BBC's SuperPower season
Twenty years ago, a quiet British engineer was on the cusp of changing the world. Tim Berners-Lee was ironing out the wrinkles in a project that would become the "world wide web". As he readily admits, no-one could have predicted its significance.
Today, BBC News launches a two-week season on radio, television and the web taking stock of his invention and considering how it is changing our lives.
It's a chance to stand back from the break-neck pace of change of the last two decades and to consider how far we have come, and how much further there is still to go.
For some of our audience, the web may have become a mundane part of their lives. For others, it will be untested waters. No matter what your experience, we hope the season will use the BBC's reach to uncover untold stories and give you a fresh perspective.
We are calling the season SuperPower, a phrase that - we think - resonates with other events two decades ago. Then, the Iron Curtain was falling and the power relationships that had dominated the latter half of the 20th Century had come to an end.
The world's superpowers were changing and new ones - with new power structures - emerged. The web grew up against that backdrop and its effect on the new landscape may have only just begun.
SuperPower is a chance to examine these changes and to ask who benefits: who is wielding this new-found power?
One example is the distribution of knowledge. One view has it that information traditionally imparted power, and that the web is the first medium where everyone can make his or her voice heard. But of course, if you want to take part, you need access.
We live in a world of haves and have-nots. Less than one-third of the world is currently online; for more than 4 billion people, it is still an unknown. During the season, we will examine that imbalance.
Our On/Off project has been following people in the village of Gitata in northern Nigeria as they make their first tentative steps on to the web using mobile phones.
The village, two hours north of Abuja, is not connected to the electricity grid and has minimal links with the outside world. So how will they react when they finally join the "global conversation"?
By way of contrast, we will drop in on South Korea - the most wired nation on Earth - where we have persuaded two families to give up their high-speed connection for a week. Can they still function when severed from a society that is apparently so reliant on the web?
We will also address how this technology has united previously-isolated people and given them a tool to share their experiences. BBC Russian has spent time with disadvantaged and disabled people to see how the web has allowed them to participate in societies from which they had been excluded.
This is a common theme of the web. It is a tool that allows people to contribute to and engage with organisations and people that were previously off-limits. Conversely, it has also forced some organisations to be more transparent and open.
This has been keenly felt in journalism. When I joined the BBC, the relationship with the audience was a one-way street. We made programmes for broadcast and - bar the occasional letter - that was the end of the deal.
Today, our audience is, as we often point out, at the heart of our thinking. And so another part of the season, MyWorld, will consist of your films, about your perspective on the wired world. And of course, we also want to encourage you to participate in the discussions and debates about this emergent power.
We also aim to also reflect what is being said on the web about the season and about world events. Blogworld will highlight the best of blogosphere in multiple languages, while the BBC News website has partnered with the non-profit network of citizen journalists Global Voices to give different perspectives on the news.
Of course, any technology can also be used to more nefarious ends. So the season will examine censorship, online crime, cyber-warfare and other more regrettable consequences.
Twenty years ago, only the sci-fi-minded could have imagined countries attacking each other with computer code. But now virtual walls join bricks and mortar as means by which countries protect themselves from outside threats.
The world has been transformed.
The season is a chance to step back and consider this change and ask: if we are all to share this new SuperPower, what shall we do with it?
Peter Horrocks is the director of BBC Global News.