Friday, February 20, 2009

Defining Web 3.0

Web 2.0

What Web 2.0 delivers is audience. It leverages our own social network as a model for promotional activities and audience gathering. But like most of the user initiated movies on youtube the engagement factor is missing.


Both are inventions of the same thing, but with very different orientations. One is designed to majestically implode upon the interaction of the me-too generation with itself. The other appears to keep trying to leverage its "social map" to market to us a set of "needs"? Any invasion of privacy based on the apparency of "ownership" of our postings will be met with derision by artists and those who have something of value to say.

Both these mediums are of no value to advertisers per se, but they do provide an extraordinary market for artists and those who have something of value to say but generally the culture is to borrow or steal content and misrepresent it as one's own (or to publish photographs that really should remain in the private domain).

Social networking 2.0 does provide for effective cross cultural linkages and is an instant boon to event organisers. You do not have to go viral to contact people.

As vehicles for advertising they both are too distracting to be click farms. Just as well, as the idea is to sell yourself to your circle.

As venues for advertising, perhaps the individual is prepared to bare their soul for themselves but the advertising and media industry has only tried frantically to use their subscription model to protect their existing landscape as we stop buying their paper copies of the news and TiVO' their Ads.


To see if monkeys are social or "intelligent" - (one imagines) tests could have been designed to examine the lowest common denominator of recognition. If the monkey could hit the right coloured button it would get the reward. Thus behaviouralists were borne upon an unwelcoming world. And no wonder they think the rest of us are apes.

The path of least resistance is to ride the trend and young people talk to each other with txt msgs - so broke onto the scene asking for people to describe what they are doing in 140 chars or less.

With the simplest stripped down application possible - the online opinion poll - combined with public SMS style messaging - and soon revealed to its burgeoning audience a pattern of "buzz" in the air. A giant social microscope that allows us all to contribute in real time our links and stuff randomly to the currently curious. If you tweet when they are not looking, then they may miss it and they may catch up with it later.

The point of twitter really, is that it is real-time. And by being only a message relay (plus links) - by being minimal - it defines a new language. In that it is Web 2.5 - other web 2.0 sites may persist in lag-time, but twitter does not only give you live updates - but with imparted meaning that reflects your point of view - it is a stronger relational direction than the very structured and unchanging information you see on true Web 2.0 sites like myspace. It is the google page to the yahoo cacophony we accept as "social networking".

If you are going to waste time, it may as well be a little bit of it.

The natural redundancy of twitter is truly marvelous. You miss so much you do not need, thus it mimics human perception far more precisely than insanely linked nice pictures of the "friends I poke".

The age of attention seeking is over. Web 2.0 is inward looking, validation seeking and rather non-profound (except for music - that has found a new definition of engagement on myspace and youtube).

Another type of site - a Web 2.4 extension of Youtube perhaps - interactive video chat rooms - appears interesting but the more people talking - the less is said and the noise factor makes it largely noise.

The camera and liveness is a less compelling experience than 140 chars. At least on twitter they say something interesting. Why does it work? Because there is no need for a contract. It is RESTful architecture at its most compelling - the API is RESTful as it allows logic to overlay syntactically upon the medium without fear of illegal characters. Remember how in Web 1.0 we were worried about filtering user input. Web 2.5M says publish any URL and the normal rules of community apply. (You know you are in "good hands"). These rules may not apply in Web 2.0. You can simply reinvent the projected "self" - so there is no need for authenticity.

Web 3.0 should allow us to be free to create and share without fear of being ripped off by copyright thieves, or clear of copyright restriction. Web 3.0 may have to disambiguate conventions and provide frameworks for reuse - along the lines of OpenID - shared conventions to achieve simple congruity.

Web 2.5 achieved that by accident. The limits of their design and the acceptance of simplicity is a certain zen. But to provide uniform common services (such as message delivery) is simply called a protocol. Web 3.0 in my view will be a set of common protocols that achieve building blocks of an effective interactive and/or entertainment experience.

What the Web 2.x approach lacks in compelling productivity it makes up for in buzz. It is half of the picture. Now we need to mix in some core values.

Web 2.5 is part of the answer. Now for a theory of Web 3.0?

