The Internet has been the single greatest invention of mankind which paved the way for the interconnected nature of the current society. Since its earliest days, the internet has made vast information accessible through a few clicks. Over the course of the last three decades, the internet has gone through a drastic change. And it is on the brink of another major shift through web 3.0. What is web 3.0? and how does it change the existing internet? Let’s find out.
What is Web 3.0?
There is no specific explanation of the concept of web 3.0 other than it aims to give control back to the people. The central aim of web 3.0 is to create the internet as a decentralized autonomous entity free from the control of a handful of companies. It plans to incorporate blockchain technology to make sure each individual interacting with the internet has a free choice beyond the existing algorithms.
To better understand what web 3.0 aims to achieve, it is important to understand the previous iterations of the internet. The current internet as it is known is actually web 2.0. Before web 2.0 was the web 1.0 or the primary. It spanned from 1991 to 2004.
During this time, the internet was mostly static. All information, webpage, data, and everything available on the internet were just for viewing by the internet users. Granted this was a time when very few people used the internet, and even fewer, maybe a handful of people who actually created content.
That all changed with the launch of web 2.0. The second iteration of the web was meant to be more inclusive. It was given the nickname of the social internet because of the connectivity opportunities it brought. Platforms like Google, Facebook, YouTube provided a space for people to have dynamic interaction.
People were not simple observers anymore. Rather anyone could create content, share opinions for the world to see. As a result, the users of the internet saw a drastic rise over the years. Today over 59% of the population are connected to the internet and the number is still rising.
However, even the seemingly perfect version of the internet, web 2.0 has its limitations. And like all other things, limitations give rise to new inventions. In this case, a new future of the internet.
What Will Web 3.0 Change?
Now the current web 2.0 is not perfect in every way. While this web has paved the way for connectivity and socialization, it has failed to address two important aspects. The issue of privacy and data censoring.
Web 2.0 enables the users to create videos, posts, blogs on different streaming and social media sites. But this huge volume of content is strictly controlled by a handful of companies like Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook, and Microsoft. Now the question may arise, how do they control the data if the internet is free?
Think about the typical internet usage of an average person. They might wake up in the morning and browse some Facebook. Watch a YouTube video with breakfast and check Gmail for emails. The evening might be spent watching Amazon Prime videos. What is a common thing between all these services?
All of these are owned by the companies mentioned above. A person needs to agree with all the terms and conditions to use the services. That in turn allows the companies to have free access to the data.
There is a common saying about tech services, “If it is free, then you’re the product”. The same principle applies here, all the free services come at the cost of unrelenting access to personal data.
Web 3.0 plans to change all that. While web 2.0 made the internet a social place, web 3.0 will provide power to the users. The upcoming web 3.0 will stop having unrestricted control over what is seen and what is said. The power of privacy shall remain with the user and the user will determine their interaction with the internet, not some algorithm.
How Will Web 3.0 Work?
Web 3.0 will work based on a few key features. They are – decentralized web, semantic web, AI, and transparency.
Since the next generation of web will heavily rely on decentralization of the existing web, it will require massive automation to kickstart the change. The existing automation related to security is in blockchain and cryptocurrency. Cryptocurrency has led the charge in decentralized finance or DeFi. So, it is expected that blockchain and cryptocurrency will play a huge role in automation and data security in the new age of the internet.
Then comes the semantics and AI. The use of smart gadgets in everyday life is already apparent. There are smart home controls, car controls, and lots more. The Internet of Things or IoT will lead the charge in the new web. For a seamless interaction between gadgets, the internet, and humans, there is no alternative to AI.
Combining all these together, the new age of the web will give control back to the people. It will essentially be like a fresh start. The big techs will have to figure out how to serve the users without making them the direct product of their service.
Users will have full control over their data thanks to the decentralized nature of blockchain. Beyond the obvious choice of preference and data security aside, people will be truly free to choose how and what content they want to interact with within the internet.
The concept of Web 3.0 has been making rounds since as early as 2006. But due to the high central nature of the current web, it has not been able to make much headway. Many naysayers feel the transition will not take place. But the trickling effects of web 3.0 are already apparent. It is just a matter of time when the control of the big techs will be equally matched by the users.