The future of the Internet is (almost) here…but what is it exactly?
Web 3.0 is a term that’s popping up everywhere these days—from business, financial, and tech news, to NPR stories, to Twitter bios. It’s the future, and it seems to be coming soon, but most people don’t really know what it means.
For most of us, the Internet is just the Internet—so much a part of our daily lives, we hardly think about it at all. Of course, we can vaguely remember that the World Wide Web wasn’t always exactly as it is today—there was a time before we got friended and liked, before google was a verb. But as its uses and capabilities have evolved and expanded all around us, while already integrated into everything we do, we rarely consider it as a concept. If Web 3.0 is coming… what were Web 1.0 and 2.0?
Web 1.0 launched in 1989, when English computer scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web, “an Internet-based hypermedia initiative for global information sharing” (World Wide Web Foundation). Initially launched as a communication and data-sharing resource for scientists, its key innovation was the hyperlink, which allowed the user to jump quickly and easily between documents, and untethered information from physical storage and network layers. But in that first iteration, which lasted from the early 1990s to the early 2000s, the WWW consisted of mostly static pages, and very little dynamic HTML content. It had many users but relatively few content creators.
The Web 2.0 era began in the early 2000s as the Internet became an interactive platform that relies heavily on user-generated content. Consumers became active participants through commenting, self-publishing platforms, apps, etc. Growth exploded through social networks, mobile access, and powerful, comprehensive, user-friendly search engines.
However, the tech giants that control the servers now dominate the Internet. In this model, data is power—and money. Corporations demand user data in exchange for access to information, platforms, and services, then monetize that data through advertising. Not only do users not own their own data, but user experience is diminished by constant, intrusive advertising; surveillance is everywhere.
Web 3.0 represents the next stage in the evolution of Internet technology and services, in which power is returned to the user. It actually reflects Berners-Lee’s original mission for the Web. He envisioned a “utopian,” autonomous, open, intelligent Internet, in which anyone, anywhere, at any time could freely access the very best information. He called it the Semantic Web, meaning that computers would eventually process information in a manner similar to human understanding.
Web 3.0 should greatly benefit content creators and users, and engender greater equity.
Since Web 3.0 doesn’t really exist yet, it’s hard to define precisely. But that doesn’t mean it’s just a mythical cyber Shangri-La. The next-generation Internet will have several distinct defining features:
Decentralized: Built on blockchain technology—a digital bookkeeping system that stores data by distributing it across several databases, making it virtually impossible to cheat or hack (as in cryptocurrencies)—there will be no central control and no single point of failure.
Trustless: Users will no longer need to trust a third party or corporation with their data and money.
Permissionless: Corporate gatekeepers will be eliminated, users will not need permission to access information, and they will own their own data.
Artificial Intelligence (AI), and machine learning will combine with the notion of a Semantic Web, allowing users to access more relevant data, faster, as computers recognize, sort, and supply data in ever more advanced ways.
3D Graphics will enhance user experience of websites featuring maps, guides, games, e-commerce, and more.
Throughout the first 20 years of the Internet, many traditional businesses have not evolved quickly enough to keep up. As Forbes magazine points out, “Search engines and social media platforms driven by user-generated content disrupted the media, advertising and retail industries. As a result, giant companies in retail and publishing that did not adapt have died or are struggling to stay alive.”
As technology gallops ahead, your business needs a partner that can help you modernize and continue to grow. Working side-by-side with your team, Lukasa helps match internal operations with the new technologies that make the most sense for your company. Bringing business and tech together seamlessly, we develop and implement innovative, integrated, custom solutions to transform your company, and ensure that it’s strong and agile for the ever-evolving modern digital climate.
About Lukasa - lukasa.com
Lukasa empowers small-to-medium-sized businesses by designing and implementing custom business and technology solutions that drive efficiency, productivity, and innovation, enabling them to stay ahead in today’s rapidly-changing competitive landscape.