Web 3.0

  1. Has to be transportable

  2. Can mix the introspective with the social in a naturally selective way

  3. Is safe for the audience

  4. Universal identification of social criteria (e.g. age filtering)

  5. Declared Ownership and an economy based on shared use

  6. Public ownership of data provides a safe library for sharing

  7. Artist repository allows for the registration and protection of private works

  8. Agencies bind artists to appearances in real life, why not on the web?

  9. Effective cheap web cash, so anything offered may attract micropayments against a universally recognised banking system

  10. A safe system for conducting scientific polling

  11. A set of virtues.

The Web 2.0 system was an experiment in engagement. Web 3.0 is the leveraging of this to enable individuals to safely build ways to virtually trade with public acceptance of a recognised virtue.

Web 1.0 + Web 2.0 = Web 3.0

Combining web 1.0 trading sites like Amazon with the leverages promotional ability of Web 2.0 does not mean the same thing as Web 3.0 per this definition, but it forms a cornerstone of its public face.

Another way of viewing this, Web 1.0 was one dimensional business, Web 2.0 is two dimensional business, like a flat map of potential connections around a subject. Web 3.0 is taking all these disparate networks and doing something intelligent with them - like a map compared to a contour map.

Copyright © 2009 by Nicholas Alexander


Thursday, February 19, 2009

Parliament: Don't screw up copyright

Media will take an angle on anything. But so will ISPs and in their tricky negotiations with various parties about copyrights without making blunders they will be sued for, and passing on unnecessary legal expenses? A good law would pave a path to economic prosperity. This hampers economic progress and cements a stupid set of relationships into fact.

There is no reason to incriminate the curious.

A better arrangement is for the government to publish a list of IPs to exclude and ISPs simply to filter them. Now the copyright can be protected without costing everyone an arm, a leg and their freedom for being curious.

Why hide all this content, anyway? Educational documentaries for example should be free of restrictive copyright. We do not have to make a buck of everything, but we should respect Artist's copyright independent of corporate lawyers. Distribution was always expensive and now it is not. A legal framework for protecting our artists is necessary.

But bad laws will only kill innovation.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NZ Government experiments with ISPs

The New Zealand Government overlooked an opportunity to dissect a contentious law that seeks to enforce copyright by giving ISPs the responsibility to cut off any user not complying with three warnings.

This is the bull headed socialism that the Labour Government enacted defensively and very unwisely in the last year of it's 9 years firmly holding the reigns of government. Most likely, hoping to confuse the then opposition and predictable winners of the next election, the National Party, they left behind this obviously "shonky" law. It simply will cause more damage to New Zealand's reputation as a fair and just environment. It will also be an own goal by the incumbent government.

Unfortunately, it seems that this new Government been caught with not having read it properly and deferred opportunities to have it discussed so allowing it to proceed into the law books.

The law in question is not only a violation of human rights but demonises copyright law. The consequences are not really in the control of the law makers. This could also have terrible and far reaching economic consequences as injustices start to evolve out of ISPs using the law defensively to avoid prosecution and blacklist customers.

Imagine waking up one morning to discover that you can no longer run your hosting company or even access email. That is the uncertainty this bill will create - an environment where anyone can be called an ISP and called out for "copyright violations" perhaps even accessed by bots on their network. It simply is unsound, unjust, and as a precedent - it puts the entire internet and the freedom of speech it bestows on humanity at risk of short sighted convenient or reactionary legislative barriers.

In other words it is a distortion of the relationship between user and ISP. This legislation needs to be fought at every level. It is a precedent that that Internet most certainly does not need.

Today, New Zealanders are writing to their MPs. If this law proceeds, the protests may become more widespread. Already the international media have picked up on the draconian measure.

Letter to NZ Minister of Arts and Culture

Dear Minister

There are grave concerns about a very destructive law which comes into effect at the end of February this year, passed by the previous Government.

As an artist and publisher, I support copyright as a means to return value to artists.

This law is well intentioned, but destructive to NZ's image. If our Government allows laws that enforce the presumption of guilt and enforces punitive measures taken by citizens for something that existing laws actually cover, chaos will ensue. There is a balance in law, but this law is a black sheep upon the NZ legislature.

The new Government will be considered weak and unintelligent if it does not grasp this nettle and expunge this black mark. It has made the international media with articles in The Guardian today.

We must protect copyright - not by preventing publication but providing a simple way for artists to insist on the payment of royalties. That solves the problem.

The issue of file sharing - distributors merely need to adopt the new technology and take ownership of their market. It is not expensive. Law should never enshrine old technology or it risks uncompetitive failure.

This law rewards those who refuse to service their market with the most effective means of the promulgation of the arts. Government has no business over-regulating normal business processes.

Yours sincerely,
Nicholas Alexander