With the rise of machine learning, VR, AR, chatbots and more, it’s easy to assume that the applications we all know and love today are going to be vastly different 10 years from now. But just how different will they be? Experts have started to use the term Web 3.0 to refer to that future landscape, the one that’s going to seem like common sense to the next generation.
Web 3.0, of course, is slated to be the new paradigm in web interaction, one in which our online lives will become more interactive and more intuitive, and the systems that we use more connected. In a larger sense, it represents a shift from what Web 2.0 has come to mean, the web that allowed users to gather, create and collaborate online. It still exists, but the web is becoming more than a platform for these interactions. In fact, it may become more of an entity in and of itself, one that will know us intimately and have the ability to communicate with us in an increasingly human way.
So how will applications change in response? Here are some of the major ways experts predict Web 3.0 will impact them – and us.
Is it getting loud in here?
One of the central and pivotal changes that's already taking place in tech is the shift from user-generated text inputs to voice recognition and voice-activated functions. And, with the advent of big data and improvements in AI technology, voice recognition software has improved in leaps and bound in recent years and this year was reported to have hit 95 per cent accuracy. Soon, this voice recognition and response technology will be built into most smartphone applications, and perhaps even desktop environments. That’s going to radically change how we use technology. Not only will we no longer be hunched over our screens, but we’ll also be looking to them not just for suggestions, but for answers. In fact, market research firm comScore suggests that a full 50 per cent of searches will use voice technologies by 2020.
Voice recognition’s potential also lies in its ability to plug into all the “smart” devices coming online as the Internet of Things expands. Overall, voice technology is likely to be the user interface of the future, particularly as its accuracy improves and it’s paired with AI applications that can better respond to user queries.
Complex answers and humanisation
As we start speaking to our devices more, artificial intelligence and machine learning will get a chance to step up and serve those requests in a whole new – and much more nuanced - way.
Today's answers to voice queries are mostly, again, rough approximations. You ask for an Irish restaurant near you, and you get one. But try asking Siri, Cortana or some other virtual assistant a more complex question and you’re likely – at best – to get a one-dimensional answer that doesn’t really fit. However, better, more intuitive, technologies are rapidly emerging, as evidenced by this year’s demo of Google Duplex, the company’s AI virtual assistant that can carry on human-level (albeit simple) conversations.
Web 3.0 will be marked by response technologies along these lines, technologies that are scary-smart, and aim to bring human-computer interactions to a whole new level.
Bulldozing interface barriers
If there’s one thing we can say for sure about Web 3.0 it’s that interface barriers are going to fall. The new generation of digital technologies are likely to be marked by more connectivity, interactivity and seamless interconnection. That’s where progressive web apps come in.
With progressive web apps, you get all of the functionality of a mobile app directly through your browser, so there's no barrier to that user superhighway. You go to the URL, and you're already in the app, and you're already using it. Anyone who's ever dealt with an app store can see how different this is going to be. Progressive web apps work for every user regardless of device or browser. They’re also fast, responsive and always up to date. It’s yet another shift toward seamlessness in our digital experience. Rather than downloading an app to access the content we want, our devices will intuit what we need from them and deliver it in the best form possible.
Scientists are already at work on the semantic web, an extension of the World Wide Web that aims to provide a common framework that would allow data to be shared across applications and systems.
When it comes to 3.0, it’s the semantic web that will bring all the elements together by taking our decisions, opinions, and data points, as well as our use of social media platforms and our keystrokes, and blend them all together into insights and actionable ideas. In other words, computers will gather the data to intuit what we want from them, rather than just taking commands.
The semantic web is part and parcel of a shift away from keywords and numbers to a world in which computers actually understand the meaning of what we are asking and provide information and resources based on that.
The bottom line
When it comes to applications, Web 3.0 is poised to eliminate so much of the inconvenience we associate with our current interfaces. In the not-too-distant future, smart technologies are going to come to us in a way that’s simple, intuitive, interactive, smart and connected. That said, while experts believe that Web 3.0 is on the way, there’s no way to no for sure what the future will bring and notions about what Web 3.0 will look like are a matter of debate. What we know for sure is that change is coming And it will be big.
Tara Struyk, VP of Content, Janalta.com
Image Credit: Kaspri / Shutterstock