WWW6 logo, link back to Conference homepage Sixth International World Wide Web Conference

Keynote Speaker:
Michael L. Dertouzos

Foreteller of the Information Marketplace

About the Speaker

Director of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science

Born in Athens, Greece, Michael Dertouzos received his Ph.D. from MIT where he is now Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering and since 1974, Director of LCS (the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science) -- a research center of 500 people, whose members have contributed the spreadsheet, the Ethernet, time shared computers, RSA encryption, X-Windows, and the Nubus. Today, through its 150-organization World Wide Web Consortium, led by the Web's inventor, Tim Berners Lee, the Laboratory helps ensure an orderly evolution for the Web.

In 1976 Dertouzos steered the lab to distributed systems research, and in 1980, he first wrote about the Information Marketplace -- now a central theme of LCS . He has written extensively on that subject, culminating in his just published book "What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change our Lives". He is also author or co-author of six other books, the most recent of which was "Made in America: Regaining the Productive Edge."

Dertouzos, a dual citizen of the U.S. and the E.U. has been advisor to the U.S. and E.U. governments and was a U.S. delegate to the '95 G7 Conference on the Information Society. He is a member of the United States National Academy of Engineering and of the Athens Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Abstract of Talk

Where is the Web Headed

A great deal of confusion surrounds "all the things" that tomorrow's Web will interconnect and what the whole picture might be like in the long term -- Cyberspace, implants, 1000 video channels, electronic commerce, affordable health care, an uplifted society (because information is so far above our muscles ..., and much more. If we strip the hype away, a simple, crisp and inevitable picture emerges -- of an Information Marketplace where people and their computers will buy, sell and freely exchange information and information work.

We'll discuss this model and some of the ways its projections runs counter to much of today's common wisdom. For example, the information content of news, music, movies, books that everyone talks about will be only 10% of what flows over tomorrow's information infrastructures; the fact that information is easily copied, relative to bread, will be largely irrelevant; today's operating system and, browser frameworks and WIMP (Windows, Icons, Menus, Pointing) interfaces will not dominate, maybe not even survive the changes ahead; intermediaries will not vanish but will increase ... as will the gap between rich and poor; office productivity will increase perhaps by as much as 300% in the coming century, even though under today's Web it is standing embaracingly still; tribalism and diversity will be simultaneously enhanced and a univeral culture will not come about, except as a thin veneer.

We'll summarize such issues and their rationale along with technological and other imperatives that we should follow to ensure that this movement takes its expected place in history right next to the Agrarian and the Industrial Revolutions.

Michael L. Dertouzos is Director of the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science and author of the just published book "What Will Be: How The New World of Information Will Change Our Lives".

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