Nigel Shadbolt on the Web’s First 25 Years & Digital Enlightenment

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Peter Judge of Tech Week Europe reports, “In the last quarter of a century, the world wide web has changed society so much that we should be talking of a ‘Digital Enlightenment’, says Sir Nigel Shadbolt, who predicts the next next 25 years will bring even bigger changes. In the 25th anniversary of the creation of the web, Sir Tim Berners-Lee has been calling for a Bill of Rights for the Internet. Shadbolt’s talk of Enlightenment dovetails well with that of the web’s inventor, as you might expect, since they jointly created the discipline of Web Science, founded Britain’s Open Data Institute, and have collaborated on numerous other projects, attempting to shape the way society relates to this utterly transforming phenomenon.”


Judge continues, “Could personal data could be prompting a re-negotiation of the relationship of the state and the individual? Shadbolt, professor of artificial intelligence at the University of Southampton, takes a British example where that is happening. The government proposed to use NHS patient data for analytics which could help with predictive and preventive medicine, but the project has been delayed after privacy protests. A long-term advocate for open access to public data and the intelligent use of the increasing amounts of information that are stored and collected, Shadbolt is sympathetic towards citizens who refuse to trust the government for fear that their data is being exploited by commercial interests and isn’t being anonymised enough. ‘If you imagine you have a medical record  which is assumed to be your property, then you have rights and responsibilities.’ Citizens should be able to give permission for whatever is done with that data.”


Read more here.


Image: Courtesy Flickr/ Elon University


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