Web3: The Promise and the Reality

Web3: The Promise and the Reality

Web3 describes a group of technologies for managing collective interactions on the internet while avoiding centralised control, granting users agency over access to their data, and managing distribution of value as digital assets. The technologies are distributed ledgers including blockchain, cryptocurrencies, distributed autonomous organisations, decentralised finance, and non-fungible tokens.

Web3 technologies offer technical solutions to problems of trust and verifiability online. Their open source basis makes them available to developers globally and across sectors and communities. Some of these technologies are already in use across many sectors and have been proposed as applicable to a much greater range of uses in the future. If the technologies prove successful sustainably at scale for a very wide range of functions, they might change and expand what the internet delivers for a high proportion of users, and genuinely warrant the description Web3.



Privacy, Privacy Enhancing Technologies & the Individual

Privacy, Privacy Enhancing Technologies & the Individual

Law has granted individuals some rights over the use of data about them, but data protection rights have not redressed the balance between the individual and the tech giants. A number of approaches aim to augment personal rights to allow individuals to police their own information space, facilitating informational self-determination. This reports reviews this approach to privacy protection, explaining how controls have generally been conceived either as the use of technology to aid individuals in this policing task, or the creation of further legal instruments to augment their powers. It focuses on two recent attempts to secure or support data protection rights, one using technology and the other the law. The former is called Solid, a decentralised platform for linked data, while the latter is a novel application of trust law to develop data trusts in which individuals’ data is managed by a trustee with the individuals as beneficiaries. The report argues that structural impediments make it hard for thriving, diverse ecosystems of Solid apps or data trusts to achieve critical mass – a problem that has traditionally haunted this empowering approach.

Read Kieron’s paper below



Atlas of AI

Kate Crawford, Atlas of AI (Yale University Press 2021). How AI is changing the world’s geography (largely for the worse), as a technology of extraction. https://www.katecrawford.net/

An Ugly Truth

Sheera Frenkel & Cecilia Kang,
An Ugly Truth (Bridge Street Press 2021).
Expose of the ruthlessness of Facebook’s growth strategy.

Perspectives on Digital Humanism

  • Hannes Werthner
  • Erich Prem
  • Edward A. Lee
  • Carlo Ghezzi
  • This book is open access, which means that you have free and unlimited access.
  • Aims to set an agenda for research and action in the emerging field of Digital Humanism
  • Contains short essays by selected thinkers from computer science, law, humanities and social sciences
  • Covers the complex interplay of technology and humankind to ensure the full respect of universal human rights