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Re: [OT] "State of the Semantic Web" - personal opinions?

From: Leo Sauermann <leo.sauermann@dfki.de>
Date: Mon, 30 Jun 2008 20:03:04 +0200
Message-ID: <48691FD8.1070207@dfki.de>
To: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
CC: public-sweo-ig@w3.org
It was Danny Ayers who said at the right time 30.06.2008 13:40 the 
following words:
> [I already sent this to semantic-web@w3.org 
> <mailto:semantic-web@w3.org> (so big apologies if you get it more than 
> once), but it's since occurred to me that to get a broader picture I 
> should canvas a handful of other groups/individuals]
> In brief, some time soon I'm planning to do a moderately 
> comprehensive, fairly non-technical write-up on this topic (for 
> Nodalities [1] - has quite a large & varied readership (including 
> Planet RDF :-)
> I'd like to try to be as objective as possible (personal 
> ideosyncracies aside). But I'm really hesitant... I want to do the 
> topic justice, but am totally ignorant of a vast amount of what's been 
> happening in the field of late (and have a terrible memory!). So I 
> would very much like to draw on other people's knowledge and 
> experience, different perspectives, even vague intuitions on this. In 
> short, he-elp!
> Please reply on-list if it's on-topic there and ok for direct 
> publication (include your homepage URI if you want quoting), or 
> probably better still mail me personally - if you have off-the-record 
> comments  I won't mention source.
> The inspiration - last month I had the pleasure of attending a talk by 
> Ivan Herman entitled "State of the Semantic Web" [at 2, most recent 
> slides at [3]]. Great material, but clearly he was there primarily in 
> his role as semweb lead at the W3C, though to his credit he went far 
> deeper than mere cheerleading.
> (I too do semweb stuff as a profession, but I'm fortunate enough that 
> the company I work for encourages speculative exploration - if I 
> asserted "the semweb sucks!", it'd just lead to further discussion ;-)
> Ok, so for this as-yet hypothetical write-up, I'd like to include a 
> few success stories, as well as an example or two of things that 
> *haven't* worked.
> A few random areas I'd love to hear thoughts on - some of them involve 
> prognostication, but I'll interpolate backwards (!)...sorry, lots more 
> bullets than I initially intended - please just pick any that you feel 
> strongly about! -
> * Obviously Semantic Web technologies potentially have a big role 
> within the corporate Intranet. How are things going there?
> (Personally I'm not comfortable with distinctions between "Public Web" 
> and er, "HTTP on the LAN" or even "Our Lovely Inference Engine", but 
> for present purposes I'll keep my mouth shut :-)
> * Money! What's the current status of funding for semweb research in 
> academia? Inside big corps? Gov. orgs? Funding from VCs etc?
> * What's the range of application of RDF like nowadays? (Obscure 
> examples would be nice)

desktop search in kde 4.0 :-)

(and is also a sweo use case now)

> * What is the significance of recent interest in Semantic Technologies 
> (those without necessarily having any tie to the Web)?
negative view:
in the public - probably none.
Most articles in it magazines on the topic start with "the currently 
non-existant semantic web is still an academic endeavour, but...."
and many people use the word "semantic" but don't write it RDF...

(you know the positive views)
> * How far does RDF+SPARQL (+RDFS) get us? Where might OWL(2) take us? 
> Is there any conflict between these directions?
> * How have the Linked Data initiatives changed perceptions in the use 
> of RDF?
good awareness barometer,
but there are none to few applications that actually USE this data.
(mobile dbpedia one of them)
> * How's the chicken? How's the egg?
> (aside - we seem to have a decent supply of data now - but where are 
> the UIs/hooks into existing UIs/never-before-considered applications?)
enough eggs and chicken,
but nobody eats them or releases egg-based food.
> * Has the role of the W3C changed in this context over the past few years?
the Role of W3C is a problem, as the doctrine to "not release 
ontologies" is tricky.
standardization bodies usually also do the ontologies as such, providing 
a registry and model to author them (tools, communities, etc). There are 
some semi-official ontologies such as w3c-vcard or w3c-geo, but they 
were published and then left desolated, there is no formal body 
nurturing them.
hence, with the standardization of good ontologies, the semantic web 
will benefit

second change of the role of w3c is "now we do hire marketing"
in 2006 (when I joined SWEO), w3c position was more like "no money 
invested into marketing, we invest into standardizing and technical 
staff". Position changed, which I deem good.

