Emergence of the Internet

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Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, is now concerned that the net has become more powerful than even he believed possible

An interview with Tim Berners-Lee recently highlighted his belief that the web needs to be studied scientifically as a source of potential emergent behaviours. Emergence is usually considered a threat, where a complex system can exhibit behaviour that was unpexted, because of unexpected complex interactions among system components. In nature, 50 year waves happen because of the rare(every 50 years at a particular place) interaction of waves coming from different directions, and they can sink ships. On the web, waves of information can bring down servers and even large sections of the net. But it isn’t just waves that can casue problems. The internet is a very multidimensional entity, and indeed, even the world wide web is only one of the services running on it, albeit arguably the most important one.

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