The internet is becoming a playground for artificial intelligence, and there is an increasing need for proof of humanity. Tech leadership has warned us about the rise of AI and its implications on the world but continues to leverage it.
Deepfake technology and scams are only going to get more intelligent and make it harder to distinguish between bot and human, especially in Web3 where everything is decentralized. We need disruptive technologies that can verify humanity.
The rising challenge of distinguishing humans from bots
For years bots were simple — chatbots had set answers and didn’t cross the uncanny valley into our world. However, generative artificial intelligence is changing this. Bots are becoming more interactive and communicative as AI develops.
AI-based fraud, scams and deep fake technology are only getting more clever.
With access to an eternal font of data — the internet — AI will sound increasingly human with greater nuance and sophistication.
If the proliferation of AI is inevitable, we have to address these concerns head-on as we see them. Web3 is intended to improve upon the downfalls of Web2. It will not be worth it if those truly utilizing this decentralized space are mainly code-based automatons.
Proving humanity in tech was easy at first
For Web3 to be a benefit for people over bots, we need to be building, creating and expanding on what makes us more than code, which is humanity.
Proof of humanity is a way to prove that online interactions are being conducted by actual human beings rather than AI bots. In the Web2 world, CAPTCHA technology is an example of this, where humans are distinguished from machines through our ability to identify objects in pictures, ultimately establishing accountability and trust in digital interactions.
There have also been more rudimentary ways to identify humans in Web2: From mistrusting accounts with egg avatars on Twitter to looking for signs of a newly-made social media account. While not foolproof, humanity, or lack thereof, was easily discernible.
In Web3, it’s different. With a focus on privacy and personal control, there is a greater interest in being able to remain anonymous while still being trusted. The part that matters is verified on-chain, whether a message, name or transaction.
Decentralized identities as humanity’s building blocks
Verifying humanity on-chain is not something new. The acknowledgment of this need is already present in protocols like Proof of Humanity and Kleros. These projects are building the necessary foundations to be able to verify the person behind the wallet address. However, there is another area we in Web3 need to focus on: acknowledging that we are human in the first place.
Web3’s most significant drawbacks are brought up time and again — high gas fees, or transaction costs, and a poor user experience due to incredibly complex and decentralized app (dApps) contracts and front-ends designed by technical wizards. This is how we’ve ended up with wallet addresses that extend for 40 characters and tools that require basic software development knowledge to use. But if we are to increase the adoption of Web3 technologies and resources, we must cater to humanity and not code. We need to allow people to be human, build their identities, and ultimately prove their humanity.
Effective decentralized identities with human-readable names are central to this effort as we need humans to want to participate in Web3. Proof of humanity and decentralized naming systems in Web3 enhance accountability, anonymity and trust in online interactions. It gives people the opportunity to own their digital identity while simultaneously simplifying cross-platform interoperability.
Proof of humanity can start as simple as an NFT attestation connected to a given wallet and build out from there as part of a wider Web3 human identity layer. These advancements foster a secure and user-centric Web3 environment, affirming the importance of humanity while simultaneously promoting transparency and individual control in the ever-evolving digital landscape.
As AI evolves and gets smarter every day, the need for human identity in the digital world becomes even more important, so that we can prevent Web3 from being a bot zoo. This means we must focus on improving the human experience in Web3. Building decentralized digital identities with human-readable names is a way to prove our humanity and make Web3 human-friendly.
As we build the next generation of internet technology, let’s put humanity first. Making decentralized identities human-friendly, bringing in our recognized identifiers in names, and creating ways to distinguish humanity from AI is a critical part of building a safer, more straightforward and more secure internet experience.