1991, the year when the very first piece of text appeared on what humanity would one day call, “the internet”. Since then, the groundbreaking technology that changed every generation to come has seen a plethora of innovations and changes over the course of thirty-plus years. From the birth of the search engine to the dawning of social media, web 2.0 has seen it all, or has it?
Web 3.0 was first coined in 2001 by Tim Berners-Lee, AI engineer James Alexander Hendler, and computer scientist Ora Lassila in the Scientfic American Magazine. The talented group of researchers explained that Web 3.0 would one day be the third generation of online services, where AI-based semantics, AR/VR-based immersion, and blockchain technology would join forces. All in order to provide a more comprehensive and transparent online experience to internet users.
The researchers envisioned an open internet where real estate on Web 3.0 is not solely owned by corporations and multinationals—rather every individual would own a piece of the pie. And could do as they please with their slice, regardless of government and institutional oversight.
Is this dream still a reality in 2022 and are we inching closer and closer to the original vision from the researchers? Let’s ask the experts.
The Current State of Web 3.0
As of 2013, 4 million out of the registered 250 million websites on the web were using HTML and semantics that went beyond simply cataloging. Web 3.0, builds on top of all of the progress made during the last decade, exemplifying blockchain, virtual reality, and augmented reality technologies.
All in order to provide a more in-depth user experience, utilizing more than just one human sense. The Web 3.0 that the Scientific American researchers first described would go beyond simply reading text on a screen—they envisioned an internet that would be rich with experience and provide multiple points of contact.
Meaning, users would be able to interact physically, with touch and sound, and perhaps even haptic feedback with content found on the internet.
Where are we now? According to Meta (formerly Facebook) founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, we are closer to the researcher’s original vision than we might have expected. In fact, we are currently living alongside Web 3.0 and most individuals have yet to realize it. This is because another feature of Web 3.0 is that it will allow unfettered access from wearables devices like the virtual reality pioneer Oculus or Apple’s watches. Lending to the idea, that we are already living in a Web 3.0, it just hasn’t reached the mainstream… yet.
Web 3.0 and Open-Source Code
Web 3.0 will feature an open-source code or the ability for programmers and everyday users to actively change the internet. Now, I know what you may be thinking—is this not already possible?
In short, yes it is possible. But in practice, however, the general populous tends to stray away from the nitty-gritty of programming. This in part is due to the fact that programming can be awfully technical and time-consuming for the average user. So what most internet users do is go to a centralized website or application provider (think Google or Facebook) and from there interact on already built-out code.
Industry leaders, predict Web 3.0 will be slightly different in that every individual will now have the power to actively change the internet with a personalized NFT domain name or a specific address tied to the individual on the blockchain. This open-source architecture will lead to larger responsibility and transparency across the board—from major tech companies to government institutions, everyone will be accountable for their use of algorithms and the tracking of user data.
Creatives and Web 3.0
Creatives and the entertainment industry are amongst those who stand to benefit the most from the integration into Web 3.0. Gone will be the days of endlessly posting on social media sites, only to hand over creative licenses and monetization to corporate tech companies.
In due time, organizations will begin to offer incentives, whether that be in cryptocurrencies or tokens, to have users interact with their applications and create for them. No longer will the majority of the content creation pie go to the bellies of a few.
And so, my dear reader, I ask you that you use the most revered of virtues: patience. Patience for things is about to get a lot better in the evolution of the internet.