talking about the Semantic Internet

London 9:38 29th Jan 2009 Transcript

– talking about the Semantic Internet.

Louis: It was originally a concept thought of by Tim Berners-Lee. Do you know who Tim Berners-Lee is?

Tommy: No.

Louis: Tim Berners-Lee was the founding father of the internet. He is also the head of W3C. He kind of is credited with inventing it [the internet].

Tommy: Okay.

Louis: In 1999 he said, “I have a dream for the Web in which computers become capable of analyzing all the data on the web, the content, the links and the 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 intelligent agents people have touted for ages will finally materialize.”

People have done have started to roll out the 1st generation applications that will make up the Semantic Internet — have you seen it on iTunes, have you downloaded Genius?

Tommy: I love that on my iTunes

Louis: What Genius does is it uses a database to cross-reference your musical taste for the track you are listening to and creates a playlist. It matches your data with other data from everyone else and bingo, it suggests a track you might like listening to. Well that is just the Semantic Internet in one dimension.

The better example of a Semantic Internet would be: say, you know someone in a hospital and what you do is you look up their condition – kidney infection. And you go, oh my God that is really awful. You found out they were in the hospital because you got an email that you have looked at, in your Google inbox or your online inbox. The contextual information around it says “homeopathic cure for kidney infection”. You want to find out if it’s worked for other people. You get directed to a couple of glowing reviews. That is pretty good you think. I would like to buy that ‘cure’ for this person. You click on it, bang! My browser directs me straight to the store to buy it and the Semantic Internet is that clever because it has associated hospital with that day delivery service. Information pops up and says, “Would you like to use the delivery service?”

That is the example of how the Semantic Internet may change commerce and trade and the way we work. I think that’s the way Tim Berners-Lee originally envisaged it. The computers are connected together and by pulling all that information together logically. It is not filtering or a popularity test in the way that Google and other search engines do now.

Instead it is join up the data, it is helping to suggest the next thing we might think of. And that is kind of the vision I have for the internet. When the other concepts we talk about a lot like the Ubiquitous internet become a reality society will change, productivity will accelerate and humans should make another great leap forward.

Or maybe the machines will out think us – but that’s for another day

[Tommy works with me at HC]

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