where they were potentially at risk in other countries, and were nailed, I think that, actually, was something that could have been avoided.
  418. And I think therefore the issue was in how this was disclosed. I think it will make any government more careful about what it does in the future.
  419. So I don't really think I learned - I don't think the public learned as much as they expected to learn about what went on in foreign policy.
  420. And I think, generally, we learned that the things we suspected were happening were actually hapening, rather than we were told something completely new and different.
  421. But I do have this one caveat: the way you name people and put them at risk is something that you've got to use judgment and wisdom, and I think, in some cases, that wasn't there.
  422. Ibargüen: And you think, other than being more careful about what cables you send back to London, the Foreign Service will act in any different way?
  423. Brown: Well, I think the issue - it's very interesting, because the ambassador in the old days, and these were ambassadorial telegrams in the main,
  424. was the person who would communicate the information from the government that he represented to the government of the country he was in.
  425. But now, most of the diplomacy, as you might call it, is done by direct communication. So if you wanted to talk to President Obama, and you were Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, you would talk directly to him.
  426. And you would not necessarily spend a huge amount of time giving information to one person to pass to another, to pass to another, to pass to another,
  427. by which time the issue had probably become out of date, and the information had become mangled in its translation. So I think far more now is about direct communication.
  428. So, some of the information in Wikileaks therefore does not surprise you, because basically much of the communications now is direct person to person in a way that it never was in the past.
  429. And that's why I think the world is quite different from, maybe, the world that is presented by thinking the ambassadors were making all these decisions. With apologies to any ambassador who is here this evening. (laughter)
  430. Ibargüen: Do you - let's go for another question. I don't know where the microphones are. There is the microphone
  431. Q2: The Web and technologies bring a lot of good things that you mentioned before. So their propagation would be a good thing.
  432. But what about the exploiting of this good thing, such as children watching pornography, or the propagation of dangerous ideas? How should we deal with this? Should it be censorship? Can we control this, or? Thank you.
  433. Brown: If I could add to that - I think that's a really interesting question - if I could that to that also, if it is an open system, it's also open to governments who want to control and infiltrate. How should we think about that?
  434. Berners-Lee: Well, OK, that was 2 questions already, now you've added a 3rd one.
  435. Ibargüen: Can you hold 3 thoughts?
  436. Berners-Lee: I will ..... (?) (laughter)
  437. I think that there are a couple of questions behind, here.
  438. First of all, there is the simple question of people doing things that are acknowledged as being illegal on the Web.
  439. So, for example, child pornography is illegal in most places I know. If you do child pornography on the Web or off the Web, you are equally breaking the law, and you typically go to prison.
  440. So there is lots of things that are illegal on and off the Web. Like fraud, for example, and our society relies on us keeping those illegal.
  441. What's trickier is when you say: "What about people accessing bad information?" . Because suddenly, by using the "bad" word, you hit the value judgment about what is good information and what is bad information.
  442. And you've suddenly got - this is the judgment about whether somebody is an activist or terrorist. So are they in danger of threatening our noble government, or are they actually doing the wonderful thing of undermining an oppressive regime?
  443. Who's to define, how do you measure what is an oppressive régime?
  444. For example, the United States of America ....... (?) evaluating and determining whether it's an oppressive regime, recently.
  445. This gets back to the whole question about how do you decide what's right, how do we do reporting? It gets back to the systems that we build for deciding what's right and wrong.
  446. So I think my answer would be, if - to catch your 3rd question - if you are going to give the government the power to do really strong things on the Web, for example, to cut somebody off completely or to spy on somebody completely, or if you are going to decide that what they're doing is "bad",
  447. then you must, whenever you have an agency which is asked to decide what is bad, you must always have another agency of some sort which is checking on them, looking at their record, completely independent.
  448. So building these systems.
  449. So yes, you do want to give actually the power to the police to deal with serious organized crime, very sweeping powers to operate over the internet, because that's the only way to catch the drug cartels, for example.
  450. So you have to give them very strong powers. And if you give them very strong powers, you must give somebody else, who is looking at them, and checking what they do and to every person who is checking - people checking the checkers.
  451. Ibargüen: Gordon just pointed out that we are running out of time. I wonder if we could take a couple of questions. We really want to give more people an opportunity to at least ask a question.
  452. Take a couple of questions, and then the panel will address them. There are a number over here, in front.
  453. Berners-Lee: Yes, somebody has got a microphone.
  454. Ibargüen: And you have a mike right there, why don't you go ahead?
  455. Q3: Est-ce que je peux poser ma question en français?
  456. Panel: oui - D'accord.
  457. Q3: Je crois qu'il faut distinguer très clairement les aspects techniques des aspects psychologiques et sociologiques.
