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Last week, we invited big-thinkers Reid Hoffman and Tim O’Reilly into the TechCrunch Studios to talk about Hoffman’s definition of “Web 3.0″– a torrent of innovation that’s going to be unleashed by all of this personal data being collected about us. In the first segment we talked about the scary implications of this wave of companies, and in the second segment we talked about the sometimes-futuristic, exciting ways data could make our lives better.
In this segment, I ask the two whether Web 3.0 is here now. The answer is yes and no. Like the shift from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 the lines are blurred, with some companies– like Google back then and Groupon today– straddling two worlds. But the two are making investments in uber-data-centric companies now.
And just like you could see roots of Web 2.0 in early community-focused companies like eBay and Skype, many Web 2.0 companies are already embracing the cross-platform data revolution that Facebook first hinted at with its controversial Beacon launch years ago. Hoffman cites LinkedIn’s Skills product as an example.
One area where the two disagree is where the most innovation will occur: O’Reilly is expecting huge changes in the physical world, while Hoffman is betting more heavily on digital. Either way, if you’re in college now, do yourself a favor and specialize in data science. The job title that didn’t really exist a few years ago is becoming the must-have skill set for the next generation of companies, Hoffman says.