The advent of Web 3.0 is swiftly approaching.
Web3, which was first coined by John Markoff of The New York Times, refers to the next stage in the evolution of the internet. Its usage has become increasingly popular during the past decade-and-a-half, as the world has moved towards a Web 2.0 environment.
Web3 is focused on implementing drastic changes and fresh concepts. What implications does this have for our shared digital future?
Current Understanding of the Internet’s Extensive History
During the 1990s, the internet began to gain traction as a groundbreaking phenomenon. Despite being conceptualised in the 1980s, it was only in the latter part of the previous century that its framework started to take shape.
In hindsight, we now refer to this period as “Web 1.0”. However, during its inception, it was just known as “the web”. Impressively, it was able to function effectively despite its antiquity. Basic websites, which may seem comical by today’s standards, were groundbreaking when initially introduced. Interactive content was limited, and most pages were static. Additionally, the propagation of what is now called “fake news” was widespread.
Web 2.0 emerged throughout the 2000s, which was an era of fast-paced technological progress. Some of the most well-known tech giants, such as Amazon, Google, and Facebook, were established during this time. Consequently, various search engines, social media platforms, and complex media infrastructures were created, unlocking greater opportunities for customization and personalisation. Additionally, new languages and capabilities were introduced.
The adoption of the internet and modern media was swift and far-reaching. With the addition of smartphones and tablets, digital information has become even more accessible for those with an internet connection.
Having fulfilled its function, Web 2.0 has paved the way for Web 3.0 to take centre stage.
The Definition of “Web3”
Complexity lies at the core of Web3, as it strives to decentralise internet governance from dominant players such as Amazon and Google, giving people greater control over their online experience.
New York University professor Mat Dryhurst has emphasised that a handful of organisations govern the content that is utilised, yet the end-users who employ it do not reap the rewards of its success. Web3 seeks to contend with this issue.
Web3 will integrate the Semantic Web, empowering computers to comprehend and interpret multimedia content while also drawing conclusions about the relationships between objects. This network of collective data is more than a conglomeration of phrases – it is a network of interconnected systems.
The revolutionary potential of Web3’s decentralised structure is immense. The advent of blockchain technology, which powers cryptocurrencies, has sparked a trend towards decentralized peer-to-peer exchange of information and data, granting users more sovereignty over their online experiences and personal data. This could potentially bring about a decentralised peer-to-peer system that operates without the involvement of third-party intermediaries.
The upcoming era will be distinguished by heightened accessibility from virtually any device, anytime and anywhere, as a result of the progress made during the digital epoch of Web2.
Deliberations about Web3 must include Artificial Intelligence (AI). This innovation bestows computers with the ability to emulate human intelligence, enabling them to efficiently and precisely process data. As AI is enhanced, its capabilities are expected to improve over time.
Lastly, Web3 will feature more elaborate visuals across various domains, such as 3D imagery and virtual reality tools.
How Will Web3 Transform the Internet and Its Users?
Web3 is still in its nascent phases, but it is not as distant as one might presume. The building blocks required to usher in the next phase of the internet already exist; what is essential is that they are integrated.
Individuals will be granted greater command over their data, courtesy of the distributed public ledger (blockchain). This will allow them to streamline their everyday operations and enhance efficiency.
The process of sharing information will no longer be governed by social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, as per observations made by experts.
Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) represent a one-of-a-kind digital asset ownership model, made possible by Bitcoin-based transactions. The use of blockchain technology ensures secure, legally enforceable transactions that record such asset ownership.
Web3 has the potential to transform the collaborative economy by delivering advanced connectivity and accessibility, and represents more than just joint control – it heralds a new era of opportunities.
What Can We Expect in the Future?
The timeline for witnessing the arrival of Web3 remains uncertain.
Although technologies like voice-assisted search engines that are location-specific or virtual reality/augmented reality that lets us explore alternate worlds may give us the impression that we have attained Web3, we are still very much in the age of Web2.0.
As per some experts, Web3 has yet to achieve its full potential. Some believe that it will coexist with Web2.0 instead of rendering it obsolete. It might be prudent to perceive them as wide-ranging categories of digital entities rather than entirely separate epochs.
It is probable that with the rise of decentralization, dominant corporations will persist in increasing in size. Regardless, the role of technology in our lives in the future will be consequential.