Gini Nelson\’s Engaging Conflicts

November 9, 2006

Web Science Includes the Social Impacts of Web 2.0

A Thinking Ethics post from Nov. 6:

Web science

MIT and the University of Southampton, UK, are launching the new field of Web Science. The research will guide the future design and use of the world wide web. Tim Berners-Lee says the web is full of blogs that are inaccurate, defamatory and have uncheckable information. This new program is aimed at adding intelligence to the web, and will cover things like trust, responsibility, empathy, and privacy. It looks like Web 2.0 will be kinder and gentler. more

The link goes to a New York Times article:

Web science, the researchers say, has social and engineering dimensions. It extends well beyond traditional computer science, they say, to include the emerging research in social networks and the social sciences that is being used to study how people behave on the Web.


Web science represents “a pretty big next step in the evolution of information,” said Eric E. Schmidt, the chief executive of Google, who is a computer scientist. This kind of research, Schmidt added, is “likely to have a lot of influence on the next generation of researchers, scientists and, most importantly, the next generation of entrepreneurs who will build new companies from this.”

Web science is related to another emerging interdisciplinary field called services science. This is the study of how to use computing, collaborative networks and knowledge in disciplines ranging from economics to anthropology to lift productivity and develop new products in the services sector, which represents about three-fourths of the United States economy. Services science research is being supported by technology companies like I.B.M., Accenture and Hewlett-Packard, and by the National Science Foundation.


Ben Shneiderman, a professor at the University of Maryland, said Web science was a promising idea. “Computer science is at a turning point, and it has to go beyond algorithms and understand the social dynamics of issues like trust, responsibility, empathy and privacy in this vast networked space,” Shneiderman said. “The technologists and companies that understand those issues will be far more likely to succeed in expanding their markets and enlarging their audiences.”


1 Comment »

  1. Margaret C. Whitman

    Web Science Includes the Social Impacts of Web 2.0 | Gini Nelson\’s Engaging Conflicts

    Trackback by Margaret C. Whitman — November 2, 2014 @ 11:46 am | Reply

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