Amid the Hype over Web3, Informed Skepticism Is Critical

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Appeared In: CIGI Online

Publication Date: January 14, 2022

Excerpt From the Article:

As the notion of Web 3.0 or “Web3”—the third generation of the internet premised on “decentralized” technologies—has captured the collective imagination, those skeptical about it are often chastised for offering criticism rather than alternatives. If you don’t like Web3, its promoters say, just build something better. This must-be-building ethos is rampant in the tech industry, as encapsulated in a recent essay from venture capitalist Marc Andreessen. “Instead of attacking my ideas of what to build,” he writes, “conceive your own!” The answer, it would seem, is to build yet another something.

This attitude manifests in the built-in obsolescence of tech products and services that requires us to buy the newest iteration or download the latest software update, lest our connected things stop working (thankfully, there is growing resistance to the notion of technology obsolescence through the “right to repair” movement). It also manifests in tech executives’ continual calling for new laws and regulations, even as they skirt and ignore existing ones.

And increasingly apparent in the Web3 discourse is a kind of imaginative obsolescence: As one vision of the future rapidly replaces the next, the technologies and systems now in place suffer decay and disrepair. Our imaginations and resources are once again diverted from fixing or rehabilitating what exists. Meanwhile, familiar problems, inevitably, resurface. Imaginative obsolescence also upends efforts at effective technological governance—and perhaps that is exactly the point.

Renieris, E. (2022, January 14). Amid the hype over web3, informed skepticism is critical. Centre for International Governance Innovation. https://www.cigionline.org/articles/amid-the-hype-over-web3-informed-skepticism-is-critical/