WEB 3, IoT, and Metaverse

It is beneficial to briefly define Web 3, Internet of Things (IoT),  and Metaverse, along with Artificial Intelligence (AI), before expressing my opinion on the topics included in the above caption.

Web 3: Web 3 simply speaking means decentralized internet with or without centralized internet service providers (ISPs) — mostly it should be decentralized ISPs like Helium Network. Such decentralized internet may or may not bring decision making power to users of Web 3, but it will certainly disperse power; therefore, banning internet, for whatever reason including national security, should become an impossibility. Or, in other words, remaining connected to the web will become as necessary as sleeping or breathing.

Internet of Things: IoT is the nomenclature signifying the prevalence of devices used by humans on internet over humans themselves on internet. However, the devices are no more than the agents of the humans, and all the machine learning they do is superseded by human intelligence. Or, in other words, humans control everything, though not necessarily individually but communally — though in Web 3, each individual should ideally control his individual device and its interaction on the internet.

Metaverse: Metaverse, often described as a natural corollary of IoT, is the ecosystem where humans transfer the control of their devices to their identical twins or digital avataars on the internet. Not only that, the identical twins also make both objective and subjective decisions for the humans on the internet with respect to the use of the devices as well as the questions directly determining their status, personality, attitudes, values, etc, on the internet, which even if not identical, are assumed to be identical to the decisions made in the real world.

Artificial Intelligence: AI simply means the intelligence of machines as collected from humans through learning. This learning can be piecemeal where machines predict and reproduce human decisions on the basis of targeted experiences. Or this learning can be all encompassing where machines reproduce human consciousness. Till now, most of the AI proponents have adopted the first possibility of learning only; however, there is an increasing number who are sanguine about the second possibility as well.

Now my opinion. I am very sure that Web 3 is round the corner. It is just a matter of time when the internet will become decentralized. However, I am not very sure of decentralized ISPs. The decentralized internet as distinguished from centralized internet would lead to replacement of experiences that the internet companies like Facebook and Google provide by the same experiences and much more through the multiple apps running on multiple blockchain/distributed ledgers technologies (DLTs), controlled by multiple entities. Even if we assume all blockchains/DLTs will not be sufficiently decentralized, overall the new internet run by apps running on these blockchains/DLTs will be controlled by so many entities that the qualifying features of Web 3 will be satisfied. I am also optimistic about IoT. The only concerns with IoT are whether the cost will be kept sufficiently low for the masses to adopt IoT; whether the masses will be educated enough to adopt IoT; whether AI will develop enough to allow seamless interaction of devices; and whether will the new internet, i.e. Web 3, be able to provide sufficient bandwidth for functioning and interaction of so many devices at a global scale in a seamless manner. In fact, IoT is already being experienced well enough even now in the industry; automotive, manufacturing, smart cities, etc; but presently the internet is not decentralized and experiences of the end users is restricted by the restrictions placed by centralized internet companies.

Now coming to Metaverse, well….I am not very optimistic about Metaverse. Metaverse, in its final application, assumes the presence of AI where machine learning is all encompassing reproducing human consciousness. There is no other way an identical twin can make decisions. If the digital avataar of a person is not considered his identical twin, and the decision making remains with the individual in the real world, the data transfer will be so enormous that no Web 3, Web 4 or Web infinity will be able to handle it. However, if my prediction on the capability of future internet is wrong, Metaverse can exist albeit sans the identical twin. But the Metaverse just can’t exist with an identical twin. It is impossible to reproduce human consciousness in machines. I have expressed my views earlier too on this and I reproduce them below in quotes:

“However, the complex processes of brain and/or nervous system like consciousness are yet unknown. In fact, there are certain quantum physicists who believe that consciousness is not a neuron function at all, but a microtubules function, and is thus inherently unpredictable in accordance with the laws of quantum physics, and thus artificial intelligence is impossible. Nevertheless, even if it is assumed that the current research is headed in the right direction, and by researching the neural interconnections one can unravel the mysteries of the brain, this task is next to impossible because the number of interconnections between the nerves in a human brain are more than the number of atoms in the universe — just imagine how daunting a task it is.”                  


I suspect that Metaverse cryptos will eventually turn into glorified versions of IoT, where a VR headset will become just another device connected to the internet and nothing more. The functionality of these devices shall remain restricted by the possibilities of AI and bandwidth. Some centralized internet companies like Meta and Microsoft may perform better and create mini metaverses for corporates and governments, where users and citizens will be able to participate in office activities digitally or avail of government services digitally from the comfort of their homes. Call it augmented reality if you wish, but their is hardly anything augmented about it. Rather I wonder if any board of directors would like its CEO to present his digital twin rather than real himself in a corporate meeting — it is pretty much possible that such a digital twin will start groping private parts of board of directors inspired from his learning from the various rape video games that the CEO might have been playing through his digital twin in the unknown and unidentified Metaverses.

About the Author

Ankur Mutreja
Ankur Mutreja is an advocate-cum-writer, and his blogs are amongst his modes of expression. He has also authored number of books, which can be downloaded from the links on the top menu.

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