If you played Meat Boy (2008) then you were around for the first iteration of the Web. Unlike the current creche of l’enfants terribles, you are entitled to reminisce nostalgically upon that time of relative innocence. But you are also to blame.
Because you let Web 2.0 happen.
Nomenclature aside, Web2 is what we now have after the grifters monetised the internet and turned everything to profit — and not just by selling to you. If you stop for a moment, you can almost feel their hand in your pocket. They steal from us.
This is what the enfants are so angry about.
Information is no longer free. While you could argue that it never was — not even on Web1 — at least hope lingered that this new thing could be good for all of us, not just for a few of us.
But then Big Tech killed hope.
None of the enfants remember MySpace (let alone Friendster) but they squat in subreddits to shitpost endlessly about Mark Zuckerberg. Do they remember the deadly earnest litigation between companies vying to corner the market when ‘the cloud’ was a new thing?
Zucky’s just one of the Sith Lords.
Fact: Everyone’s sick of Big Tech. We all read Shoshana Zuboff, we know the major players in surveillance capitalism are the Evil Empire. We’re all vocal, earnest footsoldiers of the worldwide techlash.
But is Web3 the answer? Or just the next page in the devil’s playbook?
Among the many tools at their disposal, FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) is a disinformation strategy par excellence. Politicians trade in it, as do stock marketeers — witness Elon Musk’s crypto market influence. Who the hell is Satoshi Nakamoto??
Are we pulled to Web3, or is someone pushing us? Who profits from our FOMO?
Blockchain is the infrastructure of Web3. It potentially makes redundant Evil Empire third parties who (under Web2) stored, owned and profitted from your data. The middle-man no longer gets a cut, and you regain control of your finances (though not your privacy).
Then riddle me this: Why would they (Google, Amazon, Meta) allow it?
Why would the Tax Department allow it? Why would your health insurer allow it? Even if the general public embrace crypto and start hoarding NFTs, what happens after government and Big Tech impose “regulations” on blockchain?
Pfft. It’s already happening.
Call me a cynic, but nobody gives away power without a fight. Anyone want to bet that Mark Zuckerberg doesn’t have a business plan for Web3? Just follow him into the metaverse and I’m sure he’ll explain. Be warned: The dementors are coming.
I’m a science fiction fan, so it’s no leap to imagine a world where data is everywhere. But those worlds are almost always dystopias, dark and moody under neon lights and slick with tears in the rain.
Western Union launched the prototype credit card in 1914, but the first credit purchase didn’t happen for forty years. Maybe resistance is futile, but, hopefully, I’ll never need blockchain. I’ll stick with the devil 2.0 and keep fighting the good fight.