There has been a lot of talk about an emerging technology – web3 (also known as web 3.0), and how it will serve the world at large. The Chief Executive Officer, ID Africa’s Femi Falodun’s submission on ‘Ethical Issues Surrounding Web3 and AI – PR and Communications Perspective’ thoroughly articulates this.
While the name, according to CNBC, was coined in 2014 by Ethereum co-founder, Gavin Wood, it recently began gaining traction. Before Web3, there are web1 and web2. The former was the Internet between the 1990s-2000s and consisted of blogs and message boards. Most readings were bland, done on static web pages. The latter began around 2005 and is often characterised by the emergence of social media – Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube. Web2 allowed people to actively participate online by posting their content rather than just reading it. Its most notable downside would be the sale of user privacy to third parties, as reported by the New York Times.
2 Challenges PR Specialists should look out for:
The full emergence of web3 will steer a more enriched use of the internet including a decentralised social network and participation of individuals without monetisation of data, and payments built via the native token and ether (ETH). Still, there are a few considerations that might be bottlenecks to the marketplace and the PR community at large.
- Zero Regulation – unlike web2 which has a large regulatory system, it’s not the same with web3. Since it’s a decentralised application with access to it by anyone (permissions are not required), it creates room for dangerous players to harm platform builders and users – a dystopian state.
- Ethical Concerns – the ethical concerns surrounding the steady emergence of Web3 are racial bias from robots – since the robots will be built by humans who might program their biases while creating them, there will be robots aligned to specific racial blocs. Inequality in the distribution of wealth created by robots, cybersecurity risks, robot rights, and unemployment due to loss of jobs to machines are other ethical concerns for web3.
The way forward for PR Practitioners? First, the role of PR practitioners in the tech ecosystem cannot be overemphasised. There will still be a need for a middle man to build trust between the web and the people, particularly on how to communicate and engage with actors within the ecosystem. In essence, PR practitioners must continue to stay in touch with the technological revolution and create PR practices that support the dynamism.