W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-lod@w3.org > October 2017

Re: What Happened to the Semantic Web?

From: Sebastian Samaruga <ssamarug@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 2017 02:57:32 -0300
Message-ID: <CAOLUXBue6dBy5nCX+k3Gg0k_7yNeTio34Y1at3V2doeQ96G-kw@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@miscoranda.com>
Cc: W3C Semantic Web IG <semantic-web@w3.org>, www-archive <www-archive@w3.org>, public-lod@w3.org
Open and decentralized system: could P2P do the trick?

(raw from a draft I'm working on)

'P2P Metamodel integration. Peers (OSGi containers). DHTs (hash discovery
of models and resources). Scopes. Advertisements. Camel network bindings
(routes). Distributed dataflow activation graphs: inputs: Resource
Observable T, models, outputs: Resource Observable T. Models : Function
input, output: aggregate, compose, alignment, etc. 'discovered', resolved
and applied from context (input) on each layer metamodel. Declarative
models / trained models 'portable' (distributed, discoverable) across

See the whole document I'm attaching for context.

On Oct 11, 2017 8:12 AM, "Sean B. Palmer" <sean@miscoranda.com> wrote:

> I was curious as to what was going on with the Semantic Web these
> days: where did it go, who's using it, who's talking about it? As
> usual I decided to chat about it in the Semantic Web Interest Group
> channel #swig on Freenode, but since there is no logger there I
> scraped the log out of my IRC client and am posting it here.
> In case you don't want to wade through the waffle, the summary is that
> there were roughly four phases of Semantic Web development starting
> with the eponymous golden age: Semantic Web (2001-2005), Linked Data
> (2006-2010), JSON-LD (2010-2014), and now the Data Activity (2015-).
> The biggest tangible results are Schema.org in conjunction with
> JSON-LD for SEO, Dbpedia, a few tacky database products, and very
> loosely the API economy.
> The only work that I could find still taking place on the Semantic Web
> is under the W3C's Data Activity, which is very quiet and of limited
> scope. On the other hand, the conceptual legacy of the Semantic Web is
> still quite strong, and I make some notes on that in the log. As I
> say, the Semantic Web was originally the conception of graphs instead
> of trees, with global symbols, published in an open and decentralised
> system.
> The main problem seems not to have been the proliferation of the
> Semantic junk such as RDF/XML and SPARQL, as is sometimes argued
> (references below), but rather that the Web side did not provide an
> open and decentralised system in which to host the Semantic side.
> Ongoing efforts are being made to rectify that, but there are no
> promising solutions in that domain and so many of the Semantic Web
> ideas will remain dormant.
> <sbp> looking at how active Semantic Web stuff is now, out of curiosity
> <sbp> it seems that http://planetrdf.com/ is just a CFP spam site now
> <sbp> there is some activity on https://www.w3.org/wiki/
> Special:RecentChanges
> <sbp> none of the recent stuff seems to be SW related though
> <selckin> some people refuse to give up
> <sbp> let's try
> https://www.w3.org/2001/sw/wiki/index.php?title=Special:
> RecentChanges&days=365&from=
> <sbp> selckin: who?
> <sbp> only a few edits to this over the past year
> <sbp> mostly on https://www.w3.org/2001/sw/wiki/ShEx it seems
> <sbp> appears to be some sort of not very good schema thing, though
> ericP did make one of the implementations
> <sbp> the http://answers.semanticweb.com/ site that the IG page links
> to doesn't even respond
> <sbp> and https://www.w3.org/2007/11/Talks/search/query%3fdate=All+
> past+and+future+talks&%3bactivity=Semantic+Web&%3bsortInverse=yes
> is a "Discontinued service"
> <sbp> the CG page at https://www.w3.org/2001/sw/CG/wiki/ asks for log in
> <sbp> the RDFa WG is listed as active but according to
> https://www.w3.org/2010/02/rdfa/ it was closed in 2015
> <sbp> same with the RDF WG but
> https://www.w3.org/2011/rdf-wg/wiki/Main_Page says that was closed in
> 2014
> <sbp> the LDP WG closed in 2014 too, https://www.w3.org/2012/ldp/
> wiki/Main_Page
> <sbp> ah, an explanation: "A few days ago W3C started a new activity,
> called Data Activity, that also subsumes the (by now old) Semantic Web
> Activity." — https://www.w3.org/blog/SW/
> <sbp> strange that the SW page itself doesn't explain that
> <sbp> heh, dsr is the lead. well how about that
> <sbp> they have a "Dataset Exchange Working Group",
> https://www.w3.org/2017/dxwg/wiki/Main_Page
> <sbp> trying to work out what this is
> <sbp> they were working on DCAT, but that was RECed in 2014:
> https://www.w3.org/TR/vocab-dcat/
> <sbp> oh I see. it goes dc > dct > dcat
> <sbp> then there's https://w3c.github.io/poe/vocab/ which is a rights
> policy thing
> <sbp> I dunno if the W3C should be working on anything rights related
> these days. they seem to abrogate their responsibilities to society as
> hard as they can
> <sbp> there's also https://w3c.github.io/dxwg/ucr/ which says that
> DCAT has some shortcomings they want to address. that's been three
> years in the making then...
