The first idiocy of Web3

The picture of Gernsback looking like an idiot got me thinking again about the extreme convoluted idiocy of Web3/Metaverse/NFT/etc.

I’m being unfair to Gernsback. He and his writers came up with THOUSANDS of ideas over many decades. A good percentage of the ideas were smart and useful and predictive. This one wasn’t.

Every piece of Web3 is perfectly useless and unwanted. After you get past the hype and start thinking of PURPOSE, there’s just NOTHING.

The first piece that surfaced in libertarian and tech circles was “Own your data”. This was floating around 8 years ago, long before the Web3/Meta trademarks came out, and it seems to have been the idiotic basis for NFTs.

A good testbed for tech nonsense is to transpose the idea back a few decades and examine the concept by itself, without the unnecessary tech entities.

Businesses have ALWAYS gathered data on their customers. Small stores do it in a personal way, larger companies do it more systematically. Name, address, product preferences, credit record, complaints and refunds.

Why would you WANT to “own” what someone else knows about you?

What does it even mean to “own” such knowledge?

After you “buy” the information from Safeway or Sears or Joe’s Barber Shop, you haven’t MOVED the information. Safeway and Sears and Joe still know what they need to know about you, and they will still keep gathering more info. As you lose your hair or change your preferred style, Joe’s knowledge will change. Will you need to repurchase Joe’s new knowledge? If you fail to pay for a new couch at Sears, they will update their info and won’t let you buy again. Now the connection is broken, so there’s no way to update even if Github-style updates could happen in those days.

NFTs are meaningless in the same way. When you “buy” an indirect reference to a piece of art or text that exists somewhere else, you haven’t MOVED the information, and you can’t prevent it from changing or disappearing.

By contrast, when you buy a physical book or a physical DVD of a videogame, you have MOVED the information into your home, and you CAN prevent your copy from changing or disappearing when the government censors the book or the publisher goes bankrupt.