You’ve heard about WEB 3.0 on radio, TV and social media sites. But what is it? Is this the revolution that everyone says it is or is it just a fad that will pass as we return to some form of normal lives? The Elevare Club is out to help migrate people through the major transformations we’re experiencing so let’s begin with a quick look at WEB 3.0.
In 1980, for those of you who remember, PCs had just been announced and the new kid on the block was this start-up named “Apple.” IBM had released its version of the PC and Radio Shack still existed with its TRS-80s. It was during this start-up time that I wrote “Computers Made Simple” with the simple message “don’t be left behind in the coming revolution.” In the forward to that book, I hypothesized that by the year 2000, people would be working at home with their home computers and, people’s involvement in the stock market would explode as the new technology would bring the markets directly to people. This was the early days of WEB 1.0. To put that concept into English, WEB 1.0 was the idea that you could enjoy a one-way experience with computers; that is they were great at providing you with information that you needed, but that was the limit. You could read off the WEB information, but you didn’t interact with it. Remember, at the birth of PC’s, there was no internet. The idea of the internet didn’t even come out until the 1990’s at which time it was known as the DARPA Net, a network of computers linked to universities and the military. No emails, no websites, no online shopping; yeah, it was a simpler time.
Enter the late 1990’s and a guy named Jeff Bezos decided to build an online bookstore. Jeff had worked for a hedge fund in New York, D.E. Shaw, that was known for employing the best and the brightest Wall Street had to offer. At any rate, this Bezos guy one day sees this thing called “the Internet” and recognizes that it’s going to be a game-changer. So, enter WEB 2.0. In WEB 2.0, the user (that’s you) could not only extract information FROM your computer, but you could interact with it by buying something. To take that one step further, WEB 2.0 saw the launch of Myspace, Facebook (Now Meta), LinkedIn and all the other social media companies. So we now had a technology that you could interact with, but that is limited and growth of AI, computer power, and storage was changing all that.
The notion had been around a long time; what if users could be “IN” the technology not simply interacting “WITH” it? The most direct examples of this are the sim games of the early 2000s. Even these, however, were simply an advanced usage of WEB 2.0 technology. At the end of the day, you were still experiencing the computer by working with it, not in it.
In the 2010s, enormous growth was experienced in computer memory, computing power and something different called the “blockchain.” The blockchain, simply stated, is fully distributed computing power. Think of a spreadsheet that has 100 cells in it, all containing data. Rather than all of that being contained on your single computer, which can be hacked, how about distributing the data in those 100 cells to 100 different computers and providing the KEY to unlocking that data only to you? Well, now, you have an un-hackable system because no one could know where exactly the 100 computers are that hold your 100 pieces of data. This fully distributed processing has been validated by that thing called Bitcoin. Yep, that’s right, Bitcoin was created to validate blockchain technology!
So as things continued to grow in all dimensions, it became more feasible to establish WEB 3.0, a new way to look at computer power by being IN the technology, not working “WITH” the technology. Think of the metaverse as a type of this but go further into the augmented reality offered by Oculus and companies like this. Using that technology, you are transported INTO the computer environment in all dimensions.
What does this really mean to regular people, though? It’s profound. You can effectively say good bye to bricks and mortar retail as it’s only a matter of time before virtually all retail is done on the WEB. It’s cheaper, safer, and generally easier to use the WEB rather than driving to a store. So, change number one over the next decade or so is the declination of bricks and mortar retail. A second major change is the dislocation of traditional work. It gets a little techno, but you need to understand that the blockchain changes everything. Ownership of capital goods will change, operations of all sorts will change and to that end, I believe we’re heading into the 10-10-10 post-industrial capitalist economy where 10 percent of the people own assets, 10 percent operate assets and 10 percent innovate on assets and, quite honestly, the rest of the people are superfluous to the economy. That, however, doesn’t have to be as dreary as it sounds.
People are remarkably creative and resilient. I am convinced that the response to this digital capitalism that’s evolving is a grand expansion of the “gig-economy”. The underlying thesis of this is that as people are dislocated from traditional management jobs, truck driving jobs, sales jobs, etc., they will find new and innovative ways to showcase their personal talents as cooks, musicians, artists, writers, programmers, and a range of new things. So the “gig” economy will be comprised of individuals with distinct and individual talent. Following on this the small business economy will change. Those dislocated individuals who have scalable ideas will create “projects” to start and validate their idea and then sell it off to a Private Equity firm that can put the money behind the project to scale it up. Gone are the days of building a company and then “taking it public.” Why bother when you can quickly monetize your idea? Talk about the rich getting richer, though. The days of making money from your investment in Apple computers are gone as the next monster company will be owned by a PE firm, not by the public.
There’s always more to come so stay tuned as we talk about augmented reality applications, the blockchain, and your life!
Steve Beaman is a talk radio financial analyst and the chairman of the Elevare Club.
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