How Web 3.0 Can Turn the Economy Around
Where will we find long-term solutions to the problems of the economy? Our political and business leaders talk a lot about innovation being our economic savior, but what can we do with such platitudes? It’s like saying “the economy needs jobs”—100 percent correct, but 99 percent useless as a guide to what we should do next.
I’m up to the innovation challenge. I’m just a small entrepreneur, but the technology I work in offers some real and specific opportunities for economic improvement. It’s broadly called Web 3.0, or the Semantic Web, and it’s the next generation of the Internet. Each of the earlier Web generations was pretty transformative, and this next version will be too.
Web 3.0 is a smarter Web, giving computers better ways to share information. This has enormous benefits for people who need to search for information, automate processes and transactions, and make logical connections between similar concepts and things. Information in a Web 3.0 world will be much easier to access, because computers will do a lot of the time-consuming work that people still do today.
Here are specific suggestions for ways that Web 3.0 innovation can have a positive effect on the economy:
1. In health care reform, Web 3.0 is an ideal technology for creating electronic medical records (EMRs), by merging the personal information that exists in disparate databases all over the health care system.
2. Data.gov is a comprehensive database of government information from a vast array of sources, all powered by semantic, Web 3.0 technologies. This transparency provides incentives for reducing government waste and improving the accountability of government agencies, procurement processes and contract awards.
3. In biotechnology, Web 3.0 provides tools that cut years of research down to days. New information is incorporated into the R&D process, drawing connections between related concepts and visualizing the results in graphs of merged information. Seeing these connections enables researchers to make better predictions about the spread of diseases, calculate a patient’s response to treatments and assess the risk of drug side effects.
4. In the financial sector, money will be saved through advanced fraud monitoring systems that are made possible through the real-time linking of financial accounts, transaction data and customer information. This can scale globally, so regulators and analysts can understand the risks of portfolio structures and counterparty transactions, preventing future financial crises.
5. Sustainability decisions need the right information quickly, and that information must be based on science and fact. One Web 3.0 solution links a pesticide database to a database of organisms and one of weather patterns, to fully understand the balance of positive and negative consequences of our environmental choices.
6. Open Energy Information (OpenEI) is a collaboration designed to share energy data, tools, models and knowledge. Web 3.0 technologies are used to share energy- related information and accelerate innovation, development and deployment of clean energy systems.
7. The Open Floor Plan Display/Exchange project is using Web 3.0 to provide interactive real-time data about building plans that will be used by emergency services, law enforcement and risk analysts to improve building safety.
8. Personal data lockers will form an identity ecosystem based on Web 3.0. You will be able to configure who gets access to your locker and in what context, depending on your role, intent and location. Applications will understand the relationships between people, services and objects.
9. Web 3.0 will deliver better customer experience because service providers will understand what the customer needs in real time and will take the optimal action. The results will include massive time savings, better customer retention, more effective up-selling and improvements in satisfaction. In summary, Web 3.0 represents a Web in which information is much better linked and more efficiently utilized, with the economy continuing to benefit on a greater scale.
Tony Shaw is publisher of the Semantic Universe journal, and educational chairman of SemTech, the world’s largest semantic technology conference. Shaw also facilitates the TTI/Vanguard strategy forum for CTOs.