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Re: Vote for my Semantic Web presentation at SXSW

From: Gannon Dick <gannon_dick@yahoo.com>
Date: Wed, 17 Aug 2011 07:50:42 -0700 (PDT)
Message-ID: <1313592642.32414.YahooMailClassic@web112619.mail.gq1.yahoo.com>
To: Juan Sequeda <juanfederico@gmail.com>, Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>, public-lod <public-lod@w3.org>
Nice rant Sampo :o) I might have agreed 100% five years ago.  I'd have to downgrade that to 90% today.  Economies are consumer poor (but not necessarily producer/resource rich) in these days and a 'killer app' requires a pressing information need to dominate.  In other words, Hollandaise Sauce is a 'killer app', only as long as you have plenty of butter and eggs laying around.

The Semantic Web provides a way out, but FOAF, IMHO, is exactly the wrong way to go about it.  Governance should be the search normal, and for the Semantic Web, it is.  The Commercial imperative is to shear as many sheep as possible in the shortest amount of time.  That goal is self-limiting because the sheep are not happy with it at the moment.  No one, it seems, thought the sheep's opinion, or capabilities mattered.

If you ever want to see a time when 'killer apps' are possible again, it would be wise to group the sheep so the likes and dislikes (of the heard) take on semantic form, because the sheep and the shepherd answer the question "How many Triples in an Identity ?" quite differently.  


--- On Tue, 8/16/11, Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi> wrote:

> From: Sampo Syreeni <decoy@iki.fi>
> Subject: Re: Vote for my Semantic Web presentation at SXSW
> To: "Juan Sequeda" <juanfederico@gmail.com>
> Cc: "Semantic Web" <semantic-web@w3.org>, "public-lod" <public-lod@w3.org>
> Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 7:15 PM
> On 2011-08-16, Juan Sequeda wrote:
> > In the past two years, I've tried to get people
> together to submit panels and presentations about Semantic
> Web to SXSW. Unfortunately, it has barely been successful.
> [...]
> I think it's not successful because the Semantic Web itself
> is not successful. It still lacks a killer app, and the
> integration, and especially the visual candy that rules over
> everything else, adoption-wise. It's still a solution in
> search of a real problem.
> One of the surest signs to me is that pretty much every
> SemWeb presentation I've seen a) starts with the same,
> already-tired, academic litany of theoretical promises, a
> layer cake or whathaveyou, and b) is presented by somebody
> supported by a grant/tenure/government salary/whatever. I
> see absolutely *no* stuff from private, venture funded
> entrepreneurs which tell me they successfully solved a
> pressing, real life problem using SemWeb technology, and
> because of the tech, more rapidly retired with a hefty trust
> fund.
> Because that, honest to God, is the only criterion of a
> Solution. It's the criterion *even* if the technology was
> primarily poised to solve a problem of a public goods nature
> where you have to go through the nasty gymnastics of
> convincing a government to make its data open, and linked.
> That's just not going to happen unless the private sector is
> already thriving around your data model, vision, solution,
> usability and consumer candy-appeal. What instead happens is
> that you flat out lose to PDF (textual description of your
> data), and in particular to Facebook (dynamic, social
> description, again over unstructured text).
> Now, I'm not saying SemWeb is dead in the water. Far from
> it: I'm a big believer in the basic principles of it. But as
> of now, the focus remains totally wrong. First, FOAF has
> lingered on as a potential killer app for a while, and
> stagnated. Second, I'm seeing no Android/iOS/HTML5 apps
> which make serious use of the semantic web, *while
> substantially and measurably benefiting from it*. Third,
> that's prolly because the plumbing isn't there or is too
> heavy to be deployed incrementally and/or cheaply. Fourth,
> heavy duty data really doesn't sit too well with the basic
> encodings like RDF/XML; or would you happily run your
> production database over it/them? Fifth, where's the truly
> transparent and user-satisfying integration with established
> media? Et cetera, ad infinitum.
> The semantic web holds great promise, but it always has
> been and sadly seems to remain more of an academic exercise
> than something truly practicable and profitable. More a
> tentative solution to a hypothetical problem, than a real
> solution to a pressing need. Then, it stagnates for lack of
> profitable investment, as it has for its entire duration.
> Like some relic, preserved by W3C's saving graces or
> reverence to TimBL The Great Weaver.
> I think instead we should have a fast and dirty triple
> serving protocol, or perhaps even a protocol which breaks
> with the triple model as such for efficiency. Then a flashy
> app for distributed social networking, based on some revived
> derivative of FOAF, on *all* of the app stores around.
> Embeddable and integrable. That'd already go *miles* towards
> adoption. Then do the same for the rest of the Linked Data.
> -- Sampo Syreeni, aka decoy - decoy@iki.fi, http://decoy.iki.fi/front
> +358-50-5756111, 025E D175 ABE5 027C 9494 EEB0 E090 8BA9
> 0509 85C2
Received on Wednesday, 17 August 2011 14:51:12 UTC

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