Marketing + hype forge significant powers in influencing trends and narratives. No one really knows the future and yet bets can be made on hypotheticals powered by billions of dollars in advertising. Sometimes those trends can become reality but if the technology and users are not ready, it will fail.

The question still remains: what is the future and the next chapter of the Internet?

We have the privilege of using the state of the art technology to detect fraud and fake reviews here at Fakespot. This gives us a great eye on what the pragmatic and objective truths are in technology with what powers our production offerings. This environment is fast-paced with millions of users and constant product innovation. The best way to tell if something is the future is to look at the current utility of that technology and see if it has product market fit with the majority of the world’s population.

Does blockchain prove its mettle in that regard? In some ways yes, in some ways no.

There is a fog-of-war of hype trains operated by zealots that makes it even harder to measure. However, there are other technologies developing rapidly in parallel that we can bet on and those may end up being the future of the Internet or at least its de facto theme. Just like Web2 was about the smart-phone and user generated content, let’s look at what virtual or tangible technologies are the pragmatic future of the digital realms.

In my opinion, Web3 is not blockchain, NFTs or crypto but machine-generated content. Deep learning and neural networks have expanded to a point that affect many aspects of our daily lives. Ranging from machine-generated recommendations, the voice assistants that set your alarm, or even the easy to forget autocomplete suggestions from Google that are incredibly useful in reducing time spent and errors. Those are examples of machine-generated content powered by neural networks with real-world utility affecting vast tracts of users that are so simple to forget about and yet we are using them all the time.

With the rise of mega-data transformer based models such as DALL-E, GPT, and many others, we are now witnessing the era of real-time generation of more complex content of images, photos and videos happening right in front of our eyes. This was never possible before but just like the early days of the Internet that catered to a select few technical folks connecting through a Captain Crunch whistle, it is exponentially easier to go “on-line” since then and now we are seeing a mass adoption of neural networks in our lives.

Could the future also include a mash-up of machine-generated content and blockchain + NFTs? I think so, but it has to be done from a product-first or utility-first perspective, something that is lacking in the current marketed Web3 world.