> <sbp> (uses ReSpec. "ReSpec is a document production toolchain, with a
> notable focus on W3C specifications.")
> <sbp> there's also the POE WG, which is actually doing the rights
> thing rather than DX WG: https://www.w3.org/2016/poe/wiki/Main_Page
> (see above)
> <sbp> SD WG are working on spatial data:
> https://www.w3.org/2015/spatial/wiki/Main_Page
> <sbp> ah, and the Data Shapes WG seems to be covering the ShEx thing I
> found above: https://www.w3.org/2014/data-shapes/wiki/Main_Page
> <sbp> seems to have been active, with Sandro no less, up to 2017:
> https://www.w3.org/2017/05/31-shapes-minutes.html
> <sbp> shame really; I thought Sandro would continue to go on to do
> more interesting things
> <sbp> it's like when you see tech stars from the 1980s and they're on
> twitter moaning about Trump
> <sbp> and then others are writing lisp machine hardware verified in
> Coq or something
> <sbp> heh, https://www.w3.org/2013/dwbp/wiki/Main_Page is said to be
> active but was closed this year
> <sbp> aand the Data Activity blog hasn't been updated since 2015:
> https://www.w3.org/blog/data/
> <sbp> .t https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3078751
> <yoleaux> sbp: Sorry, I don't know what timezone that is. If in doubt,
> see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_tz_database_time_zones for a
> list of options.
> <sbp> what
> <sbp> .title https://dl.acm.org/citation.cfm?id=3078751
> <yoleaux> 403 - Forbidden Access to The Digital Library
> <sbp> "hat Happened To The Semantic Web?"
> <sbp> no PDF of the paper that I can find, but slides:
> https://ht.acm.org/ht2017/images/MikaPeterACM%20Hypertext%202017-
> WhatHappenedSemanticWeb.pdf
> <sbp> says that 2001-2004 was the golden age
> <sbp> then 2006 introduced Linked Data
> <sbp> ah, there we go: "Current status (2017)"
> <sbp> reduced standardisation (not kidding), narrower research focus
> (is there ANY research?), and maturing technology
> <sbp> the technology is Neo4j, Virtuoso, and Allegrograph. plus Oracle
> and Microsoft stuff that I won't even bother to mention
> <sbp> says that a big problem was that ontologies were centralised
> (sigh), and data held privately (well, we should have seen that one
> coming). also, no use of Linked Data because of trust issues! what
> happened to the crypto that I helped timbl add to CWM then, eh? eh?
> <sbp> mentions FOAF eventually
> <sbp> quietly mentions the fact that the web has changed, data silos, all
> that
> <sbp> "Some useful data", cites schema.org, dbpedia, and wikidata
> <sbp> not exactly a competitor to WolframAlpha though is it?
> <sbp> funny, really. again one centralised site is the leader in a
> space that should have been covered by Semantic Web technologies.
> actually that would have been a really nice thing to push for.
> probably still would be, though I tend to want my local computer to be
> able to do those sorts of calculations
> <sbp> like the other day I wanted to compute the prime factors of a
> number. didn't really have anything lying around that does it in the
> stdlib, so eventually I downloaded sage. but that's 4 GB of stuff!
> you'd think we'd be able to get batteries included standard library
> balances right by now
> <sbp> .title https://www.quora.com/As-of-2015-is-the-semantic-web-dead
> <yoleaux> As of 2015, is the semantic web dead? - Quora
> <sbp> heh, hadn't seen http://5stardata.info/en/ before
> <sbp> Alan Morrison answers: "The thing about the semantic web idea is
> that the development cycle has turned out to be the opposite of what
> Tim Berners-Lee anticipated in the early 1990s. With the semantic web
> concept, TBL hoped for a giant structured open web. What we got first
> was a bunch of closed structured webs and a mixed web that still isn’t
> very well structured."
> <sbp> it's not like open things can't work. Wikipedia is a good
> example of that, despite the deletionism
> <sbp> Shidan Gouran: "Definitely RDF/XML is dead as a data exchange
> format, and soon, XML will become obsolete as well, which is a good
> thing."
> <sbp> I haven't seen anything XML based in years, except I guess for
> the continued use of SVG
> <sbp> on the other hand
> https://kidehen.blogspot.com/2015/09/what-happened-to-semantic-web.html
> argues that the SW achieved what it set out to do, just somewhat
> quietly
> <sbp> it seems to base that conclusion on schema.org alone
> <sbp> .title https://medium.com/@dennybritz/the-semantic-web-
> is-dead-long-live-the-semantic-web-eddbca0a8b6
> <yoleaux> The Semantic Web is dead. Long live the Semantic Web.
> <sbp> "But let’s stop arguing over details and terminology. Let’s
> forget about RDF, SPARQL, OWL, triple stores and quad stores for a
> moment. Instead, let’s take a step back and look at the high-level
> goal of the Semantic Web."
> <sbp> yeah, well, it did get lost in those details
> <sbp> kinda hard to ignore that
> <sbp> "If you are a developer you may be able to query APIs or write a
> custom scraper to get the data you need, and then write code to
> aggregate them into something meaningful. But in many cases even that
> wouldn’t be feasible due to technical, legal or time constraints."
