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Watching the web

This August the World Wide Web was 15 years old.

Britain’s Observer newspaper, commemorating this event, likened the influence the web has had on the world with that of Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th-century invention of movable-type printing, which enabled the Bible to be mass-produced (http://observer.guardian.co.uk/review/story/0,,1843263,00.html).

Stephen Doggett

There are similarities. Both inventions have brought about massive cultural and social revolutions by taking knowledge and power away from an elite and giving it to the masses. But whereas the former empowered people by opening their eyes and teaching them how they should live, the latter is arguably less impressive, governed as it is by the user’s own whims.