Web 3.0- you’ll no doubt have heard about it, but what exactly is it and how did we get here?
Web 3.0 (Web3) is the third generation of the evolution of web technologies.
With Web 3, websites and apps will be able to process information in a smart human-like way through technologies like machine learning (ML), Big Data and decentralised ledger technology (DLT). There is no firm agreement as to exactly what Web 3.0 is yet or exactly what it will become, but it is expected to end collective reliance on tech giants and reduce the amount of control any one entity can have on the internet.
The web started with Web 1.0, the first stage of the World Wide Web evolution. Initially, this had only a few content creators and a much larger majority of users who consumed this content. Key features of Web 1.0 included: static pages, content served from the server’s file system, pages built using Server Side Includes or Common Gateway Interface (CGI) and frames and tables used to position and align the elements on a page. Web 1.0 was great for sharing information, but not the best way to interact with others.
What we are currently using and also known as the ‘participative social web’, Web 2.0 became established in 2004 and refers to worldwide websites which highlight user-generated content, usability, and interoperability for end users. There is no denying that Web 2.0 allows for dynamic, global, 2 way communication and has led to the revolution of business. However it has shortcomings that need to be addressed; including:
Most platforms revolving around centralised control
Large corporates have control of user data
Initially called the Semantic Web by World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee, the idea of Web 3.0 is to provide a more autonomous, intelligent, and open internet. Decentralising the internet is at the core of Web 3.0 which will have a strong emphasis on dispersed applications and make extensive use of blockchain-based technologies. Web 3.0 will also make use of machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to help empower more intelligent and adaptive applications.
Key Features of Web 3.0
Below are some of the main features that can help us define Web 3.0:
The semantic web improves web technologies in demand to create, share and connect content through search and analysis based on the capability to comprehend the meaning of words, rather than on keywords or numbers. The idea is that a machine cannot know the difference between a jaguar (the animal) and a Jaguar (the car), therefore it needs to understand the context in which it is being described.
Combined with natural language processing, in Web 3.0, computers can distinguish information like humans in order to provide faster and more relevant results.
The three-dimensional design is being used widely in websites and services in Web 3.0. Museum guides, computer games and e-Commerce are all examples that use 3D graphics.
Semantic metadata allows information to be more connected with Web 3.0. This evolves the user experience to another level of connectivity that leverages all the available information.
Internet content and services can be accessed anywhere at any time via any number of devices, rather than exclusively via computers and smartphones. The growth of IoT devices will take the ubiquity of Web 2.0 to new levels.
With blockchain technology, user data is protected and encrypted. This prevents large corporations from controlling or using users’ personal data for their gain.
Edge computing is a foundational technology for Web 3.0, and will make it possible to support data-heavy Web 3.0 applications that leverage video, augmented and virtual reality, and AI. It involves moving computing and storage functions closer to data sources at the edge of the network. This decreases the distance that data needs to travel, and enables faster processing.
Decentralised data networks store data within a peer-to-peer interconnection. Users maintain ownership over their data and digital assets and are able to log in securely over the internet without being tracked.
What do these features mean for users?
Decentralised Finance (Defi) will be more readily available, including in developing countries, leading to the reduction of monopolistic behaviour
Selling data to third parties will be much more complex without first obtaining user permissions
With web 3.0, we as users will be able to decide which pieces of information we share on a case by case basis (some platforms may even offer to pay for data with crypto)
Users will be able to access information much more easily such as passport details or those of other important documents in a digital wallet
3.0 will use the best of AI and machine learning to improve online services
Decentralised web apps can allow machine learning programmes to analyse private or sensitive data without the owner sharing it directly (mainly through the blockchain). This could be hugely beneficial in medical research or software design.
DAO’S Can Enhance Innovation
Decentralised Autonomous Organisations would mean that anyone who owns a DAO token in a particular platform can vote on changes to the platform and suggest new features.
Decentralised platforms will be hosted on peer to peer networks all over the world. These will have no one point of failure so even if a platform is attacked, it will still stay up and running. Anyone can decide who uses what platforms and what they say online. This is excellent for freedom of speech, however it also has its drawbacks. Serious concerns have been raised about the spread of illegal content online as no one will be censored.
The lack of censorship is one of the main concerns with Web 3.0, however it is set to bring about some huge advantages. These include:
More efficient societies as we remove rent parties we no longer need
Sharing useful data with others without sacrificing privacy
Ending reliance on centralised monopolies like wall street banks and tech giants
The new internet will lead to a more personal and customised browsing experience, a smarter and more human-like search assistant, and other benefits designed to make the web more equal as each individual user takes greater control over their own data.
It may seem impossible to believe that the internet could be any more integrated in our lives, however when Web 3.0 eventually arrives, the new advances will make this inevitable.
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