From Web 3.0 to Web 4.0

Futurist and Business Strategist

Daniel Burrus is considered one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. The New York Times has referred to him as one of the top three business gurus in the highest demand as a speaker.

He is a strategic advisor to executives from Fortune 500 companies, helping them to develop game-changing strategies based on his proven methodologies for capitalizing on technology innovations and their future impact. His client list includes companies such as Microsoft, GE, American Express, Google, Toshiba, Procter & Gamble, Honda, and IBM.

He is the author of six books, including The New York Times and Wall Street Journal best-seller Flash Foresight: How To See The Invisible and Do The Impossible, as well as the international best-seller Technotrends.


He has been the featured subject of several PBS television specials and has appeared on programs such as CNN, Fox Business, and Bloomberg, and is quoted in a variety of publications, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Fortune, and Forbes.

He has founded six businesses, three of which were national leaders in the United States in the first year. He is the CEO of Burrus Research, a research and consulting firm that monitors global advancements in technology driven trends to help clients profit from technological, social and business forces that are converging to create enormous, untapped opportunities.

His accurate predictions date back to the early 1980s where he became the first and only futurist to accurately identify the twenty technologies that would become the driving force of business and economic change for decades to come. Since then, he has continued to establish a worldwide reputation for his exceptional record of predicting the future of technology driven change and its direct impact on the business world.

  • Transcript


Daniel Burrus: Web 1.0 was search.  And Yahoo! brought us that in the early ‘90s.  Web 2.0 is social media, and, of course, that’s exploded. So what’s Web 3.0?  It’s happening faster than Web 1 to Web 2 and because of processing power, bandwidth and storage creating a curve of exponential change.  So web 3 is the 3D web.  And you might be thinking, does that mean 3D glasses like I have on some of the new television sets?  And the answer is no, no, no.  That was an early foray into it.  3D is, first of all, we already have that with video games where you go in to environments in 3D, think Xbox and some of the other video games.  But to have it go internal or stick out at you as 3D in a theater without glasses, already starting to happen on video games.
Because you see with a television set in your living room, there’s a lot of people trying to watch.  That’s why you need the glasses.  But with a phone and with a tablet, 3D has a shorter viewing angle and you don’t need the glasses.  So you’re going to see 3D on phones and tablets coming up very shortly. By the way, another thing that I want you to think about, this is a real game changer, the 3D web browser.  It's three-dimensional.  You can go into inter-spatial places.  You can go into rooms, in to convention centers, in to showrooms.  You can have things stick out at you or go in.  I've already got a prototype I’m testing on my laptop right now. And that is game changing.  So you start - have to start asking yourself, how might I use a 3D web browser, because it's coming faster than you think.  

So what about Web 4.0?  Will that be coming along soon?  And the answer is, oh, yeah.  That’s starting to happen already. Web 4.0 is about intelligence.  It’s about the ultra-intelligent electronic agent.  You will have a personal intelligent agent soon on every device, because it doesn’t matter what device are on, it will recognize you when you get in front of it because all of your devices are getting a little camera.  And with facial recognition, they’ll know it’s you.  So when you get in front of your Internet-connected television, telephone, whatever it might be, your agent will be there.  And you'll determine what your agent will look like, even the personality of your agent.

You'll see agents for kids, agents for professionals, all of these agents.  So what'll it be like?  How will this work?  All right.  You're going to get up in the morning, you're going to go to your device.  And your agent will say "Good morning.  You're flying to Boston today; take a raincoat, it's raining.  By the way, that fight you were taking, it’s already been canceled.  Don't worry about it. There was a mechanical.  I've already booked you on a new one, I'll tell you about on the way to the airport.  But remember you’re going to exercise everyday and I’m here to remind you that you’re going to exercise.”  And you might say, “I don't know if I want to exercise today,” and It'll show you a nude profile of yourself.  And you’ll say, “You know what, I think I'm going to exercise today.”

So then you'll go down and you'll start on the treadmill and it'll be on the television set.  Of course, it knows were there; you’ll turn on the TV set.  It will say, “Would you like to watch CNN?  What would you like to watch?”   And you'll say, “I'd like to watch this channel,” and it'll put it on for you.  And then when you're done, it'll say, “Hey remember, you've got a diet you’re on. I’ll meet you in the kitchen.”  

And because it’s gotten to know you really well, it can give you what you need also, using a little creativity, what you didn't ask for but you should have asked for.  And you’ll find it to be extremely powerful.  I also see that they will be branded versions being sold by trusted providers. You’ll get plug-ins from companies and providers and from doctors and lawyers and all these people that will help you have a trusted source so that there is indeed competition and not just one agent.  

Now let me give you one more on the ultra-intelligent agent, which is coming to us fast.  And that is the screen-less smartphone.  Yeah.  They're going to get a smartphone with no screen at all.  It'll be game changing and it'll be big.  That's a hard trend of certainty.  The soft trend, I don’t know who’s going to make it.  Will it be Apple that'll put out first?  I don’t know?  That’s soft.  Can’t predict that but it will happen and soon.  So what is a smartphone with no screen?  Well it doesn't mean, first of all, that you won't have a smartphone with a screen; after all, we like to see things, we like video, we like to do all these things.  But having a no screen smartphone and an ultra-intelligent agent that is telling us what we are asking for can be very useful, and very small.

As a matter of fact, I could make it look like jewelry, and wear it.  And how would I activate it?  Well think of Star Trek.  I might just touch it.  And you’ll say, “Now, I’m in New York today; I got to get to the Ritz Carlton for a meeting.  How do I get there?”  Well it won’t show me at map; there’s no screen.  But it can say, “Walk a block, turn right.”  In other words, ask a question, you’ll get an answer from an ultra-intelligent agent.  You don’t need a screen all the time.  That'll be a game changer. Disruptive technology is only disruptive if you didn’t look and see it coming, and it is all there for you to see.

Directed / Produced by Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd