It's hard to believe that the internet has been around for over three decades. Tim Berners-Lee developed a consumer-ready version of the internet and the world's first web browser in 1990, drawing on his military and academic backgrounds. This was web 1.0: a collection of linked web pages that couldn't be searched and had very limited interactivity.
Web 3.0 is a new generation of online services that combines AI-based semantics, AR/VR-based immersive ness, and blockchain-based decentralization to create transparent, ubiquitous, open, and socially responsible internet experiences. Web 3.0, or a better internet, isn't a new concept. It was developed in a 2001 Scientific American article by Berners-Lee, AI researcher James Alexander Hendler, and computer scientist Ora Lassila. By 2013, approximately 4 million web domains out of 250 million had semantic markup, which is the use of HTML in such a way that it conveys the meaning of the content rather than just cataloguing it. Web 3.0, as defined in 2021, builds on this progress by incorporating other technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, augmented reality, and virtual reality to create decentralized and highly engaging internet experiences.
Besides its semantic architecture, Web 3.0 is defined by the following key traits and characteristics:
This is an area where we've already made significant strides. Web 3.0 envisions universal internet access across regions, networks, and devices. For online activities, we currently primarily use PCs and smartphones, with some industrial handhelds thrown in for good measure. Web 3.0's availability on wearables, smart appliances, AR/VR gear, IoT interfaces, smart cars, and other devices will expand device reach in the future. This will cause the development of a new web browser generation.
Web 3.0 has been compared to a spatial web by some analysts and newcomers. A good example is Deloitte's Spatial Web design, which combines a physical layer, a digital information layer, and a spatial interaction layer to make the internet accessible through new, non-text channels. This primarily refers to the worlds of voice and AR/VR – specifically, the metaverse, where Web 3.0 enables rich interactions between users and online service providers.
This Web 3.0 requirement is a little more difficult to achieve. The internet is currently dominated by a few technology companies and conglomerates that act as data and algorithmic gatekeepers. The new internet will be built on an open-source architecture that anyone can use, change, monetise, and extend without limitations. Peer reviews will be more common with open-source architecture, which will encourage greater accountability.
The goal of Web 3.0 is to achieve a better balance in creator economics. There are few checks and balances on how online creators are compensated for their work right now, and a small percentage of the population often receives a disproportionate share of the rewards. In the meantime, there is no such thing as user incentivisation. Users may, for example, be rewarded with tokens or cryptocurrency for willingly sharing their data in order to maintain transparency. This type of clear incentivisation will be a big part of the Web 3.0 experience in order to ensure that all stakeholders are held accountable.
Finally, Web 3.0 will be fully decentralized and controlled by no single or group of organizations, thanks to blockchain technology. This is one of the main reasons Web 3.0 has only recently become workable for development, as Berners-vision Lee's of decentralization would be impossible to achieve without it. Users, creators, and every other online entity would exist on a connected spectrum that would be decentralized thanks to a custom protocol. The first such protocol for Web 3.0, called Follow, was just released on September 2021.
As you can see, Web 3.0 isn’t just a theoretical concept limited to science fiction or academic experiments.It’s a very real technology in the making, which is why it is important to understand that Web 3.0 is NOT:
In this area, there are isolated spurts of progress. Startups like Syndica and Immunefi are raising funds to build tools for a Web 3.0 world, and Moledao, a blockchain-based social platform, recently launched a Web 3.0 hackathon. The most important work left to do is to merge and enforce protocols, which will give Web 3.0 the universality that the social web has–possibly by the end of this decade.
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