RDF: Reality Distortion Field

Here is Kevin Kelly's presentation on the next 5000 days on the web, in clear easy English that every member of the family can watch and understand. It explains what the semantic web, also known as Web 3.0, is about and how it will affect technology and life on earth. Where is the web going? I can find no fault in this presentation.

This is a great introduction. He explains how Metcalf's law brought us to the web of documents and is leading us inexorably to a web of things, in which we will be the eyes and the hands of this machine called the internet that never stops running.
For those with a more technical mind, who want to see how this is possible, follow this up with a look at the introductory material to RDF.

Warning: This may change the way you think. Don't Panic! Things will seem normal after a while.

Comments:

I really didn't like this talk, it's scary! And furthermore, I don't think the semantic web is scary by nature, just you can sensationalise it to be.

I guess the crux of my problem is where he says it turns on it's head the idea of machines extending human senses-- to me this is still true of the web, except that it extends human reasoning power rather than senses. By saying we will become the "senses" of the machine, he gives the machine a consciousness.

I think this kind of metaphorical interpretation will switch people off to the idea of the semantic web, whereas your presentation a little while ago, which shows a concrete use of it as a helpful tool, would switch people onto it better, I think.

Posted by Joseph Razavi on September 12, 2008 at 08:48 AM CEST #

yes, it's a bit scary, which is why the motto of this blog is "Don't Panic!". :-) The future always seems a lot more scary than it is.

I agree Kelly puts too much emphasis on "The Machine" . I like the comment in Nova Spivack's interview someone made (I forget who) commenting on Kelly's vision that

"[the internet] is a system that connects people that think into a group that think"

http://novaspivack.typepad.com/nova_spivacks_weblog/2008/09/new-video-leadi.html

The emphasis being on community rather than on the machine here. Nevertheless Kelly does manage to grab one's attention and makes the key points in his presentation. The important things is to get one thinking and get interest going.

And yes, if you try to build a simple semantic web tool, and delve into how to build one, the fear will soon disappear and give way to a lot of cool project ideas.

Think about how frightened people were of cars, until they started being able to play with them, take them apart and put them together again.

Posted by Henry Story on September 14, 2008 at 05:56 AM CEST #

Actually, on second viewing that talk is fantastic. The "scary" parts probably last for a sum of about two seconds.

Still, this notion that we are the machine, or that the group thinks, reminded me of something... "Can you not understand, Winston, that the individual is only a cell?"

;P

Posted by Joseph Razavi on September 15, 2008 at 05:01 AM CEST #

Nova Spivack in a lengthy article "How to Build the Global Mind"

http://www.twine.com/item/11ktvpjz6-rl/how-to-build-the-global-mind

argues well for the importance of human beings in the coming of OM (One Mind), with some interesting thoughts, relating consciousness to quantum phenomena, following in this the famous mathematician Roger Penrose who argued some time ago in "The Emperor's New Mind" that the human brain may well be relying on these mechanisms.

Posted by Henry Story on November 05, 2008 at 05:03 AM CET #

In my article "The Coming Postmodern Era" [1], I argue that this global brain if it is built is going to be a postmodern brain. It will have to take points of views into account as fundamental constitutive elements of reality. I show how the semantic web permits this, and I wonder how that will change us.

[1] http://blogs.sun.com/bblfish/entry/the_coming_postmodern_era

Posted by Henry Story on November 06, 2008 at 02:50 AM CET #

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