Web3 Will Fail if it Doesn’t Put People Before Profits and Technology
As technology continues to evolve at a fast fucking pace, questions arise around its impact on our society, economy, and the very nature of human existence.
With his new book Web3 , Alex Tapscott puts forward a compelling vision for navigating this constantly shifting landscape. At his recent book launch in Vancouver, Alex led a captivating discussion exploring the convergence of forces that could shape the internet’s future – if harnessed for the benefit of humanity.
Through descriptive anecdotes and open-ended questions, Alex outlined his view of “web3” as defined by four foundational technologies now reaching an inflection point: blockchain, AI, XR (extended reality), and the internet of things (IoT). Each brings both promise and peril that will depend on the path we choose.
How can we ensure digital systems empower rather than endanger individual rights and freedoms?
How can communities participate in—not merely passively experience—the virtual worlds increasingly occupying our lives?
Transitioning to Decentralization
One major challenge Alex identified is transitioning from our current centralized systems dominated by a few large platforms, to the decentralized model envisioned for Web3. We have grown accustomed to companies like Facebook and Google controlling our data and digital interactions. Shifting data ownership and control to individual users would require immense disruption to mainstream adoption.
Advancing Blockchain Technology
For Web3 to fulfill its promise, blockchain needs to advance significantly to support robust, secure decentralized systems operating at a global scale. Current blockchain networks still have limitations around transaction speeds, scalability, and high energy usage – obstacles that must be overcome.
Cultural Mindset Shifts
True decentralization also depends on cultural changes, not just technical updates. Users have to prioritize data ownership over convenience, adopting new habits and platforms when entrenched defaults dominate. But convenience often wins over privacy in the current market.
Inclusive Governance Critical
Web3 aims to be more egalitarian than today’s platforms, but could also replicate existing inequalities if new network governance models are not inclusive and representative. Well-funded groups may dominate without community participation.
Seamless Interoperability Needed
For mainstream adoption, interoperability between different Web3 protocols and decentralized applications needs to be intuitive and seamless. This will likely require cooperation between competing groups developing solutions.
Investing in User Education
The average user may not understand risks in existing centralized systems or benefits of Web3 models without major investment in education around digital rights, privacy tools, encryption, and more.
Sustainable Business Models
It remains unclear how Web3 platforms can sustain operations without relying on current models of advertising, data collection and exploitation that fund today’s largest companies. New funding frameworks need widespread exploration and testing.
Web3’s Next Steps Undefined
While Alex Tapscott presents a compelling vision for Web3’s potential to positively reshape humanity’s digital future, the challenges ahead are immense and solutions uncertain. Continued open discussion on navigating this transition will shape outcomes for generations to come. Optimism requires ongoing dedication and practical progress, but such frontiers are defined by those who guide them.
What insights or questions did you take away from Alex’s presentation? How can we work to ensure emerging technologies serve humanity’s highest interests? The path forward remains unwritten; your perspective matters.
Reimagining Web3’s Foundation
While Alex Tapscott presented blockchain, AI, extended reality and IoT as the key technologies converging to define Web3, I’d like to argue that a higher-level framework may better serve its aims. Let’s define Web3’s pillars not as specific tech, but as trust, ownership, privacy and inclusion.
For decentralized networks to succeed where centralized platforms have failed, core trust must be established – in technology and governance, but also between users. Transparency and accountability are paramount.
Individual sovereignty over digital assets, data, and identity sits at the heart of Web3’s promise. true ownership requires wresting control from platforms and restoring it to users.
In the face of widespread data exploitation, privacy emerges as a basic right that decentralized networks must uphold through technical means as well as social compact.
To avoid replicating existing divides, inclusion must underpin all aspects of Web3 from the start – in development processes as well as wealth distribution frameworks sustaining the ecosystem.
This alternative framing places societal imperatives above specific technologies, ensuring Web3 solutions address root issues like lack of transparency, monopoly control and disparities in existing systems. By prioritizing trust, ownership, privacy and inclusion at the conceptual level, Web3 stands a better chance of fulfilling its democratic vision – if shaped by open participation from all communities with a stake in the digital future.
Thanks Don for the invite and Alex for the inspiring talk. Next time yer both here pls let me make you a coffee! 🙂