The Semantic Web Will Make You Blush

3 minute read
Marisa Peacock avatar
Radar Networks
There's a reason why dating will soon be dead: the Semantic Web. The universe would be hard pressed to find another who knows what you really want more than Nova Spivack, who's got a dream for artificial intelligence on the Web. Spivack, founder of Radar Networks, is getting ready to unwrap a private version of a service that uses "Semantic Web" technologies, with a public launch to follow sometime this fall. This technology will let computers understand the nuances and relationships in information they encounter. Semantic systems use a standard format to classify all the Web's information and will be able to not only look up information, but -- if it works as advertised -- understand it as well. This next evolution -- popularly called Web 3.0 -- is not just an incremental improvement. To quote Spivack, "The '+ 1' is the addition of software and metadata that help people and other applications organize and make better sense of the Web. That new layer of semantics -- often called "The Semantic Web" -- will add to and build on the existing value provided by social networks, folksonomies and collaborative filtering that are already on the Web."Now don't think that Spivack is alone in developing this thing called Web 3.0 because he's not. IBM, Google and Oracle are all over it. According to a recent Business Week article, "Experts predict that in the next 5 to 10 years, companies will use the Semantic Web to build smarter search engines, automate everyday Web tasks such as comparison shopping and identify connections between information stored in far-flung corporate databases." Currently, semantic technologies are already being used on small scales to help stock traders pinpoint trends, and help users find that photos easier on Flickr, for example. While this technology seems like a godsend, especially to those grumps who feel misunderstood by the current version of the Web, there is speculation as to whether the Web can handle such structure. However, don't mistake this skepticism for disinterest, because everyone seems to be eagerly waiting and preparing for the Semantic Web. For example, our dear content compatriot, Scott Abel of The Content Wrangler and Innodata Isogen, are hosting a free one hour webinar entitled Understanding the Semantic Web and its Impact on Technical Communications at 2PM EDT today.The webinar aims to teach how Web 2.0 technologies (blogs, wikis and podcasts) are fueling the user-generated content movement and how their use impacts customer expectations. At the Red Herring East conference last week, attendees spent time defining Web 3.0, agreeing that be it the "intersection of the Internet" or the "World Wide Database" it's bound to make the Web "a more unruly place because of the volume of user-generated content." Only time will tell if Web 3.0 will be Mr. Right, but if it does live up to its hype, just call me Mrs. Semantic Web.