  458. On sait que dans le domaine des relations humaines, dans le domaine de la sociologie que, plus il y a d'échanges, plus les gens s'enrichissent et inventent des manières de se comprendre et de faire société.
  459. Donc, c'est simplement pour ajouter cette information: en Inde, il y a un chercheur en sciences de l'éducation qui a posé une borne internet dans un village très reculé où on ne parle pas l'anglais, et simplement un dialecte hindou.
  460. Les enfants qui se sont amusés avec cette borne internet, au bout de 6 mois, parlaient anglais et ont appris beaucoup de choses.
  461. Donc, simplement une information, pour dire qu'il n'est pas nécessaire d'attendre que les gens parlent anglais, ou qu'ils soient riches, ou je ne sais quoi.
  462. On peut mettre à disposition des accès, et d'eux-mêmes, ils sauront apprendre.
  463. Berners-Lee: I think that's a great story that's - if you you just put an internet terminal in a village, kids with no instruction will would come up to it - was it a touch terminal? - would come up to it and figure it out.
  464. So 1, it's a testament to the great power of kids' brains to just figure things out.
  465. So, the good news, I think, behind that, is that the Web Foundation should not worry so much about teaching people basically to use the internet or to use a Web browser.
  466. So yes, to create the set-up teaching them - however, how many of those children became bloggers?
  467. So what I have found is that people in Africa, even though they are very adept at using the internet, they didn't realize that they can write Wikipedia, that they could write Wikipedia.
  468. Non only could they write an English article about their town, which is completely unrepresented on Wikipedia, they could write an article in their own language about the town.
  469. So that, I think - some things you don't have to teach, some things maybe you do. But yes, it's great that kids can pick this stuff up.
  470. But they taught themselves English. Do we want the path to participation in the information society to involve necessarily learning English?
  471. You guys have largely done it, maybe here is the exception, standing up: Hang in, now (laughter). Hang in there with your French.
  472. Ibargüen: What is the option?
  473. Berners-Lee: But, you know, maybe, there will be just 5 UN languages out there on the Net. One argument is: yes, that is great, because actually, to get global peace, we have to have a few global language.
  474. We can do it with 5 languages, we can't do it with 350 languages or 2000 languages. So, that's one argument.
  475. But the other argument is that actually, it's really important to preserve the culture, so when these kids go back, they actually also have the oral tradition of song, of dance
  476. So that I think, I would put forth both arguments.
  477. So I think, maybe the thing to do is for people to learn 2 languages.
  478. I think it's really important to preserve everything they have in Schwytzertütsch, for example, and all the interesting Swiss culture, which happens in small mountains, on the crest of the mountains, or valleys in the Alps.
  479. OK, even though all those people who are cutting the grass with their scythes and dancing in leather hoses actually do also participate on the internet and tap large (?) -
  480. Ibargüen: There will be photographs of Tim cutting grass... (laughter)
  481. Berners-Lee: But I think it's a great story, and maybe we can use that to point the way to just giving access to people and assume they can run it.
  482. Ibargüen: A last question, or maybe next-to-last question from there? Yes.
  483. Q4 Hello. My question is for Tim Berners-Lee. Today, most of them are using Twitter, or Facebook, or reading blogs through apps.
  484. So what did you feel when you read the article from Chris Anderson in Wired, who said: "The Web is dead".
  485. Berners-Lee: Well, when I heard that the Web was dead, the first thing I thought was, well, at least I won't have to go and give that talk at the University of Geneva (laughter). I thought, so much simpler.
  486. So actually, from the point of view - we talked a lot about good journalism and bad journalism. There is some good journalism and some bad journalism there.
  487. The first draft that Chris Anderson showed was terrible journalism, because he showed how, as a percentage, html - traditional web page traffic is now a very small amount of the internet traffic.
  488. Because actually, what has taken over is video, and that's because the Web now is not just traditional web pages with hypertext and text, but also a lot of the Web is video.
  489. And video takes so much more bandwidth, that of course, as to the used pages (?) on the web, you expect, and everybody knew, that the internet would be dominated, when you look at the number of bytes, by video.
  490. But that was because he was looking at the number of bytes.
  491. Somebody else in BoingBoing, took the same data and demonstrated that actually, the amount of Web traffic had not gone down, It's still going up.
  492. OK. So, I've had to come and give this talk at the University of Geneva, and after all, the Web is not really dead.
  493. But there was actually a good point that many people wouldn't have got to, because they would have been appalled by the graph.
  494. But further down, he had a really good point, where he said
  495. "No(w?), a lot of magazines, including for example Wired, have a version which runs on a phone app, and the phone app is off the web."
