What is Web 3.0? What the internet will look like in the future

“What is Web 3.0?” is often asked with a tone of skepticism, apprehension and distrust—similar to when David Letterman teased Bill Gates in a 1995 interview, causing a stir with laughter after he asked, “What about this ‘Internet’ thing? “Do you know anything about that? What the hell is that exactly?”

Gates chatted that the Internet is a place where entities can post the latest information on their homepages and users can send “electronic e-mail” to others around the world. He didn’t know it, but at the time, Microsoft’s co-founder described “Web 1.0,” the era of the Internet between 1991 and 2004, when most users consumers of content — not its creators.

What is Web 1.0 and Web 2.0?

Technical experts say Web 1.0 was “read-only”. In other words, many browsed websites and absorbed information, but often did not play a major role in generating and distributing content. For example, a typical Web 1.0 user would read news articles on AOL, search websites about their favorite rock bands through Yahoo! search, play some web browser games, jump into a few chat rooms, but user generated content from this internet surfer was few and far between.

Getty Images

Getty Images (Image credit: Future)

In an effort to convince Letterman that Web 1.0 is useful, Gates told him he could look up information on topics that interest him, including cigars and auto racing. A stubborn Letterman waved him off and said, “I’ve got that under control! I am a subscriber to two British magazines devoted entirely to motorsport.”