Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is both worried and optimistic about the future of his creation.
In celebration of the WWW’s 25th anniversary on March 12, Berners-Lee took some time to answer questions in a Reddit AMA and announced his plans for an online Magna Carta to protect online privacy.
He also revealed the thing about Web use today that surprises him most: kittens.
Yes, the Web’s obsession with cats -- be they grumpy, heart-meltingly adorable or musically inclined -- has astounded the man who helped make it all possible.
His surprise, however, might be because he's more of a dog person: He admitted to never posting cat pics online, but says he has posted photos of his pup.
The computer scientist also deployed some of that dry British humor when asked if he ever imagined that the Web would become as big of a success as it is today.
“Yes, I more or less had it nailed down when it comes to the growth curve," he wrote. "I didn't get it completely right --- 25 years ago I was predicting I'd be asked to do an AMA on Reddit next week, but it turned out to be this week. Well, we all make mistakes.”
For the far more serious concerns regarding the future of online safety in the age of massive data collection and surveillance programs, Berners-Lee said it’s up to the public to protect their Web.
“It is up to us. It is an artificial creation, as are our laws, and our constitutions," he said, adding later, "[W]e can chose how they work. We can make new ones. Our choice."
While working at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research, Berners-Lee in 1989 presented a plan to his colleagues that suggested creating a hypertext system to store all of the organization's information in a location accessible from any computer. That proposal grew into what we all have come to know and love as the online kitty mecca, more properly termed the "World Wide Web."
Visit WebWeWant.org for his full plan on a digital Bill of Rights. Check out his full Reddit AMA here.