If you have encountered this term, “Web 3.0” countless times now and are still figuring out what it means, pat your back. Why? Because a couple of days ago, one of my posts on LinkedIn got a comment, “What? There’s three versions of web?” And even if you are a part of that clan, I assure that I am going to take it from the top in this post. There are a very few statements one can apply to all the situations in life. One such statement is that life is a uphill road, if you aren’t going up, you’re definitely coming down. And why only life? The same applies to every product/software too. Even the internet has followed this trajectory now. With this ever evolving technology, we are on a brink of another shift that is happening as we speak. Let’s explore it’s nuances. What is web3.0?
What is Web 1.0?
Internet became a thing about 30 years ago in 1991. But it was not the same as we know of today. In it’s early days, internet was simply a massive encyclopedia put on a server. In other words, it was just a giant repository of information. Think of it as a read only version of the internet. All you could do is go, read and consume the information. There was no interaction and you were nothing more than a consumer.
Even ads that we see today weren’t a thing back then. This era continued till the next shift that happened in 2004.
What is Web 2.0?
In this era, internet evolved and so did you. Now you could interact with internet like never before. Sharing opinions and thoughts became easier. You could spread the word amongst masses by creating content in the form of posts, blogs, videos, reels etc. Others could validate your thoughts by sharing their consent using likes, shares and comments.
It is the era of communities, influencers and KOLs. If you still haven’t guessed it, I am talking the great Social Media. Facebook, Twitter, Youtube pioneered this era and are leading it from the forefront.
Newer business models emerged in this phase. The infamous quote “Data is the new Oil” became extremely relevant. In web2.0, you as an individual also evolved from a consumer to a product. I’ll explain how:
You started sharing some data with social media giants in the form of likes and shares. Because you like these apps, you are willing to give away your privacy for them. However, there is some additional data which these companies started capturing. Ex. your location, favorite restaurant, your search history etc. As a result these companies could now come up with highly accurate content predictions to keep you hooked on their platforms.
Once they were able to do that, they could pitch you targeted products and make money off you. Imagine I am a pharmaceutical company, making drugs for a super rare disease. It’ll be really hard to find my customers right? So I go to Google/Facebook and seek data of people making such searches/having a purchase history of related drugs/part of support groups catering to the disease. At this point, it is extremely easy for me to sell now.
Problems with Web2.0:
All of us are aware about the soup Facebook is in right now. Here are a few problems that emerged with the evolution of web2.0
Everything that you do is traceable. Your location, preferences, relationships, opinions and even the mental state. I always say that Facebook knows about you more than your spouse. May be even more than yourself for that matter. If this falls in the wrong set of hands, it could easily change the course of humanity.
We are already seeing political parties using these platforms in the name of campaign to polarize the environment.
I create content (like the one you are reading right now) on WordPress. I put it on Google for listing. Some black box algorithm decides the rank on which this article will be displayed. I have also enrolled for Google AdSense. That means Google will show targeted ads to my readers and pay me if they click on it. This fees is extracted from the brands which run these ads and I only get a percentage of it. Google takes the cut too.
But if you think about it, I worked really hard to put this out right? I researched, wrote, proof-read this and hundreds of other blogposts that I have written. Why should I give my share of revenue to someone? Especially when that someone isn’t even telling me the logic behind listing my article on a certain rank. Everything I write deserves to be in top 10 in my opinion. Why should I spend time figuring out how to rank higher?
Governments snooping on it’s citizens isn’t new. However, you can still trust them to use that data for general good of the country. But private corporates? It’s all about profits for them.
Back in 2017, a Google Algorithm started showing a man parenting related items. Algorithm predicted that he is going to be a father even before he did. This is probably because algorithm successfully established a relationship between that man and his wife, his wife might have searched for her symptoms online and who knows if it knew her ovulating dates as well.
Such a powerful tool in the hands of a central authority can be really dangerous. Facebook/Twitter call the shots on banning anyone. Sure, it is governed by a policy but there is always an element of subjectivity involved.
What is Web3.0:
With the onset of blockchain revolution, this idea was conceived. I talk about it a lot already. Blockchain is as fundamental as the internet itself. It is not just about cryptocurrencies and money. It is way more than that.
Since the fundamentals of blockchain involve running a distributed ledger on multiple computers, no single entity can assert a control over the internet. It would just be a dream of a utopian world if I won’t quote some examples here.
Are you aware about TikTok? When India shut it down, multiple apps came and tried to take it’s place. One such app is Chingari. Chingari is now coming up with $GARI token. This token is supposed to be used to tip and pay creators in real time on the platform.
Similarly there’s another platform called Odyssey which is an alternative to YouTube run by a token called $LBRY. Creators get rewarded in these tokens for the videos they upload on the basis of views.
So we now have a decentralized, monetizable platform under the purview of web3.0.
But with that being said, not all is rainbows and colours. There are certain problems web3.0 carries along with it which are yet to be solved:
It is a general assumption that censorship resistant platforms are better for the society. But who knows? This can shape into a devil of its own kind. Therefore we need to see how this pans out. There is a solution in terms of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations or DAOs. But that’s a topic of it’s own.
Also, taking down a post won’t be easy. Since data is stored on multiple computers it won’t be same as deleting it from one centralized location.
If this article makes sense to you, congratulations! You just equipped yourself with fundamental knowhow of a world changing technology. It is going to take over sooner than you think. However, if you did not, it is my humble urge to get started. This is going to impact the way you and I work.
What do you think?
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Until next time..
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