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Tim Berners-Lee and the web at 20 (Video)

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Dan Biddle Dan Biddle | 20:29 UK time, Friday, 10 July 2009

"The web is a basic human right; like clean water."

So said the creator of the World Wide Web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, in answer to a question posted online and relayed at The Web At 20 launch event for Digital Revolution.

As part of the ambition of the Digital Revolution project to start a conversation about the web to collaboratively create a documentary about the web, Sir Tim joined Baroness Susan Greenfield, Digital Planet's Bill Thompson, Wired magazine's Chris Anderson (live linked from San Francisco) and presenter Aleks Krotoski to present their ideas about (as Bill Thompson put it 'one of the most important things we have managed to do as a species' - the World Wide Web.

We filmed the event and, while we will post a slicker, more complete and cohesive version featuring all of the speakers and questions from the afternoon in a subsequent blog post, we thought you'd like to see a quick edit of Sir Tim's speech and the first part of the Q&A asap.

Unsurprisingly, considering there were more than a couple of BBC TV content producers in the room, there were several questions around the web's new models for content, audiovisual and beyond. If there were gasps of horror at Sir Tim's line: "The concept of a [TV] channel is going to be obsolete on the internet - it's not relevant." they can't be heard on the recordings...

And if this leaves you hungry for more and you can't wait for the longer video to arrive, as is the wont of the web, you can find other reports of The Web At 20 from the web itself; from Rory Cellan-Jones on the BBC Technology blog; or audio snippets via Bill Thompson's Audioboo:



Or from those that were present (and those that weren't but were watching the tweets and responding). You can read the tweets we sent out from @BBCDigRev and search the wider twittersphere under tags such as Tim Berners-Lee, #webat20 and more as your imagination and search-fancy takes you.

Enjoy. And, as ever, your comments are greatly appreciated.


  • Comment number 1.

    Hello DR

    The one thing that stood out to me was that Sir TBL [the older of the two]used a NoteBook and a Mobile 'Phone

    The interviewer however,[clearly the younger one] had a multi page foolscap script and a paper note book which looked as though it had at least a hundred pages of paper.

    If we are discussing the "digital" revolution, this is a bad example to be starting off with.

    Best wishes nonetheless

    John Prince

  • Comment number 2.

    @JohnPrince - Hello. Yours is a very fair observation of the not unironic state of affairs on the stage that afternoon. Our presenter Aleks Krotoski may want to step in to comment herself, but I'm going to reply anyway.

    To be fair to Aleks (who is seldom without her laptop and often berates us in the BBC offices for not being more paper-less), she had arrived hot-foot from the final supervision meeting of her PHD and had the day's script and running order thrust into her hands to make notes on.

    Still, if you ARE going to be shown up technologically, you couldn't pick a better candidate to do it to you than Sir Tim Berners-Lee!

    Many thanks for your comment,


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