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Confused by Web 3.0? The future of data (and apps) will be evolutionary, not revolutionary

Updated: Feb 8

While many Blockchain capabilities will prove transformational, other technologies and approaches are contributing to the future of privacy, transparency, and innovation.

Have you noticed something? It seems more and more people are taking a closer look at Web 3.0 and finding that it leaves something to be desired as a foundation for the future of data and applications.


There are several issues that tend to come up in such reviews, but they can be roughly summarized as follows:

  • Blockchain offers limited interoperability

  • Decentralized apps are inflexible

  • Decentralization does not preclude 'Big Tech' monopolies

Tim O'Reilly, the well-respected observer of data management trends recently described it this way:

"The failure to think through and build interfaces to existing legal and commercial mechanisms is in stark contrast to previous generations of the web, which quickly became a digital shadow of everything in the physical world—people, objects, locations, businesses—with interconnections that made it easy to create economically valuable new services in the existing economy. The easy money to be made speculating on crypto assets seems to have distracted developers and investors from the hard work of building useful real-world services." - Tim O'Reilly on the O'Reilly website, December 2021

As pointed out in a recent New York Times article, the fact is that there is no single technology, not even Blockchain, that represents the "end of intermediation".


Perhaps a more productive question to ask is this: What are the core values that we want our data and apps to embody moving forward?


A few candidates include:

  • Control

  • Trust

  • Transparency

  • Collaboration

  • Inclusion

  • Experimentation

  • Problem-solving efficiency

To be fair, many of these have been surfaced in the various interpreations of Web 3.0, and in an increasingly data-centric World, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to truly establish any of these values without also delivering the others.


It is our position at the Data Collaboration Alliance that technologists should remain agnostic towards technologies, and keep everything on the table if it can contribute to building the infrastrucure for data and applications that humanity really deserves.


Building on a foundation


Much of the recent criticism of Web 3.0 is based on labeling its enthusiasts as "utopian" but we actually see that as their core strength. The World needs people unafraid to tackle seemingly impossible challenges.


There are also significant capabilities inherent to Crypto/Blockchain that will be essential to any serious discussion about the future of data and apps, including:

Bridging Decentralized <> Centralized


Creating a much-needed bridge between the centralized (Web 2.0) and decentralized (Web 3.0) paradigms is a one of primary objectives of the Collaborative Intelligence Network (CIN), a new research project seeking to create a blueprint for a new global infrastructure for data and applications.


Our goal is to leverage the best capabilities of crypto-blockchain while incorporating other innovative technologies, methodologies, protocols, and standards, including:

Weaving the next web


In addition to decentralization and encryption and other attributes generally associated with Web 3.0, commentors and contributors to the CIN blueprint are invited to consider the following:


Network-based architecture:

Of course we don't know everything about the human brain, but we do know that it uses a network-based architecture to enable each of us to control more information than even the largest company on Earth. It also doesn't create of physical copies of information to solve problems, rather, it uses what could be described as "models" based on patterns. One way to think of it is that the brain can solve unlimited problems while retaining full control of its data.


Collaborative Intelligence:

Collaborative Intelligence describes an approach where people and systems is able to autonomously contribute to a problem solving network. Think of it like crowd-sourcing digital innovation where human data owners retain control of their information and intelligence is shared without undue friction.


Zero-Copy Integration:

Canada has a well-respected history of providing the World with good ideas about the management of data, not least of which is the 'Privacy by Design' framework that was first published in 1990s. Fast-forward a decade and our friends in the North have introduced Zero-Copy Integration, a new national standard that can be viewed as a successor to Privacy by Design, providing a concrete set of guidelines for building next-generation apps.


Data Collaboration:

The core principles of Data Collaboration provide an additional frame of reference for contributors to the CIN blueprint:


Universal Control - We support technologies and design approaches that minimize data and eliminate copies in order to make universal control possible


Universal Ownership - We believe that control of data should be in the hands of its rightful owner (person or organization) or a temporary custodian that they appoint


Universal Access - We support frictionless problem-solving driven by owner-defined, universally-enforced access grants, not complex contracts or meaningless consent


Get involved


We're currently inviting people with an interest in the future of data and applications to view and comment on our draft Google Doc.


We also welcome established technology leaders to book a time to record a live discussion with Alliance President Dan DeMers to kick the tires of the CIN blueprint to explore what works, what doesn't, and where we all go next.


About Data Collaboration Alliance


The Data Collaboration Alliance is a nonprofit dedicated to helping the World's people, teams, and organizations get full control of their information. We see the elimination of copies as the key to supporting control, meaningful data ownership, and the transformative power of global Collaborative Intelligence. To learn more about free partnerships, visit: datacollaboration.org/partnerships

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