What “The World Wide What?” left out

The Web Foundation reminds us of how lucky we are to live online the way we do, but there are other technologies that have had a similar impact

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There’s no better way to make a video go viral than to pepper it with so many famous people that watching it turns into a game of name-that-celebrity. Of course, a recent clip from The Web Foundation might stretch the definition of what constitutes a celebrity for regular people, but not IT professionals.

The World Wide What?“, which is narrated by Stephen Fry, marks ten years of Founders Forum. Network admins and others will be quick to spot the likes of Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Case and even Sean Parker among the cameo appearances. More than the casting, however, the video is compelling because of its narrative conceit: a glimpse at what 2015 would like like if the Web had never come to pass:

Of course, there are other technologies that complement the Web and which have had a similar impact on our everyday lives. For example, there is scant mention of how IP telephony has transformed the way we communicate, or how messaging systems like IPv6 will help ensure the Web continues its massive growth on a global scale. Some might also think about the way cloud computing has allowed us to access a range of technologies that were once only available on premises through a Web portal of some kind.

None of these are major omissions, however, and this clip is more about celebrating an organization that has done a lot to make the Web a free and useful place. It poses a worthwhile intellectual challenge for IT departments, though. The next time you’re pitched some kind of cutting edge technology, imagine yourself a few decades from now. If the world looks anything as ridiculous as it does here, your business case should practically write itself.

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