This article discusses the role VR and AR has to play in the future of the internet. It introduces Web 3.0, a convergence of emerging technologies including blockchain, AI and the internet of things. In particular, it examines how computer interfaces may develop as we move toward this new paradigm, and the potential these emerging technologies have to fundamentally change the way we interact with machines.
The Increasingly Important Role of Data to Web 2.0 and Web 3.0
Over the course of the past decade, we have seen social media, mobile devices and cloud computing drive the shift from the first-generation commercial internet to Web 2.0. In this paradigm, Google, Facebook and other data monopolists have, through their influence, seized control of the digital world. It is only recently that we have begun to see a rejection of this takeover, particularly in relation to the retention of personal data.
A new web architecture is on the horizon: one that is increasingly open source, decentralised, automated and – most importantly – fractionally owned. This model promises to not only accelerate the growth of individual technology fields like the internet of things, AI and VR, but enables a shared framework for their convergence and combination, promising a period of profound economic growth and social change.
Web 3.0 and the convergence of emerging technologies are the cornerstones of the investment thesis of Outlier Ventures, a venture platform focused on building the infrastructure for the next phase of the internet. At Outlier, we partner with remarkable teams to seed and grow tokenised open source communities that will become the digital economies of tomorrow.
The Application of XR to Computer Interfaces
One key field of research at Outlier Ventures is how computer interfaces, as well as our interactions with each other, have changed over time and how they might develop in the future. Though easy to overlook, these monumental developments are fundamental to how we spend our time in the modern, computer-driven world. We first saw the shift from command-line interfaces to graphical ones, then the emergence of mobile phones, text-based messaging, picture messaging and video conferencing.
At the cusp of Web 3.0, we see two additional fundamental modes of digital interaction emerging: conversational user interfaces and VR. Technological innovation is driving more natural ways for us to connect, from chatbots for businesses to social VR. AR, an extension of VR, even blurs the line between real and virtual, keeping us simultaneously interfaced with both the digital and physical worlds.
The Process of Decentralisation and the Future of Computer Interfaces
The immediate question, then, is why the Web 3.0 is important to the development of these interfaces. The answer is clear when we observe the emergence of centralised interaction technologies like Facebook Spaces and Amazon Alexa: without an open source, decentralised and fractionally owned architecture underpinning these systems, innovation segregates into islands. Individual corporations, each with their own proprietary systems, have no incentive to share data, technology or ideas. No one party has access to all the intelligence, so centralisation actively obstructs technological progress.
Decentralisation turns this idea on its head. Token models incentivise transparency, break down data silos and empower shared innovation. Anyone with an idea has access to the data and technology they need to build it, and everyone benefits from its development. In becoming a part of Web 3.0, VR and AR will not only advance faster than ever, but will converge with a multitude of innovative technologies.
“In becoming a part of Web 3.0, VR and AR will not only advance faster than ever, but will converge with a multitude of innovative technologies.”
VR and AR are Essential to the Development of Web 3.0:
The first steps into interaction as part of the decentralised web have already been made. The SEED project, for example, enables the intersection of VR, conversational user interfaces, AI and blockchain. In developing their platform, SEED are democratising these technologies and putting VR on Web 3.0. You can read about the project at seedtoken.io.
VR and AR will have a key role to play in the next phase of the internet, enabling natural interaction as part of a more sustainable, open and equitable web. Outlier Ventures intends to be at the centre of this development and continues to keep a close eye on the future of computer interfaces. You can read about our research and even pitch us at outlierventures.io.