Will 2022 see the emergence of Web 3.0, the next iteration of the Internet?


Representative image. | Photo credit: iStock images

Highlights

  • From Google’s search engine to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, the move to Web 2.0 hinged on expanding interactivity and connectivity.
  • However, during this trip, something absolutely fundamental to Tim Berners-Lee’s vision for the Internet was lost – the concept of decentralization.
  • There are good reasons we have yet to see the emergence of Web 3.0 and a lot of it is because the technologies needed to make it a reality did not exist. it changes quickly

With 4.66 billion people worldwide actively using the World Wide Web, the Internet, as a network of users, has become one of the most valuable creations in history, if not the most precious. It’s a good thing that there isn’t just one entity or a small cartel of them that has control over it, is it? Wrong.

When famous computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee published his seminal paper, “Information Management: A Proposal” describing the basic skeleton of the World Wide Web, he envisioned it as a network of nodes interconnected in a decentralized fashion without having need a single authority. to control or coordinate it.

It was a pursuit of great ambition and great imagination and ultimately led to the first iteration of the internet which we now call Web 1.0. Web 1.0 was, in large part, characterized by an interconnected network of static resources made accessible through physical servers. Information was organized in directories and communication was essentially one-way.

But the early 2000s brought with it an explosion of new technologies that paved the way for the creation of richer, scalable platforms that harness the power of user engagement and collective intelligence. From Google’s search engine to social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, the move to Web 2.0 hinged on expanding interactivity and connectivity.

However, on this journey, something absolutely fundamental to Berners-Lee’s vision of the Internet was lost – the concept of decentralization. The English scientist saw the Internet as something for everyone. But the interconnected experience that Web 2.0 offers us has ultimately forced us to give up the freedom we have over the content and data we share or create.

It is this freedom that Web 3.0 promises to give back to users. The development and proliferation of new technologies such as blockchain and generative AI now mean that we are moving ever closer to Berners-Lee’s vision – which many have referred to as Web 3.0.

Web 3.0 has eluded the definition thus far and, in truth, probably will be even in the year to come. But in platforms, technologies and assets such as the Cloud, Wolfram Alpha, Apple’s Siri and Bitcoin, we are already seeing the characteristics that will, inevitably, define it.

The reality is that, as it is, there are only a handful of gatekeepers left on the internet, including Meta (originally Facebook), Google, and Microsoft. But the decentralized nature of Web 3.0 will mean that users will be able to fully control the content they create, interact and share, with data no longer stored on centralized servers governed and operated by one or more authorities.

But there is much more to this. Web 3.0 is also built on the Semantic Web, a notion where artificial intelligence goes far beyond simply copying and performing repetitive tasks, but understands the context and conceptual nuances so that it can store, organize. and present data in a fully personalized way that suits every unique user. . The algorithms will be able to understand combinations of images, video, text and audio to organize information and web experiences for specific users. And all this facilitated by encryption and blockchain technology that does not compromise on privacy.

There are good reasons we have yet to see the emergence of Web 3.0 and a lot of it is because the technologies needed to make it a reality did not exist. While that can quickly change, the assembly required for widespread adoption, such as new mobile devices with higher functionality, sophisticated privacy regulation, and low-cost web infrastructure, is still missing. Nonetheless, with the speed at which innovation is unfolding, 2022 is bound to bring some exciting new developments.


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