Skip to main content
Talk + Discussion

How people experience the web, and why we are doing it wrong

Steven Pemberton

Whenever new technologies are introduced, for a time they imitate the old technology they are replacing before evolving into their true form.

The introduction of book printing changed the world: information became more available, and much more affordable, and a whole new infrastructure and economy was created for the distribution of information.

It also changed the ownership of information, from the church, which was the source of all books before the printing press, and this in turn created great turmoil as new thought patterns emerged.

But for 50 years after the printing press was invented, books imitated manuscripts, before finally becoming what we now understand as books. The internet in Europe is 36 years old this year. In very similar ways, it has changed the world: information is more available and cheaper, and there is a whole new infrastructure and economy to support it. 

Similarly, it is creating a new turmoil as we deal with the changing way that people obtain information. But also similarly, the internet is still imitating pre-internet media: it could be described as paper documents without the paper, only the paper has been digitised away.

So what should the internet really be like, and can we expect it to emerge in the next 15 years?

Steven Pemberton

Steven Pemberton

Researcher @ CWI Amsterdam
Distinguished researcher in the fields of interaction, declarative programming, and web tech. Steven’s university tutor was Dick Grimsdale, who built the world's first transistorized computer and was himself a tutee of Alan Turing.

To make this website run properly and to improve your experience, we use cookies. For more detailed information, please check our Cookie Policy.

  • Necessary cookies enable core functionality. The website cannot function properly without these cookies, and can only be disabled by changing your browser preferences.