We are witnessing a déjà vu phenomenon regarding the Internet. In the early 1990s, there was a tacit understanding that this technology will undoubtedly have a transformational impact, reshaping the way we do business, work, communicate with each other and entertain ourselves. All those promises and many more came to pass, even though the majority of people found it difficult to describe what the Internet was. Those who rose to the occasion and placed their bets on the Internet and how it will rule the world are today the founders of big tech companies valued at tens of billions.
Fast forward some thirty-plus years in the future, and it seems that we stand again at the precipice of remarkable change, and one of the main actors involved is yet again the Internet, or to be more precise, a new iteration of the Internet called Web3. Similar to what unfolded in the past, Web3 promises to usher in change by advertising itself as a new and improved version that champions values like decentralization, data ownership, transparency and trust, a new medium in which innovative technologies like artificial intelligence are first-class citizens.
Even if the rewards for switching to Web3 are tantalizing, this technology, as its predecessor before it, resides in an uncharted realm shrouded by uncertainty. Understandably, the road to Web3 is dotted with challenges, both known and unknown, that would make any company, business, or possible investor take a cautious stance.
Humans.ai is accelerating the shift towards Web3 with Scale, its AI Launchpad driven by the mission to grant every human access to breakthrough Web3 AI Technologies developed by incredible individuals, startups and research centres. Organized as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), Scale helps companies and businesses transition from Web2 to Web3. The AI-driven world owned by the DAO was designed to be automated and decentralized. It acts as a form of venture capital fund based on open-source code and without a typical management structure or board of directors.
AI is the most powerful instrument humans have at their disposal, as it can answer the needs of a plethora of industries like healthcare, retail, and finance. The list of possible applications for AI is inexhaustible. But innovation comes at a high cost, and each AI project has unique requirements and prerequisites. This is where crypto VCs take a stance and act as agents that support and mentor the development of the AI of the future. Humans Scale is where all the pieces and actors fall in place, where humans get together to build the AI of tomorrow.
Before focusing on what Web3 brings to the table, we should put Web3 under the magnifying glass and see what it is and how it differs from previous incarnations of the Internet. International Data Corporation (IDC), a global provider of market intelligence, advisory services, and events for the information technology, telecommunications, and consumer technology markets, defines Web3 as “a collection of open technologies and protocols, including Blockchain (as Crypto and NFTs), that support the natively trusted use of decentralized data, knowledge, and value. In other words: Web3 will be built on a foundation of Crypto and NFTs to equitably exchange value — both as currency and as content — between the creators of that content, the platforms which will host that content and the end consumers of that content.”
A more condensed explanation of Web3 is that it is the third generation of the Internet, built on the philosophy that the Internet should depart from a centralized model dotted with data siloes, adopting instead a decentralized and interconnected structure that strives to deliver a faster and more personalized user experience. Decentralization implies that no central entity has control over the flow of information and that the network as a whole doesn’t have a single point of failure, making it more resilient to cybersecurity attacks. Using blockchain as a secure and transparent foundation, Web3 will host a plethora of innovative technologies like artificial intelligence, machine learning and the semantic web.
Unsurprisingly, Web3 has attracted over the years billions in VC funding for projects and startups focused on blockchain, cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs), AI and the Semantic Web.
Estimates show that the global Web3 market size reached USD 3.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach USD 81.5 Billion in 2030, registering a CAGR of 43.7%.
It would be unjust to limit Web3 by calling it the next iteration of the Internet, as the new decentralized paradigm it promotes comes with a fundamentally new approach to corporate governance, value creation and stakeholder participation. Web3 shifts control from large corporations and business conglomerates to end users, real humans who are no longer products or beneficiaries of tech-focused business models but creators and owners of their digital assets.
For decades, data has cemented itself as digital gold, but under the Web1 and Web2 paradigms, companies turned people into products by monetizing their data. Web3 aims to bring equilibrium by introducing a new way to manage and monetize data, giving people control and freedom to read, write and own their data and digital assets.
Software engineer and venture capitalist giant Marc Andreessen famously said in 2011 that “software is eating the world”, a brief and explicit statement that highlighted the fact that at that time, companies that were operating in the physical world were transitioning to digital, a world dominated by software.
More than a decade later, we can say that “artificial intelligence is eating software”, which underlines that AI is steadily becoming a foundational building block of modern software applications. Through AI, software applications are no longer static. They become dynamic and capable of analyzing and reacting to what the user is doing. This is not an isolated trend, as more companies strive to use AI to unlock new business momentum.
PwC estimates that AI will contribute $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, resulting in a 14% increase in global GDP. From cloud computing to CMS, recommendation systems and autonomous vehicles, you would have a hard time finding a tech hot topic that doesn’t involve in some way artificial intelligence. Given the fact that Web3 will act as the playing field for current and future trends, it’s safe to assume that AI will play a foundational role in shaping the evolution of Web3 technologies.
Bringing AI into Web3 will have a deep-seated transformational impact on the current economic, business and technological status quo:
· A subjective approach to technology: so far, AI has been used to gain insight and extract value from users. Under the Web3 paradigm, AI is democratized and trained according to each user’s preferences and experiences.
· Users become owners: blockchain as a foundation for Web3 guarantees that AI is executed, deployed and governed ethically. Furthermore, Web3 will pave the way for the creator economy, in which creators own and monetize their digital assets, not the platform that hosts them.
· Art fused with utility: cryptocurrencies and NFTs will play an essential role in the Web3 economy. Artificial intelligence will add a layer of utility to NFTs, elevating them to a higher art form that generates tangible value.
· Interoperability: Web3 will be composed of multiple interconnected blockchains that will allow the circulation of assets and AI services between them. AI products will be able to interact with other similar products from other blockchains.
· Subscription and investments: AI and Web3 will build a creator economy where people can invest directly in their favourite creators without needing the services of middlemen.
Guided by its mission to help companies scale their potential by transitioning to Web3, Humans Scale becomes the gateway to an ecosystem built to empower AI projects and maintain them ethical through blockchain technology. For AI researchers and developers, Scale acts as a launching pad that will bring their AI projects into the real world to empower real people.
It’s not just an idea, it’s already happening. Humans Scale is set up as an AI Launchpad that connects AI projects and companies with VC and investment funds. The goal is to create a network of tech builders, investors, partners and mentors to help accelerate the development of successful Web3 businesses. Scale has already brought together a group of more than 20 VCs and marketing partners under its umbrella, like Morningstar, Next Chymia Consulting, BlockChange Ventures, Finch Capital, MACH4 Studios and Skynet Trading.
Web3 is a correction of the challenges generated by legacy technology, but to tap into its full potential, companies and businesses need to make a smart and seamless transition to it. The first companies, organizations, and businesses to break the ice, will be the first to reap the benefits of Web3 and gain a competitive edge in the new decentralized AI economy.
The SF writer William Gibson wrote, “The future is already here — it’s just not evenly distributed”. This is currently the case for Web3 and AI. Innovation exists in this sphere, but it has an insular existence, sometimes trapped in PoC form due to a lack of support and funding. Through Humans Scale, VCs can connect with tech companies and startups and help them build the future one AI at a time.