Not Your Old Man's Web
"When the general population got on the Web, we saw a sea change in the diversity of online applications and content. Alongside the smartphone, we have seen a rapidly proliferating array of behaviors, content, incentives, and side effects, most of which were not squarely on our radar 50 years ago... I agree with the premise that accountability is an important consideration for the next iteration of the Web. While I have concerns around scalability and implementation, the notion of a meta-environment above the webpage is directionally interesting. Overall, the book presents a creative argument that warrants further discussion and exploration."—Vint Cerf, One of the Fathers of the Internet & co-founder of the People-Centered Internet
THE METAWEB: The Next Level of the Internet
Buckle up for a fascinating journey through layers of insight and metaphors that explain the past, present, and future of the Web. Readers from all walks of life will learn something ancient, something novel, and something practical. Those who give it careful consideration will never see the Web the same way again. The book “The Metaweb: The Next Level of the Internet” proclaims the existence of decentralized public space above the webpage, which enables the shift from personal to collective computing. The Web’s next frontier is the Metaweb, a hyper- dimensional web over Today’s Web that connects people and information silos, with accountability and fair value exchange. The Metaweb can drastically reduce false information, abuse, and scams, as well as enable the unprecedented level of collaboration needed to address humanity’s global challenges. The book posits a symbiotic relationship between AI and the Metaweb, where AI assists in generating, organizing, and curating content, while the Metaweb provides the necessary constraints, data, and context for AI to function effectively, transparently, and in alignment with humanity. Safe AI-enhanced collaboration among humans on the Metaweb will enable a vast collective intelligence and the capture of tremendous untapped value.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1: It’s Probably Nothing
Chapter 2: The Three Generations of the Web
Chapter 3: The Vagaries of Today’s Web
Chapter 4: Pay With Your Attention
Chapter 5: Are We Cognitively Free?
Chapter 6: What the World Needs Now
Chapter 7: A Web that Supports the Shift
Chapter 8: The Big Missing Feature of The Web
Chapter 9: The Emergence of the Metaweb
Chapter 10: The Cairns in the Rabbit Hole
Chapter 11: The Link and the Bridge
Chapter 12: The Overweb Pattern
Chapter 13: Fixing the Web
Chapter 14: Into the Looking Glass
Chapter 15: What Becomes Possible
Chapter 16: Your Move
The evolution of our physical form is an important aspect of human development, but it's not the whole story. Tools and technology have also played a major role in our history, as has the evolution of our collective understanding and agreements about the nature of reality. This includes the development of science, religion, and money. These factors---often overlooked---have been influential in shaping our history and understanding of the adjacent possible. This understanding is not static, but rather it is constantly evolving and refining, which allows us to consider ever more possibilities.
One example of this is our understanding of the earth as being round, rather than flat. In the past, many people believed that the Earth was flat because of their lived experience. It would have been difficult for them to imagine that the Earth was anything other than flat. When, however, the Greek philosopher Pythagoras suggested that the Earth was actually spherical (circa 500 BCE), it opened the door to many new possibilities and advances. Today, it is clear to most people that the Earth is a sphere, thanks in part to photographs of the Earth taken from space. While a small number of people still believe in the flat earth theory, they have little evidence to back up their claims.
Similar to how we used to think the Earth was flat, based on our experience, we currently think about the Web as a flat, two-dimensional space. But the Web is not actually flat; it is a complex, multi-dimensional space that is constantly evolving. The tools we use to access the Web, such as web browsers, give us the impression that it is flat and static, but the Web is much more than that. In the future, our understanding of the Web will evolve and we will see its mult- dimensionality, just as we now understand the Earth to be a sphere. Our current understanding of the Web as a flat space will seem as limited and outdated as Flat Earth Theory.
The mere existence of this book, along with people actively reading and engaging with its ideas, suggests that a transformative shift in our comprehension of the Web is underway.
This shift supports growing movements for decentralization, privacy, data sovereignty, safety, truth, and free speech. In order to address the existential threats facing our society, we must move beyond our current limited understanding of the Web as a flat, two-dimensional space and embrace a multi-layered Web. This will allow us to collectively and democratically tackle the challenges we face and secure a democratic future.
This book posits a shift in our understanding of the Web, transitioning from a flat, two- dimensional screen to a multi-layered, hyper-dimensional space. This shift in paradigm will not change the essence of the Web, which has always been hyper-dimensional, but it will redefine how we interact with the Web. The shift will help us to solve many of the problems that plague the Web today, such as scams, abuse, and false information. It will also enable us to create and fairly distribute value, and to connect, communicate, and collaborate in new and powerful ways. The move to a hyper-dimensional Web will allow us to address the global challenges we face in a collective and democratic manner.
This book introduces the concept of the Metaweb, a meta-layer on top of the existing Web that creates safe, decentralized public spaces. The Metaweb is anchored by a map of the online information ecology and is accessible through browser extensions, website code libraries, and browsers that implement Metaweb protocols. It operates as a trust layer on top of the existing webpage, providing a more secure and decentralized way to access the Web. The Metaweb offers a fresh perspective on the Web, illuminating the existence of decentralized public space above the webpage.
The future of the Web is vast and complex, but the concepts introduced in this book are simple and easy to understand. The Web of the future is not flat, but rather multi-layered like a cake. This book will help you explore this complex and excing territory and discover what's possible in the next level of the Internet.