Today, “Web 2.0” is an industry standard term, if not a popularly understood one, and its history suggests that “Web 3.0” at least has a good shot at adoption — as a word, anyway. As a technology, environment, tool or doorway to “virtual reality,” Web 3.0 will thrive to the extent that our technology and content get smarter and smarter, individually and jointly. Adding meaning to data with the Semantic Web and microformats, and adding smarts to applications, means better help for people by way of natural language searches, semantic searches, “recommendation agents,” decision-making wizards and so on.
A great example is email. The various email systems such as Gmail, Outlook, Hotmail etc., exchange emails efficiently because their industry has created interoperable data standards and open-source tools that they all utilize. They do not need to develop separate code for each different email system they are sending emails to. Imagine the cost and the lift if each company had to “invent” email every time they set out to make their solution.
The hand-me-down nature of data systems that have been adapted to our needs instead of designed for them is probably one of the major reasons we have not yet solved this puzzle. This is an exciting time for our industry, not just because we are likely on the cusp of many great new innovations, but because we have been invited to the table to represent fresh produce and floral in the earliest phases of development.
In this first session, we sat down with CoLab’s Joe Gerber and Gavin McDermott to talk about the distributed web and blockchains and why it’s important to experiment with these emerging technologies. Many people conflate blockchain technology and bitcoin, but as Joe and Gavin discussed, bitcoin is a digital currency and one small piece of a larger movement powered by blockchain technology and the distributed web. In this post, we’ll break down why, as Joe and Gavin say, the web is being rewritten from the inside out.
Joe and Gavin boiled down their thinking for why blockchain technology and the distributed web are so game-changing to three core principles:
- People now have permission by default
- Data flowing freely
- New types of coordination
The World Wide Web was born in 1989 — as a formless, borderless entity for information sharing. A digital commons for all, the Web has since nurtured the world’s most valuable companies: Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet, and Amazon have all hit the trillion-dollar mark. But the digital awakening of the Web has also roused unintended effects: cyberattacks are now the norm, while privacy is not. Inequality and disaffection are at all-time-highs. How did the Web contribute to these phenomena? And how should we reshape the Web into a more positive force? The key answer surfaces as we view the Web as a sentient digital being.