While Web 2.0 was marked by a shift to user generated website content, Web 3.0 will usher in the era of open, trustless and permission-less web environments. The networks and/or the software will be open-source, decentralized to allow all participants to interact without a trusted third party, and ultimately will be permission-less, so that anyone can participate requiring any authorization to do so.
Web 3.0 has not yet been fully implemented, so the definition is still fluid, however every day the picture becomes clearer of how it will take shape, and benefit society. The transition from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 took over a decade, so there’s no expectation that Web 3.0 will be fully implemented soon, however the technologies that are believed to showcase Web 3.0 are already being developed and innovated on. Blockchains, Internet-of-Things, next generation mesh cellular networks and smart homes are some prominent examples of how this next generation of the web is affecting society today.
What’s the difference between Web 2.0 and 3.0?
While Web 2.0 was largely driven by three core tenets; mobile, social and cloud, Web 3.0 will be built by three different core tenets; decentralized data networks, artificial intelligence, and edge computing. Decentralized data networks and blockchains are making it possible nowadays for individuals to sell or barter their data, whether it’s location data, personal health data, agricultural data etc., without losing ownership, sacrificing privacy, or any sort of reliance on third parties. One of the hot buzz-words today is the “data economy”, as data is becoming more and more valuable, decentralized data networks are going to empower users around the world to join this data economy, for the betterment of society.
The next layer in this equation is Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms. While Artificial Intelligence and machine learning algorithms haven’t quite reached the point of “singularity”, they have matured and become powerful enough today to change lives, from helping doctors find diagnoses, to predict life-threatening weather patterns and many other predictions and benefits to society. When the data from decentralized data networks is layered in with Artificial Intelligence and machine learning, the potential applications and benefits to society grow exponentially.
Web 3.0 will give all humans, machines or businesses the capability to trade information, work, or any other type of value, with any other counterparties, without requiring any sort of trust or intermediary. With the world becoming ever more global, the evolution of Web 3.0 to minimize the trust required for global coordination or collaboration is extremely important. The psychological change from requiring all participants to explicitly trust one another, to enabling all participants to implicitly trust, will open up billions of dollars of value, and help achieve a more cooperative global economy.
This opening up of the global economy to the “data economy” with Web 3.0 will fundamentally broaden the scope of human and machine interactions to a point that is unimaginable today. Interactions ranging from fast, easy and seamless payments, to rich information flows and trusted data transfers will become available to trillions of individuals, businesses and machines very soon. This will enable a whole new generation of business models that were previously unimaginable, such as decentralized autonomous organizations, global co-ops, sovereign data marketplaces and more.
How does this benefit society?
- Societies around the world can become more efficient by decentralizing industries, and returning this value directly back to its citizens and value creators.
- Humans, businesses and machines can share more data, now that there are far greater security and privacy assurances.
- Individuals can own their own data and their digital footprints by the utilization of provable digital scarcity and tokenized digital assets.
- A more adaptable P2P communication and governance system will allow businesses or organizations to be more resilient to change.
- We can empower entrepreneurial and investment activity by removing the platform dependency risks that are faced today.
Computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, explained this idea of a Semantic Web in 1999:
I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A “Semantic Web,” which makes this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy, and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines.https://www.historyofinformation.com/detail.php?id=3343
Since the Internet began in the 1990s, the pace of innovation has been growing exponentially as more and more users were given access and will continue to grow as more users get online. With the explosion of data over the past decade, the opportunity for websites, applications and their users to have or offer a considerably better web experience is right around the corner.
For some of us, it’s already here.