Will the internet’s third iteration free our virtual selves from Big Tech’s control?

Those old enough still remember when sin entered the internet. We have been trying to return to grace ever since.

When Elon Musk announced on 14 April that he is planning to acquire Twitter and turn it into a privately owned company, the message was that he wants to go back to those prelapsarian times when the internet was supposed to make us better. What has happened since then? The large platforms – Google, Facebook, Twitter and others – are no longer neutral arbiters between different world-views but impose their own values. Algorithms are used surreptitiously to manipulate public opinion and create echo chambers. Advertising corrupts thought and expression for the sake of maximum engagement. Twitter is particularly dismal, seemingly designed to promote shallow discussions and a rabid inquisitorial spirit.

Musk claims that the internet has lost its way and promises to return Twitter to a lost age when everyone could freely share ideas and access information. He is right about one thing. The internet has changed. The disagreement is over what went wrong and what to try next.

There have been two internets so far, and some believe a third is on the way. Web1 was decentralised, founded on open protocols – operating rules for the network – like the ones still used for email or websites. Web2 was the internet built by platforms such as Facebook or Google, the companies owning the data on which our economies now depend. Web3 is the internet emerging on decentralised blockchains, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, which no one owns or controls. For its proponents – the term was introduced by Ethereum co-founder Gavin Wood – Web3 combines the best of both worlds: the decentralisation of Web1 and the immersion and interaction of Web2.

[See also: The spirit of the age: Why the tech billionaires want to leave humanity behind]

How we got from Web1 to Web2 is a complicated story, but it ultimately amounts to a failure of imagination. The creators of the open protocols of the early internet had no idea of what it would become. They still thought the internet would be a kind of entertainment medium similar to television or newspapers. They could not guess its final form: the metaverse, a wholesale replacement for the real world.

Content from our partners

How materials innovation can help achieve net zero and level-up the UK

Fantastic mental well-being strategies and where to find them

Accelerating the take-up of electric vehicles

As the internet grew, it was left to the private sector to provide the missing parts. In a virtual world, everyone needs an identity or avatar. Facebook provided them for us. Money from the real world had to be replaced with something else, so advertising filled the gap. We pay with our attention. Suddenly we were all living on the internet, but Facebook owned the data defining our identities, and the world where our lives took place was powered by targeted advertising: the springs of community life now had to serve the purpose of maximising profits for Facebook and its advertisers.

More remarkably, we now accept that these platforms have the

Read More

Investigate advancement crucial to advancing Virginia Tech’s analysis and innovation ecosystem | VTx

The Investigate and Innovation office carries on to reorganize, realign, and enhance abilities to support faculty acquire more aggressive, large investigation grants to boost the impact of the researchers’ portfolios, in addition to advancing analysis and innovation tradition, ecosystem, and development.

In 2021, Virginia Tech school shown their ambitions in investigate by publishing a file amount of proposals, with whole analysis proposal value raising 38 % around 2020. These initiatives are bearing fruit in 2022 research expenses are trending upward with a 12 percent raise for the initially a few quarters over the very same period in 2021.

Virginia Tech was mentioned as 251-300 in the 2022 Times Larger Schooling Globe College Ranking, which judges research excellence on a worldwide scale. Amid investigate-intense, public land-grant universities, the college is currently ranked No. 16 with the objective to grow to be No. 13 by 2024. 

“Virginia Tech has a remarkable foundation for growth primarily based on current capacity and resources, entire world-class services, and very regarded college,” said Dan Sui, senior vice president for study and innovation. “With big initiatives like the Study Frontiers meant to provide with each other numerous expertise to focus on regions that tackle rising issues facing humanity, we need to mobilize each and every resource to support school who are main slicing-edge investigation endeavors that will influence our community, near and significantly.”

To boost faculty help, Sui is foremost the freshly formed research development system workforce that will build and deploy an intentional prepare of motion to consider an early-phase perspective on investigation progress.

Sui mentioned the team’s aim is “to enable faculty be ready for possibilities just before they are announced. Ideally, we will help condition possibilities when they are however getting mentioned by positioning our college as pro sources for sponsors.”

Part of the Virginia Tech workforce is based in the higher Washington, D.C., spot with close proximity to federal companies, together with Steve McKnight, vice president for strategic investigate alliances, and Jon Porter associate vice president for strategic investigate alliances. Randy Heflin, senior affiliate vice president for research and innovation Brandy Salmon, affiliate vice president for partnerships and innovation Laurel Miner, assistant vice president and main of personnel and Vince Baranauskas, senior investigate growth coordinator, are all based on the Blacksburg campus.

Considering that Jan. 1, team members have served school submit above $500 million really worth of proposals and letters of intent. By furnishing aid for proposal price share, purple workforce evaluation, principle progress, landscape assessment, and sponsor and competitor intelligence, the group aims to make researchers’ proposals far more competitive. Collectively, McKnight’s and Salmon’s teams function specifically with federal agencies, foundations and small business groups, tutorial institutions, and marketplace associates to further more greatly enhance present partnerships and forge new strategic consortiums with exterior collaborators.

Baranauskas, who was hired in late 2021, focuses on college engagement and assistance for all proposals, like direct sponsor outreach. In his role, Baranauskas co-manages the confined submission proposal

Read More