Web 3.0 & the Metaverse – A Primer
Published: 14th October 2021
Hi and welcome to Creating Cadence, a podcast for life and work in motion.
I’m your host Mich Bondesio, a writer, coach, consultant and the founder of Growth Sessions.
The aim of my work is to help people develop better work life-cadence and more mindful approaches to work. To support their creativity, productivity and wellbeing, and manage their time, attention and stress better.
This podcast is an accompaniment to this work, where I dive deeper on topics including digital wellness, intentional productivity, emerging technologies and the future of work.
Very soon, the Creating Cadence podcast will have its very own website, which will be ready later this year. But in the meantime you can find out more about me and the podcast at www.growthsessions.co.
So this is episode 22 of Creating Cadence, and the second episode of season 4, recorded in October 2021.
If you’ve listened to the last episode (episode 21), you’ll know that for this season we’re embarking on a journey of discovery to understand a new frontier.
A frontier that has as its foundation, elements that include AI, automation and blockchain technology. A frontier that is called Web 3.0, which gives us access to a new world known as the metaverse.
Now I say it’s a new frontier, but the term the metaverse was coined in 1992 and discussion about what Web 3.0 might entail has been in circulation since at least 2006.
And the various technologies that are associated with them have already been in development and / or use for several years, they just hadn’t reached a point where most of us needed to take notice.
Now, we are at a moment in time and space, when the convergence of these technologies has big implications for how we live and how we work. For how we do business, how we communicate, connect and collaborate, and how we transact online. And even if you don’t think this technology is relevant for your business right now, in coming years and possibly even in months, it will be.
So the purpose of this season of the podcast is to help give you a foundation of understanding of how these things connect in their simplest terms. That way, when it’s time for you to start looking at how you might implement this tech in your life and work, you won’t be entirely in the dark about what might currently seem like a minefield of complex information.
In later episodes, I’ll be looking into other converging technologies which enable these things to exist. And going deeper on the applications and implications of this technology for our wellbeing, creativity and productivity.
I’ll also consider how we can stay resilient in the face of all this fast-paced change and speculate about the opportunities these developments might offer us from both a life and work perspective.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but when I first took note of these terms, my mind jumped to sci-fi movies like The Matrix, Avatar and Minority Report. And I guess that this future that we’re heading into may and will contain elements from all three.
But there’s nothing to be afraid of. This is an incredibly exciting time we’re living in. And hopefully these terms will make more sense for you by the end of this episode. As usual, I’m also sharing curated resources in the show notes for those of you who are curious to learn more and dive deeper.
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Now as I mentioned in episode 21, I’m learning about this and sharing what I’m learning. If you think I’ve got something wrong, or you have a resource that you think can help me and the Cadence community, then please do drop me a line. You can write to: ‘hello at creatingcadence dot co’.
So if you’re ready, let’s put on our geeks glasses and dive in.
Web 3.0 or Web3 is the third iteration of the internet.
Web 1.0 encompassed the invention of the internet in the 1990s, and the subsequent development of the webpages, websites and blogs that we access on it. With web 1, we interacted with screens, but it was a more passive experience.
In the 2000s, Web 2.0 gave rise to a more interactive, 2-dimensional experience as the internet went mobile, with smart phones, apps and social media being introduced.
At the time of recording, in 2021, we’re currently in a transition phase moving from Web 2 to Web 3. And there’s a few reasons this is happening.
One challenge with web 2 is that the ownership and management of the internet has become dominated by a small group of tech giants (such as Google, Facebook and Amazon) who rely on the use of centralised servers and who don’t necessarily have humanity’s interests at heart.
On web 2.0, privacy, security and safety are issues. And data breaches and targeted, malicious hacks can lead to disastrous and sometimes tragic social, political and economic consequences. So, we know the internet is not working in its current form.
Another reason, is that we’re in a time and place – otherwise known as the exponential age – where tech ideas are being advanced faster and faster, and these developments (some of which have been around for a while, but needed something else to happen before they could develop further), are now converging to enable the shift to Web 3.
The model for Web 3 is different. It is decentralised, immersive and user-focused and at present is still evolving. As the design of it develops, there is an opportunity for us to make it a happier, healthier and safer space to be.
