Transmutable News

What is the Wider Web and the Agreement Bedrock?

Jan 21, 2022

Framing is power. It directs our discussions and defines how we think.

We are in the midst of a seemingly intractable conversation; of an energetic clash of ideas that has failed to produce a vision of a viable future. Whether it’s the Metaverse marketing folks, the World Wide Web standards bodies and browser teams, or the myriad crypto communities with a revolution named web3, we’re talking past each other and going nowhere (or worse).

As a journalist, here is my frame:

“News from the Wider Web and the Agreement Bedrock”

And here are definitions of those terms:

The Wider Web is a revision of the World Wide Web that responsively and progressively supports:
  • Three display modes: flat, portal, and immersive
  • Three control types: page, overlay, and spatial
  • New input types: gesture, voice, wands, and more
The Agreement Bedrock is a set of global and decentralized network protocols that will enable people to come to unequivocal agreement on:
  • Payments
  • Authentication
  • Identity
  • Receipts
  • Algorithmic contracts

More Details of The Wider Web

The Wider Web is not a replacement for the Web, it is an addition.

On the Wider Web the concepts of responsive and progressive support are extended beyond today’s flat displays (large or small) and a few input technologies like keyboards and touch screens. Each individual Wider Web site renders and behaves with multiple display modes, control types, and an expanding array of input types.

The three display modes of the Wider Web:

Flat display: A display that does not change its view as your position changes. This is the display mode of the current Web like you’d see on any old desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You load a web page and it just sits there, no matter how you wave it around or move your head.

Portal display: A handheld or mounted display that shows a physical or virtual environment from the perspective of the display. The most common example is a smartphone held up to look at digital art drawn on top of its camera’s video.

Immersive display: A display that covers most of your field of view and shows a view into a physical or virtual environment. These include opaque head mounted displays like virtual reality headsets and see-through augmented glasses.

The three control types of the Wider Web:

Page controls: Interactive elements that you’re used to on the Web like images, form fields, buttons, and blocks of text.

Overlay controls: Interactive elements that seem to sit on top of a display that is showing a virtual or physical environment. This is most commonly a text label or a button that doesn’t move while rendered on a smartphone in portal display mode. HUDs in first person games are another example.

Spatial controls: Interactive elements that are placed in the real or virtual environment. Spatial controls are usually three dimensional and are seemingly in an environment instead of sitting on the surface of the display. A spatial control could be a switch on a virtual lamp in a virtual environment seen through an immersive display or it could be a set of washing settings that hover around a washing machine when viewed through a portal display.

New input types of the Wider Web:

Wand: A handheld device with tracked orientation and position, often with touchpads, thumbsticks, buttons, or other controls.

Gesture: A body motion that can be recognized and used as input.

Voice: Phrases or other vocal noises that can be recognized and used as input.

More Details of The Agreement Bedrock

The Agreement Bedrock is a replacement for neither the Web nor the Internet. It is a set of open network protocols that can run over many networks, including the Internet. It can be used by existing and future clients, services, operating systems, devices, and meshes.

There is a separate dream to supplant everything that came before, to burn it to the ground and start over, because of injustice. The Agreement Bedrock is not that dream. It is an addition to what exists today. Hopefully (but not certainly) it can help people to fight injustice.

“Web3”, “crypto”, and “blockchain” are early dreams about parts of the Agreement Bedrock but not yet with solid form, effective decentralization of power, or open and IP-safe standards. Pieces of the protocols created by those dreamers will undoubtedly end up in the bedrock, though.

The new wave of efficient and renewables-powered currencies, non-fungible tokens, public key infrastructure, consensus algorithms, and identity declaration systems are candidates to become Agreement Bedrock protocols, in part or in tact. Power-hungry strategies like “proof of work” have no place in the Agreement Bedrock.

The technology of the Web is inherently incapable of becoming the Agreement Bedrock for immutable technical reasons (like DNS-defined origins) and cultural reasons (like the browser engine duopoly).

Like apps downloaded from corporate stores, the Web will use the Agreement Bedrock as it currently uses existing high-level protocols like OAuth. The potential for the Agreement Bedrock is greater than the Web or any single medium. The Agreement Bedrock sits underneath them all.

Next steps

I will go into more detail about people and projects working toward (or foiling) the Wider Web and the Agreement Bedrock in articles on this site and in the Transmutable Web Weekly. If you’d like to be a part of the conversation then subscribe using the form at the top of this page.

As always, I am and @TransmutableNew.