Scoble Gets the Semantic Web

Scoble just wrote a post "I finally get 'semantic' Web" after seeing a preview of what Radar Networks is about to unveil. I could have had a look a few months back when I was in SF, but I like to not have to keep secrets... Still for Scoble to change his mind like this is quite remarkable.

It is interesting in the remarks to his post all the reasons people put forward to doubt the possibility of the semantic web being able to coming about at all. The most vocal type of point made recently, is that it can't work because you just need one liar to muddy up the waters. This was the jist of a pretty nasty Register article Tim Berners Lee goes postal on spam. But the point Tim makes is clear and easy to make, in a simple question and answer session:

  • Don't we all comunicate?
  • Yes
  • Are there not many liars amongst us?
  • Too many
  • So how can we communicate then, if the above reasoning is correct? After all if it just needs a few liars to mess up communication, and there are many liars, then it follows that communication must be badly messed up. In fact what do you do when you encounter a liar?
  • When I recognise him I never talk to him again.
  • So that's what one does with spam web sites and junk news sources. One just avoids them, and all their friends.
The point is that liars are like software bugs, "Given enough eyeballs, all bugs are shallow", and the same is true with liars. Funily enough in many cases, everyone knows who the liars are. That information travells quickly.

Why is it easy to uncover liars? Because what they say does not mesh. It does not mesh with the rest of reality. So the more information you have at your disposal, the more meshing of different points of view you do, the more the inconsistencies are brought to light, and the easier it is to pin point the source of the inconsistency. Trust is a very valuable resource. Those who squander it, are doomed to eternal silence, as their words become meaningless and unheard by all.

Another noteworthy example of an up and coming, but public and visible Semantic Web application is DBPedia, described in great length and with a lot of pictures by Michael K. Berman in his Did You Blink? The Structured Web Just Arrived. If you don't want to wait for Radar to Unveil their service, to get some taste of what's happening go check it out.

Or of course you could go to the Semantic Web Conference in San Jose coming up in May.

Comments:

nice entry, as always :) you nailed it. i don't get the pushback. well, i do, but being an optimist at heart, blame my mom, i see nothing but opportunity ahead.

Posted by james todd on April 05, 2007 at 04:46 PM CEST #

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