In a message dated 08.11.01 19:57:10 GMT Standard Time, firstname.lastname@example.org writes:
Having worked with SemWeb for a while now, I begin to realize that we need to work hard in placing xml in a proper context, if we shall not all be deemed guilty of eXtreme Marketing Language (XML).
Perhaps, in a broader context, an even more important aspect is the notion of eXtreme Monitoring Language!
The article from TBL et al in Scientific American started with an example where medical data which, in Europe at least, would be seen as confidential information was passed around with what at least some would view as gay abandon.
If machine processing of semantics is implemented we, as individuals, are highly likely to lose control of the privacy of our personal information if we cannot know or influence directly which parts of personal information (and its meaning) is accessible to "Big Brother".
Another aspect of the Sem-Web which deserves more attention is the likely distortion of focus on to meanings which are culturally narrow and which are more readily definable. The history of science is littered with "realities" which have been determined more by what we can measure than what is necessarily important.
I think there is a real possiblity that the Sem-Web will focus more on what we can *define* rather than what is important. Many of the most important aspects of life are intriguingly intangible and are likely to be resistant to a culturally narrow standardization. Therefore there is a prospect of a distortion of meaning (and therefore potentially of thinking) perhaps unparalleled in the history of Mankind.
There are issues involved which we might do well to consider which require us to lift our eyes (or nose) from the silicon grindstone. :)