Building the future

Meet web3’s new generation of creators

This is essay 7of 7 for The Tech Progressive Writing Challenge. Check out build_ to join the conversation.

The web3 space moves insanely fast and is hard to definitively pin down. Just when you think you know what it is, it’s already morphed into something slightly different, something slightly more. The “Yes, and…” rule of improv comedy is alive and well in this space. In order to get a handle on what’s going on, you have to actually dip your toes into it a bit and experience it for yourself. If you’re bold, you can dive in with both feet and no reservations.

A photo, taken from behind, of a person dressed in a fuzzy animal costume standing on a wooden deck, gazing toward a distant city seen on the horizen from a great height. (Photo taken 10/30/21 in Hollywood Hills, CA)

That’s how I found myself, dressed as a highland cow, admiring the view from a mansion in Hollywood Hills the day before Halloween. I was there to catch a glimpse of the future from the people who are building it, piece by piece. I wouldn’t be disappointed.

The web3 space represents a number of technologies coming into their own in an online environment full of people with radically different views on what art, music, games, food, finance, education, and careers can be. The result is a burgeoning period of innovation that will likely come to define an entire generation of creative artists. One place where this type of creativity is on full display is at AR House LA, which recently hosted an AR Halloween Pool Party to showcase up-and-coming creators.

I met Brendan, who creates magical food-centric AR experiences, and got to try out his latest experiment — a deliciously creepy serving of Magic Mochi ice cream, which took on the appearance of a bloody eyeball that tracked perfectly as I viewed it from different angles. His Twitter feed is full of other amazing AR food experiences, and I can easily picture this as yet another layer of creative storytelling that would be right at home aboard the Star Wars Galactic Starcruiser, Disney’s immersive hotel experience.

I also met Anahita, who is creating Agents of Influence, an interactive game which teaches middle schoolers how to identify and defend against disinformation and misinformation. This is a critical skill in today’s always-online society, and one that will only become more important going forward. Technologies like GPT-3 can and will be abused, but educational initiatives like Agents of Influence can help blunt the damage.

Physical spaces aren’t the only place to hear from people building web3. There are a diverse array of voices on Clubhouse and in Twitter spaces, on Discord servers and Telegram. If you take the time to explore these places, you’ll quickly learn that there is no single defining story when it comes to the metaverse. Everybody is here with something unique to contribute, and hearing these stories is an important part of community building.

On Twitter I met Sonora, who grew up as an undocumented DREAMER in the US, and who was sharing the story of her culture and family through her Calaveritas NFT project. Sonora kept it real, sharing both her struggles and her knowledge as she worked tirelessly to meet her Dia de Muertos release date. Sonora is one of many people creating welcoming, safe, and inclusive spaces in web3, and we need more role models like her.

Most recently, I met a bunch of awesome people over at build_, a global coworking DAO, where I participated in The Tech Progressive writing challenge, organized by @grant_nissly. Here, I see people doing the work that is necessary as we strive to build a better world. The same themes of inclusivity, mutual support, knowledge-sharing, and positivity that represent the best of web3 are present here. These values should be supported wherever they’re found, as the future is only as good as we make it.

Let’s build together and make it the best one we can.

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