  496. When you put something on a phone app, if you read something on it, you can't bookmark it, you can't send me the URL, I can't tweet about it. It's not part of the discourse.
  497. It can't go - it can't be - it's not part of this web of links. And so it's not part of life on the web, in a way, it's a loss.
  498. So, just my message is, if somebody asks you to make a phone app first make him a web app.
  499. Because point out that it'll work on every phone, it'll work on phones past and future, it's interoperable and if they want a phone app, then do one after you’ve done the Web app.
  500. But do the Web app first, because that’s what posterity will see, that’s what will be indexed by the search engines, and that’s what will be tweeted about and facebooked about, and IRC’d about.
  501. Ibargüen: And one very last...
  502. Brown: If you hadn't ....... (?) Tim, I would have come any way. (laughter)
  503. Ibargüen: And one last question. Where is the microphone? Yes.
  504. Q5: Thank you very much: In case you don't understand my English, I will speak at the end in French.
  505. You said at the beginning, "new tools, new users and new uses", and it would improve personal autonomy. OK.
  506. Now the question is, how to organize now days of life (?) of people unable to use their sight to get access to the Web?
  507. Don't you think it lead to a real world of closure?
  508. Maintenant, ce sont des personnes handicapées. Et vous savez très bien qu'il y a de plus en plus de personnes qui ont des ennuis de vue en raison, justement, de cet outil qui a tout envahi.
  509. Et il y a énormément de personnes qui n'ont accès à quoi que ce soit parce que tout est branché sur le Web.
  510. Voilà. Alors quelle sorte d'autonomie - peut-on parler de ça?
  511. Est-ce qu'on ne pourrait pas envisager quelque chose dans les merveilleuses idées que vous avez à travers le Web, parce que c'est un instrument merveilleux. Merci.
  512. Berners-Lee: En fait, when you look on the Web - if you compare the Web with a book, the Web provides a lot more facility for accommodating people who have disabilities.
  513. We've had, in the World Wide Web Consortium, for many, many years, and very soon after the Web Consortium started, we've had the Web Accessibility Initiative.
  514. And I have to say that's exactly the concern that you describe, is the core of the Web Accessibility initiative.
  515. There has been a lot of work to try to make it - introduce technologies to make it as easy as possible for people with different disabilities to use the Web.
  516. All kinds of things. So yes, I agree with you, this is really, really important.
  517. I would say to anybody who is building a web site "go to the Web Accessibility Initiative, www.w3.org , and find the guidelines about how to make your web site as accessible as possible.
  518. And now, with this new Web foundation, the web for all is obviously - yes we haven't talked about accessibility directly, but in fact, when we have talked about illiteracy - which is closely related, we have talked about disability, and there are also all kinds of related things, such as cognitive disabilities.
  519. It's a very complicated field, but it's something where I think the hope is that the Web should be able to do better than previous technologies.
  520. So do get involved with the Web Accessibility Initiative: it's a very important part of the Consortium. There are lots of specifications about how to make a web site.
  521. And if you are building a web site, then, it may be a legal requirement for you to, but go to the Web Consortium and find out the guidelines
  522. about how to do some quite simple things, to make it a whole lot easier for people with - who are differently able, to get at your information in different ways.
  523. Ibargüen: Gordon: ..............(?)
  524. Brown: I think, to be fair to Tim, this is on the agenda of the World WIde Web Foundation's meeting tomorrow, about how we deal with the challenges that are faced by people with disabilities or incapacities that have got to be dealt with.
  525. And I think, obviously, and that is one of the reasons why I was keen to join this board, obviously this is something that deserves far more consideration all the time.
  526. You've got to make a facility accessible to all, wherever possible.
  527. And therefore, we've got to take seriously - use of voice, of course, is one thing for people who are partially sighted or blind, but other ways: we've got to look at how to make these things better.
  528. I do want to say this as we end, but I've had the privilege of working with Tim Berners-Lee over these last few months on a British Government project and also on these other projects,
  529. and I think we will look back, and people will report in history, that this institution of the Web, that could have been the source, for Tim and other people, of private gain and money-making activities,
  530. became a public good as a result of his decision, and as a result of that of people who worked around that decision.
  531. And just as the human genome has been made a public good by the researchers by being done in that way (?), so too, it was because of Tim that we've got a public good here
  532. And we should cherish it, we should work to improve it, and we should all the time make sure that it is accessible as far as possible to all.
  533. So, I think I want to join you - I've learned a lot tonight from Tim - in thanking Tim and the World Wide Web Foundation for everything that they are doing to make the internet accessible to as many people as possible.
  534. Ibargüen: That's a very good place to end. Thank you, Gordon Brown, thank you, Tim Berners-Lee. (applause)