Monday, January 26, 2009

What about the Semantic Web?

The discussion and hype about the Semantic Web has significantly decreased over the last 6 or 12 months after the recession has hit North America. Semantic Web has been defined in 1999 by Tim Berners-Lee:

“I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The "intelligence agents"people have touted for ages will finally materialize.”   

Despite its ambitious and visionary notion I believe that the Semantic Web will see more investments and progress over the next five years than most people believe. Why?

  •  There are quite a few Silicon Valley start-ups who are focusing on this space, probably more than even before
  • Computer and Processing Power is getting cheaper, faster, and more powerful than ever
  • Most important though: The increasing amount of Information (it is doubling every 3 years) will need new ways of organization. Human beings will be too challenged to use this vast universe of information in any meaningful way. 

The interesting part for marketers will be to find different forms of monetizing the Semantic Web. At the beginning only parts of the Web will migrate into the Semantic Web structure which will be the playground for figuring out how to make money. 

Maybe we should bet on the first brand that will pay marketing dollars to be on the Semantic Web? Or on the company that will be the major driving force in building the Semantic Web? Most likely it will not be Google or any currently widely know company.


Blogger Steve said...

hmm, sounds something like what Wiener was talking about in the 1950s. The ethical issues aside I wonder if a semantic web is really possible. I mean almost everything we talk, blog, twitter, etc. about is from a slightly different perspective or at a different level of abstraction - for eg. we can talk about a building from an architectural perspective, but also from a financial, spatial/physical, aesthetic, historical, sociological... etc.

So far computers are pretty hopeless at understanding and interpreting language. Otherwise we'd have solved the Turing test issue.

I think talk of the semantic web has diminished for a couple of reasons, nobody really knows what it means, and also because no one really thinks we are anywhere near solving the technical issues related to meaning and semantics.

To solve that, you have to somehow figure out how things acquire meaning and it doesn't appear that that problem will be solved anytime soon.

6:07 PM  
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6:48 AM  

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