Are We Ready for Web 3.0?
The web 3.0 revolution is upon us; now what?
The World Wide Web has changed significantly since its inception, thanks to advances in infrastructure, connection speed, protocols, and content. From basic email functionality and chatrooms accessible over dial-up connections to video conferencing and online gaming best accessed over a fiber optics connection, it’s fair to say that we have come a long way since the early days of the web.
At present, internet/web access is considered a basic human right by many, though, much of the developing world is yet to enjoy it on a regular basis. Web 3.0 is slated to improve connectivity and availability, among several other aspects of how we use the internet today.
A short history of the web
The advent of the first version of the web, or web 1.0, was a complete game changer in a pre-digital world – a seemingly endless well of online information about every subject under the sun. Despite the availability of plentiful knowledge, the early web was, for the most part, read-only – a one-way street that allowed users to consume vs. produce content.
Then, web 2.0 came, along with countless opportunities to contribute user-generated content on a virtually unlimited number of topics. This notable freedom of expression attracted greater centralization, surveillance, and lack of control over personal data. The success of the current state of the web grew ever more reliant on Big Tech companies collecting data about user behavior and profiting from it, often without obtaining explicit consent from users. GDPR and e-Privacy regulations in Europe aim to slowly eliminate these practices and with them, the current era of the World Wide Web is also ending.
The transition to web 3.0 is an opportunity for the digital world to do things differently and for citizens to take a stance on how their data is collected, used, and shared, going forward. Rather than belonging to a few powerful tech corporations, personal data is going to be better protected both technologically and legally, and its ownership will revert to its rightful holders – individual users.
What will web 3.0 be like?
Originally, it was commonly anticipated that web 3.0 will bring to life the concept of the semantic web, which never came to pass due to technological roadblocks. According to World Wide Web founder Tim Berners-Lee, web 3.0 signifies a return to the original concept of the web, where there is no single authority presiding over what is shared, when, and by whom.
In addition to enhanced data sovereignty, web 3.0 is expected to make strides in solving some of the other big issues plaguing the internet today: online safety and security, authentication of information sources, net neutrality. Technologies like 5G networks, blockchain, IoT and connected devices, AI, and innovative web protocols can be used to tackle these challenges, eventually allowing us to claim back ownership of our data, time, and usage behaviors.
Outlook for the next web generation
Can the web be further improved in the future? Though it may seem as though we’ve reached the culmination of all things web, there is much to do to ensure developing countries have equal access to the collective knowledge that is the web today, while owning their users’ data.
If we accept that internet access is indeed a basic human right, we need to ensure that every human on the planet has the means to access it. One of the European Union’s initiatives towards a digital future includes providing free wireless internet to more than 8,000 small towns and villages by 2020, thus encouraging the repopulation of smaller urban centers, as well as the growth of digital entrepreneurship.
All in all, web 3.0 will be smarter, more flexible and more versatile than the web as we know it, making use of distributed ledger technology and databases, machine learning, artificial intelligence, open APIs and protocols to connect devices, users and Big Tech in a more fairly administered and compensated exchange of data.
Playing a part in building a better web for all
On the World Wide Web’s 30th anniversary, Tim Berners-Lee stated: “Companies must do more to ensure that their pursuit of short-term profit is not at the expense of human rights, democracy, scientific fact, or public safety. Platforms and products must be designed with privacy, diversity, and security in mind.” This is a credo that all businesses and software development houses should strive to adopt as part of their joint efforts to build a new and improved web 3.0. Combatting online fraud, hack attacks, data breaches, fake news and bullying to make the World Wide Web a safer, more secure and more authentic place for all, should be high on the agenda of all mindful participants.
If you’re interested in working towards this mission by developing fair and transparent web and mobile applications, please contact us – we’d like to brainstorm on achieving this together.