The original post was published on 26th October 2008. This page is a modified version of the original post. It reflects new information and feedback.
“Economic development is the development of economic wealth of countries or regions for the well-being of their inhabitants.” The next stage of economic development will be driven by online social, industry and political networks based on person to person online networks that connect a global communities. Web 1.0 delivered the internet and connected large numbers of people. Web 2.0 demonstrated the technology to assemble and manage large global crowds with a common interest in social interaction. Web 3.0 will apply online network concepts to industry, politics, economic development, climate stability, poverty and democracy. Web 3.0 online networks allow people to see through the community or market and facilitate collective matching, learning and consumption in hours (not months). Web 4.0 achieves a critical mass of participation in online networks that deliver global transparency, governance, distribution, participation, collaboration in key industry, political, social and other community endeavours. Web 4.0 delivers community sovereignty to channels and information.
The paragraphs below provide a historical perspective and discuss Web 1.0, Web 2.0, Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 further.
Web 1.0 (Read/distribute)
In the early part of the 1900s, the majority of economic activity was in agriculture, mining and manufacturing. The information and services economy did not emerge until later in the century. The management of organisations was labour intensive and complex structures to manage information and coordinate their activities. During the 1900′s, these elaborate structures expanded to encompass more products, services and countries. Over the last half of the 1900s, information was digitised and the tools to manipulate it converged. The development of information technology reduced cost and allowed these organisations to manage large organisation and product sets across countries. In the 1990s, the internet provided organisations with a means to distribute basic information to their communities of interest and undertake basic transactions. New organisational structures were not possible. The complementary technologies were not fully evolved and global internet usage by the global community approximately 10%.
Intellectual property and proprietary channels were necessary for economic development
In early stages of our economic development, government needed to provide incentives for the private sector to perform specific activities essential to a modern economy. This included innovation and distribution channels and new products and services. A system of intellectual property was created. Community knowledge became the property of the private sector (ie; intellectual property) for a period of 16 years and they had an exclusive right to profit during that period. Organisations became large, profit was the primary motive and an expensive distribution channels owned by a corporation was the conduit for information between market participants. The systems of intellectual property and proprietary channels may no longer be necessary to encourage innovation or distribution in our community. The development of the Linux operating system and ten thousand software applications demonstrated that the community could innovate and complete complex projects without a profit motive. The fundamental assumption underlying private ownership of community knowledge or distribution channels is being reassessed by the community. Opaque channels are endeavouring to protect their interests with lobbying.
Opaque channels were necessary, but now need to be replaced
Web 1.0 channel refers to the social, political or industrial structures used by our community to distribute information, participate, collaborate and make decisions amongst members of a social group, industry, company or political system. The channel has became the primary means for people to distribute, participate and contribute in different parts of our community. There was no alternative and distribution channels are all pervasive. Channels are also expensive and their private owners seek to maximise profits. This restricted the ability of people to use the channel and they type of products and information that flowed through it. The content of the channel is determined by profit margin and not what is best for the community. This includes information and the goods and services be we consume. Every channel is a potential source of profit.
Web 1.0 channels have sacrificed long term community objectives
Web 1.0 channels in many diverse areas of our community have failed to balance the communities short and long term interests. The unbridled profit motive and lack of transparency of channels in Web 1.0 has delivered our community a succession of global governance failures. This includes national bankruptcy, oil shortages, food shortages, war, pro-cyclical investment cycles, inadequate retirement savings, underinvestment in infrastructure to support our society and an unsustainable way of life. Humanity has a 50% chance of surviving beyond 2100.
Web 2.0 participation gave us an insight into what is possible
Web 2.0 demonstrated the technology to assemble and manage large global crowds with a common interest in social interaction. Large numbers of people joined the internet with broadband penetration reaching 90% in many major economies. Web 2.0 is characterised by information of little inherent value and revenue was derived from third parties wanting to show advertising to eyeballs. Organisations are exploring the potential of Web 2.0 enterprise innovation or industry model innovation with single point solutions such as wikis and forums. However, enterprise or industry innovation will be derived from the full application of Web 3.0 online networks concepts, rather than Web 2.0 point solutions.
Web 3.0 transforms industry and politics with peer to peer structures
The internet provides a costless distribution channel that can connect more than one billion people peer to peer. Major economies are now dominated by 70% services which are information based. Individuals can now create online networks in 90 days for US$25k. These online networks will reshape industry and political systems. Web 3.0 online networks allow people to see through the market or community and collectively match, learn, consume information in hours not months. The key elements of Web 3.0 online networks are outlined here.
Web 4.0 transforms the world with a critical mass of social, industry and political networks
Web 4.0 achieves a critical mass of participation in online networks that deliver global transparency, governance, distribution, participation, collaboration in industry, political and social networks and other key community endeavours. Web 4.0 delivers community sovereignty to channels and information. Global Web 1.0 channels were created over 100 years of mergers, acquisitions and organic growth. Global Web 3.0 online social, industry and political networks can be created within 12 months. The potential of achieving rapid economic development and industry innovation outcomes in a very short time frames is real.
We need to accelerate the transition to Web 4.0 to save the world
Humanity has a 50% chance of surviving beyong 2100. We need to build the Web 3.0 online social, industry and political networks on the critical path to Web 4.0 and pull in the next stage of economic development, environmental sustainability, awareness, life, work and global governance. We need five online networks to solve the worlds problems by 2012 or we decline into conflict for generations. A global community could transform the world in 365 days by building the online networks on the critical path to Web 4.0.
Resistance to change
Web 1.0 channels were created over a hundred years. The transition to online networks could be delayed by 50 years with lobbying to protect Web 1.0 channels by private owners or countries protecting their individual interests with Free Trade agreements that embed a global system of intellectual property.
An interim step – transparency and global alignment now and restructuring later
Web 3.0 online networks could be created in 90 days and populated within 270 days. Individuals within Web 1.0 structures could make a commitment to champion the objectives of the Web 3.0 online network within their organisation. The two primary benefits of this approach could be immediate transparency and alignment of organisational objectives with a global objective without the need to restructure a Web 1.0 channel. The President of the World Bank recently said that a “facebook” of global government was required. I suspect he could see the transparency and strategy alignment benefits in the current situation. A global government facebook, global governance or edemocracy platform could be built in 12 weeks.
Web 3.0 and Web 4.0 are economic development stages as peer to peer networks transform industry and political structures. They herald a return of community knowledge to the people and facilitate mass participation. Who should build these networks? Should these networks be community property or be owned by the private sector. I will leave this question for another post.
The following presentation may also be of interest:
Related reading: reading: Web 3.0 online network concepts | What are online networks? What is the market opportunity? ; We need five online networks to solve the worlds problems by 2012 or we decline into conflict for generations ; Online political networks (blog category) ; The rise of online political networks – individual contribution and mass participation ; Project: E-democracy page ; The transition to online networks may take six months or 50 years ;The next four stages of online networks – from tools and solutions to new structures and economic development ; The potential of collective innovation and open source to reshape our world needs to be demonstrated ; People aren’t apathetic, they just don’t have an online network to channel their interests ; Facebook of global government needed – delivery in 12 weeks! ; E-democracy just six weeks away! Political sovereignty exercised directly by citizens through an online political network