Moving from Web 2.0 to 3.0
The notes below are what I read off during a short talk at Purpose.do Conference in Sydney on 28 February 2018. The panels focus was on ethics and technology, and how we move forward.
In preparing for the talk, I became interested in power, and specifically how business liberates or concentrates power. How might blockchain, or Web 3.0 disrupt the incumbent power base?
It was a short talk (~5mins) followed by a little over an hour of questions and answers.
Why are we here, what seems to bother us about the current web?
The current web (or “web 2.0”) is largely defined by large global businesses who rely on network effects and data monopolies to maintain their businesses.
They established themselves by offering a great deal of value during their early operations. But this is because they had to, this is how they got to market, aggressively acquiring users to establish their network effects
But once the network effects were established, they switched from value creation to value extraction. And this is what (I would argue) is leading to the feeling of discomfort today
Somewhere along the way these tech giants have challenged their social contract
We’re left feeling “we didn’t sign up for this”
We didn’t agree to have our data used in this way
So what is Web 3.0 and why am I optimistic?
We (at Typehuman) define Web 3.0 as the decentralised web
There are now 1000’s of developers and entrepreneurs reimagining the web atop of this new infrastructure
There are two features of Web 3.0, we believe, go a way to solving the current critiques of the web, while offering a tool to entrepreneurs to create new value for society
These are (1) economic incentives; and (2) network architecture
Under Web 3.0 we have the blockchain. Using blockchain technology we can become our own central banks. This enables us to incorporate trusted economic incentives into experiences, creating new communities on scales we haven’t seen before.
Perhaps we’ll see new digital communes reminiscent of the 60s/70s hippy movement. More likely, we’ll see new forms of collectivism enabled by this new economic infrastructure, bringing in a new economic network effect. In many ways the well intended ICO’s of 2017 are an example of these emerging forms of new collectivism.
There are many aspects to the Web 3.0 network architecture; I’d like to focus on just one — data property rights.
Web 3.0 enables data property rights to be feasible via distributed file store technology (such as IPFS and swarm). Think of this like a torrent file, except that it is now highly available, and easily incorporated into a web app by a developer.
As a result, developers can now choose where they store your personal data — in a central server owned by a large organisation, readily available for their advertising team — or — in the distributed file system, where the user explicitly states who has access to what and when.
This technology goes a long way to disrupting the businesses built around data monopolies we see today
I believe web 3.0 will be characterised by a shift from businesses defined by networks effects and data monopolies to new collectivism and data property rights.
While I have focused mostly on the tech here, we are seeing regulators move too. The general data protection regulation (GDPR) in the European Union is seeking to uphold similar principles when it comes to user data rights and ownership.
The next several years could see our digital lives transformed as a result of new Web 3.0 technologies, together with progressive regulation enabling new innovations to enter the market, and an informed consumer base
Typehuman is a Web 3.0 venture studio. We work with people and organisations looking to understand and apply Web 3.0 technologies
It’s our belief that this technology not only addresses some of the critiques of the current web (“Web 2.0”); but presents an opportunity for new wave of societal value creation.