Tetherless World Research Constellation

Tetherless World Research Constellation http://tw.rpi.edu/launch/

“The Future of the World Wide Web”

RPI  6/11/08


Live Interactive Debate on the Future of the Web


More of my Notes that Don’t Make Sense

“Washington, Wikipedia, and Web 3.0: What Is the Future of the Web?”

Keynote by Tim Berners-Lee


Putting courses online, as MIT, has done — can’t be used as a research library,”each course is one person’s journey” Tim Berners-Lee about online courses.


Kindergarten teaches values which is not necessarily tied to technology.  By the time the students are in 12th grade, they are teaching us.  We learn from our students.


Information on the Web (e.g., Wikipedia) is not free—since we pay for connectivity.  


Scale-free (?)


There will always be boundaries and people pushing against them.


Text-based protocols the system will carry everything you can read or write.  In some ways there are no limits.  Cover your body in little sequins where each one is a little Web cam, and every pixel in a room corresponds to a little sequin on your body…..  Ha ha


Semantic web scaling of ontologies—who is going to write them all?  A few are public and used by a large number of people and are cheap to make.  Design a system with scale-free web of ontologies, then it all works.


Design semantic web as system of connected communities, it will work because it is designed for a scale-free system in a scale-free world. 


Read/Write/Web Future of the Web http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/future_of_the_web_debate3.php

Panelists: Wendy Hall, Nigel Shadbolt, Nova Spivack, Deborah McGuinness (Moderator), James Hendler (Moderator)

Nova Spivack

What is the incentive for people to include semantics in the structure of their Web site?  Is the semantic Web a dream? 

Yes!  As the amount of information explodes, the problem gets exponentially harder to solve.  Burden of thinking on programmers to anticipate problems.  Semantic Web approach puts the burden on the data itself, instead of making smarter software.  Creates a knowledge commons, where anyone can add data about data. Create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts.  Technical and social challenges – getting people to agree on vocabulary to describe a domain of knowledge; storing and querying data in scalable fashion.  But, is there an alternative? Can you imagine a future without the notion of the semantic Web?  Information is increasing vastly faster than our information processing capacity.  We could use large numbers of people to make sense of the information, but that approach is not scalable.  So you need some way of making sense of this data that doesn’t rely on AI or on human intelligence.  So we need to embody the information necessary to understand the data in the data itself.

Nigel Shadbolt

How does AI fit into the future of the Web?

Most people think it’s a failed project.  In fact, the Web took a long time to come to the attention of people working in AI. Along the way, we have discovered algorithms that can do many, many things–the inventory of successes in AI are great.  I think what we’re going to see is the use of ideas and concepts of AI in a much reduced form operating in ways we never imagined.  These working at global scale have very interesting properties.  What I see emerging is this large, collective social fabric of the web of people, a developing ecology of task-achieving programs. We have these systems starting to appear now.  Still essentially people-driven, a very different kind of AI.  Reverse the letters, IA – Intelligence augmentation.

Wendy Hall

What about the multi-lingual Internet? Will this create a multicultural mosaic or a Tower of Babel?

There’s a whole huge Chinese Web that we (the English speaking public) never see.  220 million Internet users in China, about to overtake the number of Internet users we have in U.S., but that’s only 16% of the population.  But they use mobile phones to access the Web.  That will make Chinese the dominant language on the Web.  Of course, some English language sites on the Web can’t be seen by the Chinese, because their government has barred these sites.  The regulatory layer determines very much what happens.  Educating governments all over the world as to what they’re dealing with when they bring legislation into this area because our contention is that most people don’t understand what the Web is and how it’s regulated and what they do.  Not just language but social context, in other words.  YouTube is a huge hub in the Web, so when Pakistan tried to take out YouTube, they didn’t realize the tremendous interconnectedness of what they’re dealing with.  Communication to break down barriers.  We’re already living in a fragmented Web, and dealing with that is not just about teaching everybody English which is what we did in the old empire days.

See more questions and discussion at http://tw.rpi.edu/twc/


One response to “Tetherless World Research Constellation

  1. We are developing the idea that what is missing is the visual navigational teir to the semantic web. The semantic interface design. Right now the learning curve for semantic technology is too steep for ordinary people. So the real work is in the visualization paradigms. Diesgn patterns of information architecture.
    I´ve got something on that in this post: http://manskj.blogspot.com/2008/06/state-of-art-of-semantic-search-engines.html

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