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Re: What Happened to the Semantic Web?

From: Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2015 19:45:59 -0500
To: Wouter Beek <w.g.j.beek@vu.nl>
Cc: "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>, "semantic-web@w3.org" <semantic-web@w3.org>
Message-ID: <5643E147.6060709@openlinksw.com>
On 11/11/15 5:56 PM, Wouter Beek wrote:
> ​Hi Ruben, Kingsley, others,
> ​
> On Wed, Nov 11, 2015 at 9:49 PM, Ruben Verborgh
> <ruben.verborgh@ugent.be <mailto:ruben.verborgh@ugent.be>> wrote:
>     Of course—but the emphasis in the community has mostly been on
>     servers,
> ​ The emphasis has been on servers and, as of late, on Web Services.
> ​

Yes, that too is a new area of focus as exemplified by Hydra.

>     whereas the SemWeb vision started from agents (clients) that would
>     do things (using those servers).
> ​ Today we are nowhere near this vision.  In fact, we may be further
> removed from it today than we were in 2001.  If you look at the last
> ISWC there was particularly little work on (Web) agents.

As Rueben stated, too much focus has been paid to servers (which are
focused on large datasets etc..). The real game (as I see it) boils down
to small packets of "smart data" being transmitted via hyperlinks  etc..

>     Now, the Semantic Web is mostly a server thing, which the
>     Google/CSE example also shows.
> With the LOD Laundromat <http://lodlaundromat.org/> we had the
> experience that people really like it when we make publishing and
> consuming data very easy for them.  People generally find it easier to
> publish their data through a Web Service rather than having to use
> more capable data publishing software they have to configure locally. 
> We ended up with a highly centralized approach that works for many use
> cases.  It would have been much more difficult the build the same
> thing in a distributed fashion.

True. That's why its really a bit of everything rather than total focus
on one side of the equation. Right now, I think its time for clients and
services (controllers) to drive most of the interesting innovations and

> I find it difficult to see why centralization will not be the end game
> for the SW as it has been for so many other aspects of computing
> (search, email, social networking, even simple things like text chat).

The won't be centralization because more of the "deep web" will come to
the surface reducing the size and impacts of many of today's magnitude
based control points. This is just a natural feature of the Web that
can't be suppressed by anyone (person, organization, or bot army).

> The WWW shows that the 'soft benefits' of privacy, democratic
> potential, and data ownership are not enough to make distributed
> solutions succeed.

They are drivers that will aid increasing efforts to reduce
centralization. Those issues a completely incompatible with centralization.

> However, I believe that there are other benefits to decentralization
> that have not been articulated yet and that are to be found within the
> semantic realm.  An agent calculus is fundamentally different from a
> traditional model theory.

Naturally :)

> ---
> Best regards,
> Wouter Beek.
> Email: w.g.j.beek@vu.nl <mailto:w.g.j.beek@vu.nl>
> WWW: wouterbeek.com <http://wouterbeek.com>
> Tel: +31647674624


Kingsley Idehen	      
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OpenLink Software     
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Received on Thursday, 12 November 2015 00:46:26 UTC

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