The Decentralized Web (3.0) – How the Internet is Changing for the Better!

WEB 3.0

Web 3.0 (or Decentralized Web) to revolutionize the world of Internet Era through Blockchain, Big Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence.

There has been a buzz around the Web 3.0 and the disruption it will bring to the Industry, but only a few know actually why it spawned and what is it about to transform. Let us travel back in time to understand and examine its predecessors – Web 1.0 and 2.0

Web 1.0:

In the early 90s’ web 1.0 was the first generation of the ‘World Wide Web’ it was based primarily on the technology of HTTP which worked to link documents on different computers and make them accessible over the internet. HTML was then used to display these documents so that any connected computer with a browser could access and read a web page. This first iteration of the web was all about information as it enabled us to exchange data much more efficiently and hence got the name ‘information superhighway’ even though it was a revolution in information exchange. Content creators were few with the vast majority of users simply acting as consumers of content. It was very static and lacked interaction and terribly slow to streaming of music and videos or downloading of a song…which would take at least a day.

Web 2.0:

The Web 2.0 websites allowed users to interact, collaborate and become the creators of their content. With web 2.0, people not only could read from the web but also write to it and thus got the nickname the “ReadWrite-Publish Era” web. By the early 2000’s new server-side scripting technologies such as PHP enabled developers to easily build applications where people could write information to a database with that information then being dynamically updated every time they refresh the page –  almost all of the websites that dominate the web today are based on this server-side scripting technology. Web 2.0 gave the social networking, blogging, video sharing, eBay, YouTube, Facebook, and all the other large platforms where most people spend most of their time on the internet.

Information or Data is Money:

With increasing internet users, the United Nations estimated the growth from 738 million to 3.2 billion  from 2000 to 2015 which is an unfathomable amount of data available. The large digital corporations realized that personal information is the precious asset. Hence began the mass accumulation of data in the centralised servers with Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter being the biggest custodians of it. People sacrificed data privacy and security for these convenient services; whether they know it or not, their personal information such as browsing habits, identities, online shopping and search information is sold to the highest bidder.

The Web 3.0 Revolution:

The idea of Web 3.0 has been around for a while, but it’s only very recently (with the development of blockchain) that it is actually starting to become something real. Web 2.0 has evolved to become highly centralized around very large platforms running out of the ever-larger data centre’s creating many issues surrounding security, privacy, control and concentration of power in the hands of large enterprises. It is only today that these issues are starting to enter into mainstream discourse. Rather than to concentrate the data and power in the hands of large behemoths with questionable motives, it would be returned to the owners concerned.

The industry and technologists have been making big claims about the potential of blockchain technology to revolutionize the foundations of the socio-economic organization. Today powerful technological changes are coalescing to take us into a new technology paradigm… these include the rise of the advanced analytics coupled with datafication and the Internet of Things.

Web 3.0 is set to disrupt this whole technology paradigm due to the Decentralisation of the web. The blockchain provides the protocols and cryptography for a globally distributed network of computers to collaborate on maintaining a secure public database, and with a virtual machine like Ethereum, we can run code on this creating a new set of distributed applications.

These new technologies of the blockchain and distributed web enables us to reconfigure the internet into a distributed global computer so we are no longer dependent upon the web platforms and data centres of web 2.0 to run the internet but now can build and run applications on this shared global computing infrastructure. It starts with the realisation that the internet we know today is only one possible interpretation of the original vision of an open peer-to-peer network independent of any centralised technology, commercial entity, or sovereign government… think of it as a first curve internet, one that is increasingly vulnerable to abuse and even collapses.

To date, we’ve largely taken the infrastructure of the internet for granted. All of the innovation and action has been focused on the application layer that sits on top of it on web applications like social networking or e-commerce. With the development of blockchain and particularly with this third generation, we’re starting to innovate on the low-level protocols asking not if we can build a better web application; but if we can build a better internet, the implications of the decentralised web are indeed radical. In that, it enables us to create automated services, dis-intermediate existing incumbents and enable people to set up their own secure networks of exchange empowering them in new ways. Blockchain will be a core part of web 3.0, but the next-generation internet would also see the convergence of the Internet of Things and the big data analytics.

The next-generation internet will be much smarter in comparison to the web 1.0 which was static, and web 2.0 which is/was dynamic while web 3.0 will incorporate various aspects of machine learning and cognitive computing as a service, as it becomes infused into almost all applications making the web truly adaptive, responsive and personalized. Its true that web 1.0 and web 2.0 were largely about people exchanging information. In web 3.0 machines will come online and the internet will become something much more physical as billions of devices and actuators connected to all sorts of things from tractors to watches to factories and drones enabling them to interact and coordinate machine to machine. The value of the Internet of Things (IoT) will not be in making one device or system smart and it will be in enabling seamless processes across systems. This will require open networks that can communicate and coordinate components on-demand across domains, organizations and the systems.

To summarise, Blockchain, the Internet of Things, Advanced analytics and Artificial Intelligence are potent technologies that will have a profound effect on society. They will take us much further into this new world of the information age as power shifts in a radical way from people in hierarchical institutions to automated networks and the algorithms that can coordinate in the Web 3.0 era.

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