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A discussion: Is semantic web an old fashioned idea? Is it bubble, unworthy or an interesting research area - Post your comments

From: Miltiadis Lytras <mdl@eltrun.gr>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2004 15:39:46 +0300
Message-ID: <D518AD0B3F00324FB9D39202C4B7E65608F1EE@cosmos.eltrun.gr>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, <www-annotation@w3.org>, <acl@opus.cs.columbia.edu>, <kaw@swi.psy.uva.nl>, <daml-all@daml.org>, <ontoweb-list@www1-c703.uibk.ac.at>, <seweb-list@www1-c703.uibk.ac.at>, <irlist-editor@acm.org>, <ontology@fipa.org>, <ontology@cs.umbc.edu>
Dear Sir/ Madam
 
In AIS SIGSEMIS we do believe that no technology not even theory is panacea. For this reason we do believe in dialogue. I decided to initiate an interesting discussion concerning your perceptions and ideas for SW. 
 
In a blogging system I recently saw an interesting discussion of John Sowa and Danny Ayers discussing the real meaning of Semantic Web. Two quotes are given below:
 
John Sowa: 
 
"....(for whole comment see below my signature"
 
  Just look at the contrast:
 
  1. In 6 years time with ZERO hype and an insignificant
     amount of funding, the WWW evolved from a couple
     of lonely programmers to Netscape and the essential
     features of what we see on the web today.
 
  2. In 6 years (1998 to 2004) with ENORMOUS hype and
     funding, the semantic web has evolved from Tim BL's
     book to a few prototype applications, which are less
     advanced than technologies of the 1970s such as SQL,
     Prolog, and expert systems -- and they're doing it
     with XML, which is far less advanced than LISP,
     which was developed in the 1950s.
 
This contrast does not give me a warm, hopeful feeling
about the semantic web.  I wish them luck, but I don't
want to be tarred with that brush".
 
Danny Ayers:
 
" 
But you're implying that the WWW and Semantic Web are completely
different entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a
one huge difference between the current fledgling applications and those
of  1970's expert systems - the RDF and OWL apps can work on the web.
There is a web to work on, and that's what they were designed for.
 
Where is that ENORMOUS hype taking place? The web. I'd call that
bootstrapping.
 
To put it another way, the WWW is the Semantic Web 80% done.
 
And cheese is more advanced than chalk...
 
Cheers,
Danny.
 
"
 
Feel free to share with us your personal view and comments. I would like to deeply thank John Sowa and Danny Ayers for their excellent and opposite comments on a recent announcment of our new SIGSEMIS Bulletin. Looking Forward to see your comments. Some of them will be published in our next July issue of SIGSEMIS Bulletin (join as members at  <http://www.sigsemis.org> www.sigsemis.org to receive notifications). Below my signature you can read the entire John Sowa's and Danny Ayers comments. 
 
Visit  <http://www.sigsemis.org/bulletinboard/public/81102612502> http://www.sigsemis.org/bulletinboard/public/81102612502 and post your personal comment. 
 
Kindest Regards
 

Dr. Miltiadis D. Lytras
-------------------------------------------------
AIS SIG SEMIS,  <http://www.sigsemis.org> http://www.sigsemis.org
Department of Management Science and Technology 
ELTRUN - The Research Center 
Athens University of Economics and Business 
47A Evelpidon Str., 113 62 Athens, Greece 
Tel.: + 30 210 8203663 
Fax: + 30 210 8203664 
e-mail:  <mailto:mdl@aueb.gr> mdl@aueb.gr ;  <mailto:mdl@eltrun.gr> mdl@eltrun.gr
site:  <http://www.eltrun.gr> www.eltrun.gr 
 

*********************
John Sowa's comment:
**********************
The first issue of the Bulletin of the group for
Semantic Web and Information Systems (SEMIS) is
now available in PDF form:
 
 <http://www.sigsemis.org/newsletter/April2004/FINAL_AIS_SIGSEMIS_Bulletin_1_1_04_1_.pdf> http://www.sigsemis.org/newsletter/April2004/FINAL_AIS_SIGSEMIS_Bulletin_1_1_04_1_.pdf
 
As people may have noticed, I have been critical of
many things that are going on with the semantic web.
That is not because I am against the idea of the
semantic web, but because I am terrified of the
enormous amount of hype that is being dumped on
this technology, which is 30 years old.
 
I also have nothing against 30-year-old technology.
On the contrary, I strongly recommend many technologies
that are over a century old (e.g., first-order logic)
or over two millennia old (e.g., Aristotle).  But what
bothers me about the semantic web is that people have
been pumping so much hot air into this balloon that
it will inevitably explode and end up tarnishing any
technology is remotely associated with word "semantics".
 
As an example of how things should be done, I suggest
the original World Wide Web, which Tim B. L. and a few
other people put together with a tiny amount of funding.
It grew quietly by spreading through the academic
community, and many other groups quietly experimented
with new function, many of which fell by the wayside,
while others, such as MOSAIC, grew into things like
Netscape, which revolutionized the way we use computers.
 
Just look at the contrast:
 
  1. In 6 years time with ZERO hype and an insignificant
     amount of funding, the WWW evolved from a couple
     of lonely programmers to Netscape and the essential
     features of what we see on the web today.
 
  2. In 6 years (1998 to 2004) with ENORMOUS hype and
     funding, the semantic web has evolved from Tim BL's
     book to a few prototype applications, which are less
     advanced than technologies of the 1970s such as SQL,
     Prolog, and expert systems -- and they're doing it
     with XML, which is far less advanced than LISP,
     which was developed in the 1950s.
 
This contrast does not give me a warm, hopeful feeling
about the semantic web.  I wish them luck, but I don't
want to be tarred with that brush.
 
John Sowa
 
************
Danny Ayers Comment
*************
But you're implying that the WWW and Semantic Web are completely
different entities. Nothing could be further from the truth. There's a
one huge difference between the current fledgling applications and those
of  1970's expert systems - the RDF and OWL apps can work on the web.
There is a web to work on, and that's what they were designed for.
 
Where is that ENORMOUS hype taking place? The web. I'd call that
bootstrapping.
 
To put it another way, the WWW is the Semantic Web 80% done.
 
And cheese is more advanced than chalk...
 
Cheers,
Danny.
 
--
 
Raw
 <http://dannyayers.com> http://dannyayers.com
 
 
Received on Wednesday, 16 June 2004 08:39:55 GMT

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