CS 492/692 - Spring 2020 - Assignment 2

The Future of the World Wide Web


Assignment 2 is due on Thursday May 28 at 10am. It will be done differently than the other essay-based assignments. For this assignment, students answer questions on a specific sheet, restricted to the space provided, to reveal their thoughts about next steps with the web. There will be 2 specific questions, which challenge you to imagine a new future. The assignment is worth 5 marks.

Tim Berners-Lee has recently reflected on the World Wide Web and has a desiderata for how it should evolve in the future. One view of his is that people should have complete control of their data on the web. The overarching goal is ensuring that the web is a human right and built for the public good. Selling one's personal data goes against this vision. The realization that your browser stores so much of your personal information and that data can still potentially be sold without the consent of users are real concerns.

The question is how to arrive at a new vision for the web, one that will still support greater overall participation but one that might yet imagine web contracts which will mitigate negative practices, even if the view is one of a decidedly open and accessible medium. For this assignment, you will have the opportunity to think creatively about this topic.


The main aim of this assignment is to assess your creative thinking. While your skill in writing will be evaluated carefully on the other assignments which are in essay form, in the case of this assignment, there will be instead a number grade out of 5 assigned primarily based on the quality of the ideas that you have expressed. All students will have the same space in which to write their responses.

The sheet will be posted on May 22 (on the Handouts page of this website). You are not being asked to do research or to discover the ideas of others in the field. You are being asked to spend about an hour coming up with your own, brief thoughts.