Tim Berners-Lee, widely credited as the inventor of the World Wide Web, apologised last night for the double slashes used in every web address, getting a big laugh when he said the slashes "just felt like a good thing at the time".
Berners-Lee spoke at the What's Next Forum & Technology Awards presented by Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange (MITX), where he was an Innovation Hall of Fame Honoree and keynote speaker.
In his speech, Berners-Lee reminisced about the days when it was possible to "write the specs for HTML on the back of an envelope and write the code for HTTP without a requirements document." He also discussed the debate over Net neutrality and the possibility of pixels as the next tipping point, when there might be "zoning regulations for pixels".
Berners-Lee said he looks forward to the new challenges of the Web on mobile devices, saying "the job of the device designers is actually to get out of the way" so that applications such as Web browsers become invisible to users.
Earlier in the evening, David Kirkpatrick, senior editor at Fortune magazine, had moderated a panel discussion called "What's Next for the Device Web: Emerging User Experiences." During that discussion, David Rose, founder and chief executive of US-based Ambient Devices, foreshadowed Berners-Lee's comments when he said that the next "killer app is going to be simplicity".
Panel member Boyd Peterson, senior vice president at Yankee Group Research, described a connected device he came across recently at a lab in Tokyo: a prototype set of eyeglasses with a projector that scrolled data visible only to the wearer.
Panel member David Kovacs, vice president for product management and strategy, mobile and devices solutions at Adobe, weighed in on a different topic: Citing the "desirability of free," he predicted advertising on devices in the home.