Big Techs will have to give up control on Web3, says futurist Amy Webb – 04/08/2022

We are used to having the big tech companies “taking care” of the main services of our lives — whether files in the cloud, our communications and even bank accounts.

However, with the arrival of Web3, the next evolution of the internet, the so-called “Big Techs” must lose control over our digital life – and will have to adapt to this new reality.

The “forecast” is by trend expert Amy Webb, in an interview with tilt during the IT Forum, a technology event held this Thursday (4th), in Aldeia da Serra, in the interior of São Paulo.

Amy Webb is one of the most prestigious futurists in the world. Forbes magazine named her one of the five women who are transforming the world. Currently, the presentation of its annual trends report is one of the most attended events at SXSW (South by Southwest), one of the largest technology, innovation and creative economy events in the world, held in Austin, Texas (USA).

Despite always being called “futuristic” and using the term on her own website, Amy explained that she doesn’t “predict things”. “Actually, my job is pretty boring as I try to work with a lot of data and create models to understand trends.” Ultimately, she defines her job as “strategic foresight.”

In his exclusive conversation with tilt, she discussed several other aspects of our lives that will change sooner than we think.

Web3: decentralizing the power of big tech

Web 1.0 was the beginning of the network, while Web 2.0 is the phase we are living now, where power is consolidated in the hands of technology giants. In Amy’s definition: “few companies make the decision for everyone”.

At Web3, the idea is to decentralize user-generated information and content. Perhaps the main example is cryptocurrencies. Those who have this type of investment don’t need a bank to make transactions: everything is mediated by blockchain (a kind of virtual “account book” with a record of all operations).

“Google, Amazon and Microsoft are gearing up for this Web3 move, but Facebook [a Meta, empresa controladora do grupo] seems to be lost”, evaluates Amy.

For her, the company has only been working to put out fires over repercussions related to Instagram — like the Kardashians complaining about the “tiktokization” of the network. Therefore, “they cannot see what is coming next.”

5G connection should reach everyone

One of the essential technologies for Web3 is 5G – and, coincidentally, Amy gave her talk on the same day that the new generation of data transmission arrived in São Paulo, the largest city in the country. For her, however, this is still not enough.

“If Brazil doesn’t invest in infrastructure and promote connections for everyone — from the favelas to the Amazon regions — which sectors won’t benefit?” he said in a provocative tone.

For her, some sectors will benefit (such as finance and games), but the main issue that Brazil should think about is precisely the democratization of access. In addition to bringing more information to these places, a good internet connection will encourage new businesses and even people to be trained in new professions.

how to become futuristic

One of the main ideas of the American is that innovation only appears when companies have a pathfinder spirit. The most common mistake is that companies stop “watching trends” and stop asking “what if…?”

“The pioneering companies know how to differentiate a passing trend from a lasting one. In addition, it tries to have a strategy beyond five years, thinking of different scenarios to adapt to the challenges”, he said.

His example of a pioneering company was Apple. The company launched the iPhone in 2007, at a time when the market leader was BlackBerry.

“BlackBerry stopped thinking about what came next, and focused only on increasing margin and optimizing processes. Meanwhile, Steve Jobs [fundador da Apple] imagined the future, where people would be using a portable computer with music, video and books,” he explained.

The iPhone was not a commercial success right away. However, in a matter of years BlackBerry practically went out of business.

“BlackBerry’s story is a parable. Inside the company, someone could have said ‘we are very successful and we don’t want to compete against our main product’, but they failed to think that there were things coming and they would be different in the future”, he concluded.

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