Web 3.0 is also known as the spatial web or the 3D web. With this internet technology, instead of interacting with a web page, we have the opportunity to interact in a web space or place.
Here’s a definition of Web 3 that comes from a Singularity Hub article written in 2018 by Peter Diamandis.
To quote Peter, he says:
“While there’s no clear consensus about its definition, the Spatial Web refers to a computing environment that exists in three-dimensional space —a twinning of real and virtual realities— enabled via billions of connected devices and accessed through the interfaces of virtual and augmented reality.”
In the article Peter goes on to say that the Spatial web will transform every aspect of our lives, from retail and advertising, to work, education, entertainment and social interaction.
In my first episode of this season, I referred to Web 3.0 and the Metaverse as if they were interchangeable. They are closely connected, but from what I understand they are actually different things. Web 3 encompasses the technology that enables us to create the metaverse, but the metaverse itself is the actual place or places we can create using that tech.
In a future episode, I’ll touch on some of the components of Web 3 tech, but for now, let’s explore the metaverse.
In essence the metaverse refers to a blended physical and digital experience although there are several definitions about what that actually means.
The term originally came out of a sci-fi novel called Snow Crash that was written by Neal Stephenson in 1992. As the concept has developed over time, it has also been defined as a persistent and user-defined virtual space, a digital layer of everyday life, and a digital twin of the physical world.
A more detailed and technical definition of the metaverse comes from Matthew Ball, who is a tech venture fund partner and prolific writer on the topic.
Matthew defines it as follows:
“The Metaverse is an expansive network of persistent, real-time rendered 3D worlds and simulations that support continuity of identity, objects, history, payments, and entitlements, and can be experienced synchronously by an effectively unlimited number of users, each with an individual sense of presence.”
If this still doesn’t make sense, don’t forget there’s a couple of links in the show notes that go into a LOT more detail.
The adoption of web 3 enables us to access the metaverse. Together they will improve how we connect, contract, communicate and collaborate. How we teach, train and transact. And so much more.
Together they have the ability to empower us as individuals, to support our creativity and wellbeing better and to improve our efficiency, productivity and profitability.
I guess, the disclaimer here though is the same as when operating any heavy-duty machinery: They need to be designed correctly and used ethically, with humanity in mind.
I’ve shared an extensive and helpful Deloitte article in the show notes. Among the points covered, the authors share clever graphics which explain the different layers of the Spatial web. They also cover the 3 stages we’ll go through as this technology matures. The first stage is the augmentation of individuals. Then comes the optimisation of organisations Before finally we reach a more unified state.
But we obviously need to be aware that this is a rapidly changing environment. Some of this tech has already been adopted and is in use, at the same time as it also develops. And some of it is soon to be adopted, and those at the forefront of creating this tech have plans for where this might take us.
However, we don’t know exactly where we’ll end up. And as with other tech innovations, there are sometimes unexpected consequences, both good and bad. So that’s something I may come back to in future episodes.
In the next episode, I’ll be talking about the converging technologies which enable web 3.0 and the metaverse to exist.
If you have thoughts about this episode or you have a question relating to productivity, wellbeing, hybrid working, or the future of work, then I’d love to hear from you. You can write to: hello at creatingcadence.co
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Thanks for listening. Until next time, please take care out there. Be brave, think big and keep moving forwards, one step at a time.
Bye for now.
Links to articles and online guides that will help you develop a deeper understanding of the terms I’ve discussed in this episode.
A Web Guided by Common Sense – John Markoff, 2006 (New York Times
Web 3.0 – The Next Evolution of the Internet – Cryptopedia (Gemini)
The Spatial Web Will Map Our 3D World – Peter Diamandis (Singularity Hub)
Defining The Metaverse (Wunderman Thompson)
Snow Crash, The Metaverse & Silicon Valley with Neal Stephenson – Joanna Robinson (Vanity Fair)
Framework for the Metaverse (Matthew Ball)
The Spatial Web & Web 3.0 – A. Cook, S. Anderson, M. Bechtel, D. Novak, N. Nodi & J. Parekh (Deloitte)
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