Human alarm clocks, Ice cutters, Lamplighters, Switchboard operators, and Lectors are prominent jobs from the 19th century that do not exist anymore.
Likewise, today’s world ruled by corporates and pyramids of centralized structure will not exist tomorrow. As the Greek philosopher, Heraclitus puts it, change is the only constant. But thanks to the internet era and life-altering events like the COVID-19 pandemic, the pace at which things change has exponentially increased.
The future of work will not remain as it is today, and signs of that are already written on the wall. The emerging trends in Web3, Metaverse, and DAOs based on blockchain technology will influence and shape the future, not just in the sphere of employment, but in all aspects of life, just like the role played by the internet in the 21st century.
In this article, let’s explore what this future beholds for nearly 3.3 billion working people worldwide.
Move From Centralized To Decentralized Internet
Chris Dixon, a well-known internet entrepreneur, and investor, in his article ‘Why Decentralization Matters?‘ explores the need and inevitability of an acentric future in the Web3 era.
The current scenario
The last two decades of the 20th century (the 1980s to early 2000s) saw the proliferation of first-generation internet services built on top of open protocols. Controlled by the internet community, open protocols were free properties that ensured fair play and easy accessibility for all people and organizations.
However, the second generation of the internet (the mid-2000s to the present) witnessed the rise of centralized companies like Facebook, Amazon, Google, and Apple. These for-profit tech companies onboarded a billion more people and offered to revolutionize software and services to people but made it hard for other creators and startups to enter the space and work without the dependency on big tech companies.
From an employment perspective, web2 companies formalized the nature of employment as we see today – 5 days a week, 8 hours per day job with strict hierarchies and strong global operability to maintain and run the centralized internet.
Though India was late to join the IT revolution, the country significantly benefited from the web2 boom, with nearly a third of the working population employed in the service sector.
The web3 innovations powered by emerging technology like blockchain, Artificial Intelligence (AI), edge computing, and crypto-networks are rearchitecting the way the internet works.
It combines the best of the first two internet eras: decentralized networks governed and operated by the internet community with much larger capabilities than advanced centralized services.
Digital Creators Will Rule The Roost
And this shift toward decentralization means the nature of work changes in the coming decades with new social arrangements.
Broadly, web3 empowers creators and innovators with direct incentive mechanisms. As evident from the mind-boggling rise in NFT popularity in 2021, currently valued at over $40 billion, the internet is becoming more content-friendly and user-centric.
Here’s a detailed article on Non-fungible Tokens or NFTs.
The decentralized internet brings back “passion economy” or “creator economy” to the fore.
Content creators of all kinds: influencers, journalists, artists, musicians, writers, etc., can now contribute independently without being cut off or exploited by intermediaries. The new web allows them to connect with their fans directly and monetize their work/product.
Earn Without Strictly ‘Work’ing
Another prominent trend associated with web3 is a paradigm shift away from ‘work to earn’ models. Traditional methods of earning income involve doing a particular job for ‘x’ hours.
However, the emergence of crypto networks and Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) makes it possible for people to earn income in non-traditional ways like playing games, curating content, learning new skills, and creating art.
(Image source: Twitter)
Axie Infinity, a blockchain-based play-to-earn game with nearly 10 million users, is a famous example of a play-to-earn model.
The emerging ‘x-to-earn’ models, i.e., play to earn, create to earn, learn to earn and work to earn, clubbed with web3 enabled creator economy, give a preview of what the future of income will look like.
And such a future will be powered by DAOs.
In brief, DAOs are internet-native organizations collectively governed and operated by their members. The core functions of a DAO are automated by Smart Contracts.
And that leads us to the next big change in the nature of work, which is the resurgence of the Ownership Economy.
The Ownership Economy
When you look back, despite all the might and force of web2 innovations, little to nothing is owned by internet users.
However, under web3, enabled by crypto tokens (similar to stocks but built natively for the internet), people can now technically own their data and hold stakes in the emerging web. Owning a token is now akin to owning a network that powers it.
For example, if you own Ether tokens, you own a part of the Ethereum network and thus influence its outcomes.
Thus, the ownership economy made possible by tokens will drastically change the dynamics of work relations by typically treating each other on equal footing rather than stratified hierarchies and rigid structures.
Metaverse as a workspace
Despite all the loss and suffering from the pandemic, a few positives have emerged in the space of office work. People now value their time with family and loved ones much more and accept remote working or work-from-home solutions as a norm.
However, there are gaps in working remotely. For one, the lack of strong bonding between teammates. Thankfully, metaverse could help bridge this gap to a great extent.
Metaverse is a hyperreal three-dimension virtual universe that replicates the physical world. Digital avatars of users can interact, work, and play just like in the real world.
Read all about metaverse here.
“Within the next two or three years, I predict most virtual meetings will move from 2D camera image grids…to the metaverse, a 3D space with digital avatars,” Bill Gates wrote in a blog piece citing the emerging trend that is metaverse.
The era of a decentralized internet is soon rushing in, powered by developments in blockchain technology. And just like how the internet revolutionized the way we live and work, the new internet or web3 is set to transform work for the positive.
Akin to web3 traits, the future of income will also become decentralized, independent of intermediaries, more user-centric, and loaded with opportunities to earn income without actually working in the traditional sense. Plus, metaverse will further ease the transition into the digitized social workspace.