> * Can we still speak of "The Semantic Web Community" as a (reasonably) 
> unified whole? Should it be?
sure, #swig lives on.

add the "linking open data community"
> * Have the attitudes of the developer community at large changed much 
> towards the Semantic Web? (Did SWEO help?)
a little. the use cases probably help.

> * How has/will blogging influenced the Semantic Web?
> * Initially the Web 2.0 'movement' had little or nothing to do with 
> the Semantic Web (beyond the lower layers of the stack) - is there any 
> evidence of change there?

> * Slightly tangential - where do you see social networking going? 
> (Possibilities off the top of my head - unification of services; 
> general loss of interest through another fad coming along; descent 
> into the Web infrastructure) 
> - supplemental: assume the fad prognosis - what'll be next?
> * Is there yet any compelling, user-friendly application that is 
> solidly based on the Semantic Web (and within that definition I'll 
> include linked data and suchlike broad Web connectivity)?
>  - bonus: if I want to show Mom how cool the semweb is, without 
> blinding her with triples, where do I start?

nepomuk.kde.org , click on "user"

(if mom uses Linux)
> * Of the old layer cake, we seem to approaching the point where some 
> of the upper layers don't seem far off being ready for prime time: 
> Rules, Logic, Proof. Too optimistic?
> * Again with the cake: we know we need Trust - but whatever happened 
> to Signature, Encryption?
> * Named graphs are the future?
named graphs were also the past.
you notice these http:// uris in the namespaces? .... well, there has to 
be some RDF there....
> * (Summary of the last few) - are we done with new specs yet?
XML serialization is not really XSLT friendls,
schemas have problems when it comes to lists and embedding 
HTML/RDF/XML/text into each other.
basic parts of RDF are missing, such as connecting a document to the 
metadata about the document (what triple do you use for connecting the 
two uris? seeAlso?)
> * Any impact anticipated from HTML5?
> * If there was (is?) a Web 2.0 cake, no doubt it would now include 
> OpenID and OAuth - how compatible are these/can these be with the 
> semweb tech we know & love?
> * Not unrelated, there's a fair bit of similarity between OpenID 
> Attribute Exchange and RDF, as well as what appears to be a parallel 
> stack to the (Semantic) Web with XRDS/XRI/XDI etc. Is independent 
> invention of this nature a good thing or not?
> (My mouth remains firmly shut :-)
they should all use RDF.

> * There's always been a Semantic Web roadmap - has its destination 
> changed?
> * What obstacles are there?
> * Event/comm-related things - IM, XMPP, Twitter even - where's the 
> semweb in all that?
> * Mobile Semantic Web - how're we doing?
> * Ubiquitous Semantic Web - how're we doing?
> * Jim Hendler's question: where are the agents?
> * What are the best next actions to carry this Grand Project (tm) forward?
make google use semantic web.
the easiest way: do a company, get bought by google, smuggle semweb into 
google this way. (the perfect businessplan and way-to-success (tm))

> * Loose question - while it doesn't make much sense to say when the 
> Web was/is finished (2 hosts? 2 billion?), but barring disasters, on 
> what kind of timescale do you think we'll see a significant 
> qualitative difference in the Web at large due to Semantic Web 
> technologies?
when the main way to import appointments and contact information from a 
website inty my calendar/addressbook is using RDF. and is a natural 
thing to do for firefox/internetexplorer.
> * Anyone noticed any serendipity recently?
> * What questions did I miss? :-)

> Cheers,
> Danny.
> [1] http://blogs.talis.com/nodalities/
> [2] http://www.semantic-conference.com/session/723/
> [3]http://www.w3.org/People/Ivan/CorePresentations , 
> http://www.ivan-herman.net/professional/CV/Pres.html
> -- 
> http://dannyayers.com
> ~
> http://blogs.talis.com/nodalities/this_weeks_semantic_web/
> -- 
> http://dannyayers.com
> ~
> http://blogs.talis.com/nodalities/this_weeks_semantic_web/ 

DI Leo Sauermann       http://www.dfki.de/~sauermann 

Deutsches Forschungszentrum fuer 
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Received on Monday, 30 June 2008 18:03:43 UTC

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