Kevin Kelly on the Future of the Web: The World Wide Database

Great presentation from Kevin Kelly ([praized subtype=”small” pid=”9d3ee2214959dec2f68d97fb4c3d24fe” type=”badge” dynamic=”true”]) last week at the Web 2.0 Summit.  I’ve been a big big fan of Kelly ever since he wrote this blog post.

Kevin Kelly Web 2.0 Summit San Francisco November 2008

He starts by mentioning it’s been 6527 days since Tim Berners-Lee built his first Web page, marvels at the things we’ve accomplished and wonders what will happen in the next 6500 days.

He explains the various phases we went through.  Phase 1 of the Internet was all about linking computers together and sharing packets. Phase 2 was about linking pages (when the Web came along) and sharing links.  Phase 3, the next phase, will be about linking data. Linking to the information inside the page down to the elemental unit (what I often call “atomization). This new semantic Web will understand the meaning of words.  For example, “Pacifica” (a small town near San Francisco) is a place with attributes.

He calls it the “World Wide Database”, where you un-structure the information down to its elemental unit and then re-structure it.  By removing the structure of language, you make it machine readable.  Kelly says: “sharing data is intimate.  It’s much closer to us.”


As for the next 6500 days, it’s definitely not going to be the “The web, only better”.  It’s going to be vastly different.  Everything is moving to the Cloud. He adds: “if you’re producing information and it’s not online and related and shared to everything else, it doesn’t count.”

Everything, all media, will be online. “Newspapers, print, videos, music, music, etc. will obey the same kind of laws.  If I show you a blank screen, you can’t tell me whether that’s going to show a movie, the Web, a game or TV” We will have one single inter-media platform, running on the same machine.

We’re moving to the Cloud, we’re moving to the Database and we’re moving to sharing. And it means life will be “always on”, we will see extreme dependence (because the connection makes us smarter), we will have extended self (not knowing exactly where we begin and where we end).  Finally, we will see the value of the collective where the individual will be able to shine but the collective work will be bigger than the individual.

You can see the video here.


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