> <sbp> basically argues that the contemporary web didn't learn from the
> Semantic Web at all
> <sbp> also asks: "Did the API Economy succeed where the Semantic Web
> failed?"
> <sbp> I find the API economy such a pain in the arse. I tend to write
> scrapers instead, because I find that those are usually more stable
> than the APIs. it's ridiculous how often I have signed up for a key,
> used a JSONic API, only to find that either the key issuing process
> changes and I have to sign up for a new one, or the API breaks in any
> of a myriad unfathomable ways
> <sbp> "Technologies like JSON-LD may change this."
> <sbp> I have never seen any JSON-LD
> <sbp> three years ago: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8510401
> <sbp> "JSON-LD, which is a profound improvement on and compatible with
> the original RDF, is the only web metadata standard with a viable
> future."
> <sbp> 'On a more down-to-earth level, there is now a solid web
> metadata standard in place in JSON-LD. The big search engines index it
> and presumably use it to give better results. Any startup can add
> value to published data by adding links - in a significant extension
> to the "API economy".'
> <sbp> *lots* of chatter about JSON-LD here
> <sbp> from 2010, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JSON-LD
> <sbp> but it's funny because Wikipedia says: "The encoding is used by
> Google Knowledge Graph[6] and others[who?]."
> <sbp> one of the top results for JSON-LD is an SEO weblog saying: "In
> this post, we'll shed some light on Schema.org and JSON-LD. What is it
> and how can you put it to use for your website?"
> <sbp> lots more SEO posts too
> <sbp> something more recent:
> https://blog.codeship.com/json-ld-building-meaningful-data-apis/
> <sbp> so I guess JSON-LD was the latest fad, covering about 2010 to 2014
> <sbp> mostly in conjunction with schema.org
> <sbp> Manu Sporny on the creation of JSON-LD:
> <sbp> "RDF is a shitty data model. It doesn’t have native support for
> lists. LISTS for fuck’s sake! The key data structure that’s used by
> almost every programmer on this planet and RDF starts out by giving
> developers a big fat middle finger in that area."
> <sbp> http://manu.sporny.org/2014/json-ld-origins-2/
> libby has left IRC (Quit: libby)
> <sbp> I mean, it absolutely did have lists, and N3 showed how to do it
> <sbp> it didn't have them as an enclosed object though. I wonder if it
> should have done, a bit like how Haskell has Text now (opaque blob) as
> well as String (inductive data structure)
> <sbp> you can unpack one to get the other. Text is for
> representational efficiency
> <sbp> 'That said, after 7+ years of being involved with Semantic Web /
> Linked Data, our company has never had a need for a quad store,
> RDF/XML, N3, NTriples, TURTLE, or SPARQL. When you chair standards
> groups that kick out “Semantic Web” standards, but even your company
> can’t stomach the technologies involved, something is wrong.'
> <sbp> now he can add JSON-LD to that list :-)
> <sbp> lots of people I remember mentioned in the Postscript
> <sbp> there's also a bit on
> https://bibwild.wordpress.com/2014/10/28/is-the-semantic-
> web-still-a-thing/
> which takes the Betteridge's law tack
> <sbp> so we had the Semantic Web (2001-2005), Linked Data (2006-2010),
> JSON-LD (2010-2014), and now the Data Activity (2015-) rump. some
> interesting phases there. I stopped working on this in 2007, so that
> explains why I hadn't heard of JSON-LD
> <sbp> (actually I had)
> <sbp> these days I tend to think that the problem with the Semantic
> Web was not the Semantic part, it was the Web part. renting a domain
> from ICANN, putting it through the torture of DNS, serving things over
> HTTP/2 (Google Lightning™), through centralised CAs, it's not the
> easiest thing to do and it's not the cheapest thing to do
> <sbp> so people share through centralised services, and we get the
> problem that Peter Mika pointed out
> <sbp> but the original idea, which is something like upgrading the
> lisp machine from trees to graphs (incurring a bunch of
> algorithmically intractable problems like graph isomorphism in the
> process, whoops! nobody ever said timbl was a great coder), making
> symbols global and universal, and then linking together all the graphs
> in a decentralised system, was actually a pretty good one
> <sbp> if only we had a decentralised system to put it into, eh?
> <sbp> these days we have the blockchain for name resolution, but
> nobody has figured out a decent DNS alternative through it yet (there
> have been many attempts). actually the best alternative is still Tor's
> .onion, which is kinda funny. and as for decentralised storage, IPFS
> was the closest there, but that seems to be losing traction too
> <sbp> so no Semantic Decentralised Web is possible just yet
> <sbp> so yeah, the Semantic Web may be out of the golden age, but I
> think like lisp it'll be one of those things that sticks around and
> gets rediscovered over and over, continually informing (and warning)
> the future
> --
> Sean B. Palmer, http://inamidst.com/sbp/

Received on Thursday, 12 October 2017 06:00:24 UTC

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