A day in the Solid world

How tomorrow, the web will be different

This article presents the future of the web by describing one of my probable future days. I hope it helps you understand the changes that are coming, measure how significant they are, and why we are convinced at Startin’blox that we are changing the world by working on it. Let’s start!

Photo by Photos Hobby on Unsplash

7h52 – Game is on!

I wake up in a pretty low tech fashion, as I usually do not set an alarm clock. The body just switches ON when it’s fully charged. I like to start my day by reading the news, to get a feel of what is happening on Earth and beyond. 

For years I read BBC news via their mobile application but thank God that’s long gone by now. Don’t get me wrong, BBC news is a great source of information but now, all the news agencies are interoperable. There exist dozens of news reading applications, most of them open source and financed by the newspapers themselves.

The one I’m using allows me to filter out articles that have been crowd rated as fake news or biased. Editorialization is crowd sourced, and allows me to find the best articles in the world for every single topic, sometimes a Medium blog post by a researcher, sometimes a small opposition newspaper of the local country, often still, a well respected newspaper which have remained the best media to cover geopolitical topics which I enjoy following. 
The comments section, also moderated by the community, is often a useful source of complementary information.

Each news producer can reach a broader audience than before, and therefore monetization issues of the online press is almost a topic of the past, you just have to be relevant to your audience and they reward you for it.

8h46 – Hey, it seems I’ll see my girlfriend soon

My girlfriend lives in Lyon, and I was planning on visiting her next weekend, so I posted it on my SOcial LInked Data (SOLID) profile online. In 24 hours, the 3 transport companies I gave access to that data made me 15 offers. The most practical for me was the train departing at 11am this Friday. It fitted well with my agenda, I love the train because it is calm, reliable, wifi is good and I’m not very good with smalltalk. 

However I strongly hesitated with the electric car sharing offer with two climbers on Friday afternoon. Being able to control my data and who has access to it allowed the transport companies I trust to know I’m in love with climbing and a staunch ecologist. I must admit meeting cool climbers for outdoor sessions is always attractive, and an electric car feels almost as good as the train regarding my carbon footprint. I passed for this time though: I have work to do but the offer was more than tempting.

9h15 – Katia seems pretty excited

I meet my roommate Katia in the corridor, she is heading to work, a big smile on her face. She is delighted to tell me that tonight, she is meeting for the first time this handsome guy that the latest dating app in town recommended to her. The previous dating app she was using ended up bothering her because they were also using her data to display targeted ads between swipes and she got tired of it, so she revoked its access to her data. . 
The guy she is meeting tonight seems to have it all for Katia: they both practice yoga, he speaks both French and Russian fluently, he uses alternative medicine, they listen to the same songs, like the same movies, practice bachata and both share a passion for art and design. 

I think I’d be freaked out by so many things in common with someone. As a matter of fact, dating apps never really worked for me anyway. Let’s see if it does for Katia or if the perfect date she envisions right now only exists in her mind. I can’t wait to hear how it went tomorrow morning in the corridor. She has just left for now, and I’ll start my working day. I work from home today.

10h30 – I only did my duty, Sir…

A client of mine calls me to renew the web app hosting and maintenance contract we have together. We said we’d call each other to sift through the few hiccups that happened over the past twelve months and ensure the coming year would run more smoothly. I was a bit nervous but all in all though, she seems happy with the service. 

She is working for Coopératives Europe, a european association fostering inter cooperations between European cooperatives. She concludes that, since they were able to interconnect their members more seamlessly online via Solid, commercial activity within the federation has increased by 27%, and trust towards the federation has greatly increased. Members know they are fully autonomous, each have their own applications, workflows and practices, and can still interact and eventually contract with the other members of the federation online.

12h30 – Data is power

Lunch time with Sylvain, my all time partner. He seems to have had yet another short night. The guy can’t sleep for 2 weeks now, but he doesn’t talk to me about it, and I don’t ask. I think he knows I’m here to help if it is really serious, below that he doesn’t even bother mentioning it. Hopefully the storm will pass. 

We meet to discuss the positions of the company regarding the current reforms the government is planning regarding freelancers representation and pensions. For a few years now, economical actors’ opinions have been taken into account. Each company references the URL of its server and its public key on a private blockchain launched by the government to guarantee the identity of the voters. 

For each consultation, companies can then publish their position on their own server. That allows their customers and shareholders to have a public list of the positions taken by the company, and the state can collect opinions and votes about a given proposal while leaving the political discussion closer to those affected by it. Such processes were enacted a few years after the yellow vest movement blocked the country for several months, revealing a widening rift between the ruling class and the rest of the population. People still complain now, but at least we can govern and move forward, the “Macron is an asshole” excuse doesn’t hold anymore, plus the guy isn’t even in power now… It is harder to be against a political decision when you know most companies and citizens backed it directly. The legitimacy of the decisions is stronger this way, people feel more listened to.

16h45 – Data is health as well

I’m calling Sophie to know what is up with her leg. She tore her hamstring while we were surfing together a few weeks ago, and she was seeing the doctor again yesterday for a final round of exams to figure out if she needs surgery or not. Unfortunately, it turns out she does. Her tendon is totally detached from her pelvis, and it needs to be attached again if she wishes to run again like a gazelle. 

As she stores all her medical data on her SOLID data safe online, doctors were able to assess she had a high chance to be allergic to the general anaesthesia shot she was about to be given, based on the fact that both her parents are. They’ll use an alternative product then, and Sophie won’t throw up while waking up… Not a great victory but… better still.

20h00 –Time to eat! 

I check on my food app. It is run by a company that indexes all the food options in Paris from restaurants, cantines, homemade, bakeries, supermarkets, food trucks. My criterias are simple: eating vege for less than 8€. It seems that tonight, the local school canteen has some extra eggplant lasagna they’re giving away almost for free, and I’m buying!

20h45  –  Time to unwind

It’s been a long day, and it is time to chill in front of a good documentary. Because my friends let me access their public streaming history – without porn basically – I could pick between “Men of Rock” and “the Social Dilemma” based on their recommendations. I went for geology today, and it makes me want to climb what I’m seeing…

I hope you enjoyed this ride into the future of the web. We are fairly close to such a healthy relation with technology. Interoperability of data to retain control over it is a big part of the path. Want to react or share your own vision? Feel free to contact me: alex@startinblox.com.

Author

Alex Bourlier

Co-president of Solid France Co-founder of Startin'blox & Happy Dev

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