Friday, December 01, 2006

Web Anniversary Postings at BBC

Readers' panel: Web anniversary

Friday, 4 August 2006, 09:50 GMT 10:50 UK

Sunday 6 August marks the 15th anniversary of the publication of computer files credited as the start of the World Wide Web. The publication, by Tim Berners-Lee, began the spread of computer interaction that has led to the web as we know it.

There are now 882 million people around the world online reading more than 100 million websites, and with each website offering potentially millions of pages of content.

To mark the birthday we've drawn together a panel of web-users from across the world, to give us their thoughts on the birth, the worst, and the future of the web.

Today's question to the panel: How has the internet changed your life?

My life has changed because I can be a scientist, with the highest control over my life, and not portrayed as a 'weirdo' by the media making science a sensationalised product.

I am neither pursuing fame nor wealth, I just like doing things and I can sit for hours in front of my monitor getting them done.

The web has let me change the way man can make scientific practice comply with theory.

It allows me to explore a 'scientific discovery', and bring change never achieved before, like new conceptions in hydrodynamics of fluids moving on porous system; from self-watering flower pots, irrigation, drainage, to heat transfer or fuel cells, propulsion and engines that can burn biomass accepting solid fuel.

My last patent on Heat Transfer explains how life started as a game between Hydrodynamics and Thermodynamics. The web helped me to research it and has shown me the boundaries of knowledge.

I can gather the most precious and fresh information, not only for my scientific projects but also applied to my own existence as a human being, part of a system that is going on for millions of years.

Almost anything available online around the world can be brought to my screen faster than standing up to search the shelves behind me.

Leonardo Da Vinci, Isaac Newton, Antoine Lavoisier, etc. did not have such technological tools for their chores, so think what we can do.

The internet makes me feel like just one more person, mingling with others, and deeply self-conscious of my human existence within nature.

I am not special in the virtual world and my children will overtake me since evolution is forever taking place in nature and the net.

Today's question to the panel: When was the first time you ever used the internet?

Internet can let us solve easily very difficult problems. Lost causes can end up with amazing successes.

The first time I used the internet was in 1993 to bargain rainfall information allowing me to complete a set of databases enough to study the distribution of rainfall in the Amazon.

I had sent five letters to my sponsoring institution in Brazil, asking people there to provide me with data I was requesting for my PhD.

Having some data at hand, using the web I was able to find people with similar data and exchange it with them.

The web helped me develop an appropriate analytical method, to squeeze the best information from such poor data, resulting in an outstanding PhD dissertation with three hypothesis and honors approval.

My cause was near lost because my college was in Animal Production and my Masters in Animal Nutrition. I was pursuing a PhD degree in Soil Science far out of my league.

So, I turned to Hydrology, working deeply on applied spatial analysis and toward insights that led me afterwards to a sort of 'scientific discovery'. Without the web I could and would not have done any of this.

I am good at putting things together and I learned in the very beginning that nature always allows many different solutions to a unique problem, and the internet can only expand such potential.

Afterwards, I was able to open a company in the US and my seven patents are under way, three of which are already issued and delivering important claims to bring changes that will stay forever.

I saw then that a new power of communication had begun with the web.

Today's question to the panel: What do you not like about the internet and the online world?

Likes and dislikes are part of the way that all humans have to learn to see the world. Everything and everyone has a good side and a bad side.

Happiness always develops higher when people learn to enjoy the good side and stand the bad side in the best way possible.

Tolerance and understanding is the best recipe to endure the bad side that always should bother less and less.

All the negative points of the internet are too small and insignificant to bother my mood and let me enjoy the huge advantage I can have on the good side.

A few strokes to delete a spam or removing the ad-ware occasionally is like a common routine of washing my car to keep it clean or dusting off my shoes.

So few people need to hate their tasks of keeping their cars and shoes in good shape.

It's all part of a necessary routine.

Today's question to the panel: What does the future hold for the web and the online world?

The web will make it possible someday to make a global language, shrink bully governments, pacify wild terrorists, shy away racism, improve tolerance, correct biased faiths, save innocent lives, encourage people to shed weight and work out their bodies, eat healthy diets, be friendly and show solidarity, preserve our environment and care for all species.

