Tim O'Reilly wants Web 2.0 for grown-up problems

Web 2.0 came to be about silly consumer urges. Tim O'Reilly wants it to grow up.

At last. Tim O'Reilly started the Web 2.0 ball rolling, and then moved out of the way to see what would happen. Though no fault of his own, "Web 2.0" came to mostly be about prettier websites and a rerun of silly consumer web "services" of the dot-com bust.

Today, Tim issues a call to action for Web 2.0 to take its opportunities more seriously, and provide significantly more value to the world:

In an era of looming scarcities, economic disruption, and the possibility of catastrophic ecological change, it's time for us all to wake up, to take our new "superpowers" seriously, and to use them to solve problems that really matter.

Amen. The architecture of participation that Tim has been promoting needs to be put to better uses than crowdsourcing babysitting. He suggests earth monitoring, energy efficiency of electronic devices, open government, collaborative scientific research, early detection of infectious disease outbreaks, personalized medicine, etc.

It would be nice to see the web put to better uses than cheap distribution of porn and goofy YouTube videos.

Tech Culture
About the author

    Matt Asay is chief operating officer at Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux operating system. Prior to Canonical, Matt was general manager of the Americas division and vice president of business development at Alfresco, an open-source applications company. Matt brings a decade of in-the-trenches open-source business and legal experience to The Open Road, with an emphasis on emerging open-source business strategies and opportunities. He is a member of the CNET Blog Network and is not an employee of CNET. You can follow Matt on Twitter @mjasay.


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