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Web 3.0

by Reid Kaikini

Web 3.0 is best described as an ecosystem for new technology concepts and would function as a decentralized, autonomous internet. But before learning about Web 3.0, we must understand the stages of the internet. Web 1.0 was the earliest version of the internet. It was essentially a static and basic connected server which had little user interaction or content generation. Later, with the emergence of companies such as Meta, Youtube, Google, etc. Web 2.0 began to develop. Web 2.0 allows users to connect and collaborate through social media dialogue. Web 2.0 has massive technology corporations which regulate the flow of information online. And now humanity is on the brink of Web 3.0.

Web 3.0 was originally conceptualized as Semantic Web by Tim Berners-Lee. However the term ‘Web 3.0’ was coined by the co-founder of Ethereum, Gavin Wood. The rise of technologies such as distributed ledgers and storage on blockchain will allow for data decentralization and create a transparent and secure environment, overtaking Web 2.0’s centralization, surveillance and exploitative advertising. Decentralized infrastructure and application platforms will displace centralized tech giants, and individuals will be able to rightfully own their data. Web 3.0 may be constructed with artificial intelligence, semantic web and ubiquitous properties in mind.

The idea behind using AI comes from the goal of providing faster, more relevant data to end-users. A website using AI should be able to filter through and provide the data it thinks a specific user will find appropriate. AI could be used to separate the legitimate results from the falsified. An artificially intelligent web would include digital assistants and other such features. Semantic web incorporates machine learning to process information better than human operators.

The Semantic Web did not materialize for a number of reasons. The primary reason was that the technology, referred to as RDF (resource description framework), was nearly impossible to implement. How can a machine know the difference between a jaguar (the animal) and a Jaguar (the car)? The only way to know the difference is to understand the context in which it is being described. Connecting concepts and building taxonomies for every word are monumentally difficult tasks, which, for now, computers are incapable of.

What are the advantages that Web 3.0 presents? Perhaps the most important advantage, true ownership of personal data. Large conglomerates exploit user information for financial gain. Users would gain real property rights over information and digital real estate. Other advantages include privacy, transparency and reliability. Web 3.0 would offer a more refined search personalization by utilizing machine learning.

What are the disadvantages of Web 3.0? While the average user would utilize the new internet similarly to the old, certain individuals would misuse this freedom. The same way the decentralized pseudonymous crypto transactions could be used for nefarious purposes. Without security, people would be privy to misinformation and hateful views.

Web 3.0 is conceptualized to put the internet back in the hands of the users rather than mega corporations which currently regulate all things on the internet. However, many influential people in the industry believe that Web 3.0 is “an annoying distraction”. While the aim of Web 3.0 is admirable to some extent, many of the cryptocurrencies utilized as well as blockchain and semantic technologies are controlled by investors and silicon valley insiders.

Much of the interest revolving around Web 3.0 is related to the fear of missing out on a seemingly potential revolutionary step in the world of technology. Just as in the beginning stages of the internet (or Web 1.0), many lacked foresight for the immense applications it provided. Web 3.0 is increasingly gaining importance with the rise of NFTs, Cryptocurrencies and the Metaverse. And it may become a new stage for the roles of modern technology in society. Though, there is some speculation that Web 3.0 is reliant on the popularity of blockchain for all of its applications. If the crypto bubble bursts (the assumed value of a currency, in relation to its “real” value), it is likely that Web 3.0 will go down with it.

In summary, Web 3.0 is a highly controversial concept which could potentially be beneficial to society, or be used for nefarious purposes or never really take off. Any way it should develop, it would side by side with all other recent concepts. Web 3.0 is a fascinating concept which will continue to evolve under careful scrutiny and supervision from all kinds of people.

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