These are just some of the terms you need to be familiar with in order to grasp the idea of “Web 3.0.”
Web 1.0 happened in the 90s when internet users looked at static web pages that took forever to load, and Web 2.0 was the era of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, which allowed users to interact with each other online.
Web 3.0 is the latest iteration of these web technologies. It is not one specific innovation but a cluster of tech innovations that bolster and build on each other to accomplish miraculous feats.
Web 3.0, as we know it, is still in its nascent stages. It is still being defined, discovered and developed. Mind-boggling though the latest innovations may be, we still have ways to go.
But when all is said and done, here’s what a Web 3.0 experience could look like.
Characteristics of Web 3.0
Although the crypto industry is having a nightmarish couple of quarters, what with the fall of (among others), FTX and the mismanagement and malpractices that came to light in its aftermath, cryptocurrencies are an important part of Web 3.0.
More specifically, blockchain technology, with its present and future use cases, herald a world where data and value are not safeguarded and controlled by a single and central entity but distributed across a network of stakeholders.
In financial transactions, for example, the idea is that there will be no one big entity like a Paypal or a Visa to serve as a clearinghouse for all transactions. It will instead happen in the blockchain.
Power will not be held by a few, but by all. It is a kind of democratization of power so that not one large corporate entity can monopolize or dictate events.
[Early experiments in decentralization, however, ironically have resulted in centralization and high concentrations of power. For example, “Bitcoin mining” fell into the hands of a few powerful miners, who became the new powerbrokers. Or, in the case of FTX, billions in wealth fell into the hands of one Sam Bankman-Fried who turned out to be less than trustworthy.]
As mentioned, we are still in the early stages of this technological iteration, and as the “Dot Com” collapse of the 90s, which eventually led to a more robust ecosystem, there will be birth pains along the way.
The blockchain and its sister technologies have practical uses, and with the full realization of Web 3.0, decentralization can be an everyday experience for you and me.
Automatic & Autonomous
Web 3.0 will take much of the work and decision-making from human hands in favour of algorithms than can make decisions, even run entire organizations, without much input from flesh and blood.
Human input would be largely in making the rules, and coding the instructions that computers will follow. After that, the show is run with little assistance from us.
This goes beyond automating e-commerce or having bots that do the work for you. Automation can be embedded into the functions of everyday objects that we deal with. The Internet Of Things can, for example, see driverless cars on the road that can self-detect and future-detect any malfunction, and make a call to make an appointment with the nearest car mechanic.
A home fridge can sense its contents, their expiration dates and even count the calories. If it sees you are low on milk, it can automatically put an order for a few cartons and send a driverless car to come to pick it up (with the other groceries). In all likelihood, the order will be fulfilled by a robot that lifts the items from the shelves.
The irony of Web 3.0 is that it takes humans away from the equation only to try to make the experience “human-like.”
AI and ML are key to this. Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning are at the beating heart of Web 3.0.
How do computers pull off miraculous feats? It’s because of these two.
By “teaching” computers, (or feeding them billions of data sets), we now have programs that can:
– understand words and language like a human
– see and interpret things like a human
– remember things more than a human
– “learn” things faster than a human
Automation wouldn’t work, if the decisions computers make are faulty, erroneous or erratic. Automation and autonomy are only useful because we know they are precise, consistent and unburdened by the biases of a human decision-maker.
Artificial Intelligence has come of late because of the immense processing power computers now have. With billions of datasets in memory, programs can write full news articles, diagnose a condition from a set of symptoms, or adjudicate a case from a given set of facts.
You can converse with a chatbot and find the experience more human-like than when talking with your grandma.
Web 3.0 is “smart.” It knows the fastest route to get to your destination. It can recognize your face from millions. And it knows you will click on this or that YouTube recommendation.
Web 3.0 Tools
We know that one technology has truly embedded itself into society when people take it for granted. Today, we spare no thought at the miracle of being able to share pictures with friends on the other side of the globe.
Web 2.0 has made the internet experience interactive and we’re not only able to exchange text messages and pictures, but also stream live videos to any screen around the world willing to give us the time of day. We’re able to share with millions the tiniest, most insignificant thoughts of our day, and we never even blink twice to ponder the feat that it is.
Web 3.0 tools and capabilities are yet to be designed, beta-tested, and conceived. (Many are still on the hunt for funding.)
We know that Web 3.0 is yet to embed itself into the human culture because, as of the moment, we are left utterly enthralled by the early tools of this Web 3.0 era. Unlike their predecessors that are hiding in plain sight, these tools remain as odd curiosities, and we are tickled pink each time we witness the “magic” that happens before our very eyes.
Some examples of these early releases include:
This is an AI picture-generating machine that can create out-of-this-world images that are jaw-droppingly specific.
Let’s say you have a very specific picture requirement for a blog or article. You’ve searched the web for it and nothing really comes close. You can simply go to DALL.E and type in the image that you want to see.
The machine understands your written prompt and creates an original image based on what you’ve written. Say, you want “Teddy bears working on new AI research underwater with 1990s technology.” (This incidentally is what you’ll see as the example on DALL.E’s Wikipedia page.)
The images will only be limited by your imagination. You can type in prompts like:
– giraffe with wings on fire.
– an astronaut eating a watermelon
– armchair in the shape of an avocado
The AI will generate several images for you and you get to pick which one tickles your fancy.
Most chatbots have limited answers and recognized queries. This one blows all other AI wannabes out of the water.
Chat GPT (Generative Pre-Trained Transformer) can conceivably be a Google Search killer (Or at least clip its wings). The machine can respond, quite intelligently, to your questions like:
Any ideas for a romantic proposal?
How long is the train ride from Madrid to Valencia?
Does that train have wifi?
Summarize “War And Peace” for me.
Summarize “War And Peace” in 12 words.
With Chat GPT3, you can be the toddler who never runs out of questions. Only this bot doesn’t get annoyed or send you to fetch coffee. It can explain things to you, tutor you on certain topics, and write articles, and poems. It can even write code and debug your own. Chat GPT can take tests, and manipulate data.
The interaction is so human-like you could be forgiven for thinking you are actually chatting with a real person.
Things are getting weird.
A couple of years ago, Pokémon GO was all the rage.
Web AR or Web-based Augmented Reality works in the same vein. It superimposes digital content with the real world, combining the real world with the virtual world. All that without downloading a separate app or software.
This has several use cases, particularly in advertising. It allows people to interact with the product without actually going to the store or getting hold of the actual product. Web AR allows people to do 360° visualization—like being able to look at a new car from all angles. It can let shoppers try on products virtually and see how they would look before purchasing dresses, sunglasses, or shoes. A piece of furniture can be fitted into the room and seen how it would look if it were placed on different sides of a room or come in different colours.
Web AR bridges digital content with the real world and makes for an immersive and engaging experience. The technology has potential use cases in education, travel, events and gaming.
That’s Web 3.0 for you. And there are plenty more exciting developments in the pipeline!
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