Humans are intelligent and they can learn and understand.

The web can enable them to do this faster and far beyond the previous common reach, and know what is going on and where to go to from now forward.

The web is a synonym of life - unique human awareness and thinking as a community.

There is not a specific recipe for the internet, but the basic rules always apply that new solutions and edges that have a positive effect stay while the bad side is always minimized or removed.

Nature always allows the good side to prevail and grow until reaching a tenable balance.

Technically there is not virtual or online life since computers do not type but humans spread around the world contacting each other. There is a technological trend going on saying that the web can be 3,000 times faster, and that CPUs can run up to 500 GHz.

If so, in the next 20 to 50 years, we can expect a huge change in the way we can communicate.

We can be a global tribe, bringing enormous benefits:

Our language will become global, more phonetic, with stylistic grammar less important.

National boundaries will become obsolete since we are learning that all governments have problems to handling their powers.

While there is a need for the web to facilitate commerce, it may also provide the alternative economic solutions that reward workers and not owners.

Millions of people have been killed in the name of religion, but nature just asks us to survive and develop friendship and respect for life, and the web will help this happen.

Readers' panel: Future of the net

Tuesday, 31 October 2006, 10:42 GMT BBC

The world's first global Internet Governance Forum is underway in Athens.

The forum, set up by the UN, will bring together over 1,500 delegates, from governments, companies and organisations, over five days to debate issues of openness, diversity, access and security online.

Our panel of readers are drawn from around the world, each with their particular concern for the future of the internet.

What do you think the future of the internet holds for openness, security, diversity and access?

Openness is certainly the most important issue simply because it bears a deep influence to the outcome of all others.

Freedom of expression already contrives a high level of responsibility, motivating all humans to use their ideas and knowledge on behalf of society.

Knowledge is the power of understanding and the internet just expands our reach of information and how to enjoy our precious lives.

Sir Isaac Newton developed differential calculus from a falling apple. Antoine Lavoisier, father of modern chemistry, applied economic ideas to alchemy creating the Equal Mass Law equation.

Using the internet, I have made my own advances in thermodynamics and hydrodynamics. What can it do for you?

There is big business behind internet security, profiting on minor malfunctions, system updates that keep the same faulty software functioning, preserving the sales of security products.

I think users are being scared in order to make them acquire security products.

Access is a natural process that matures with time as efficiency increases and prices go down.

Many sources of information and services are smoothly moving to the internet such as libraries, phones and TV.

With the development of online education, classrooms will be able to pull together students from far away countries or continents.

Accessibility has a strong foundation for expansion - it is delivering more meaningful information at a lower cost.

This is technology promising to exclude almost no one.

Our panel of readers are drawn from around the world, respond here to issues raised by the IGF, our Reporter's Log, and your comments.

Certainly the main objective of IGF in Athens is to develop a deep understanding and comprehension of the internet to increase self-reliance and explore new boundaries.

The internet provides ever-more convergent ways of living. The process is unstoppable.

In principle, people with higher knowledge are too wise and independent to collude with distorted power. Also, power curtailed of knowledge is doomed to failure since knowledge leads to the precise boundaries of coherence and respect to reasoning.

The future of the internet is on the right tracks because coherent knowledge is guaranteed to reach multiple, achievable solutions to any problems raised.

The internet was born from chaos and is trying, retrospectively, to organize itself.

Chaos has a variable randomness with prevailing structures and the internet is imitating that.

The internet endorses honesty and balance but not necessarily democracy since a rogue country is leading to starvation while a bully country is driving to obesity.

Freedom of expression can be a false magic, honesty can end up being even more important. Brazilians gained freedom of expression after a dictatorship era. It was endowed the rights to complain and the media to profit openly but corruption is always growing and corroding around 20% of public assets making a rich country full of poor people.

Sexual content on the internet can be important. It is part of our creation and way of reproducing ourselves. It can lead us to learning more about sensuality and less on profiting from human nature.

My message to IGF is that there is nothing special about the internet beyond humans having a better chance to bond together, not clashing cultures but molding a new advanced one with a unique language and race, less governance, no mysticism and a duty to balance human existence with the environment.

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