Tim Berners-Lee, the father of the internet, recalls in his TED talk (highly recommended ,btw) that he wrote his proposal in 1989 to set up a linked information system out of frustration for his work as a software engineer at CERN. Being confronted with all kinds of different data formats, information systems and isolated information, he wrote the proposal and the code for the internet. Today he experiences a similar kind of frustration, the frustration of not finding what he's looking for. From this frustration, he advocates the creation of a semantic web, on top of the current web.
Source: The Economist