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   RE: [xml-dev] SemWeb again

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My opinion is that the semantic web (in the purest, most basic sense)
will happen inevitably, and there is nothing anyone could do to stop it.
I would also point out that controversy over RDF is irrelevant; the
semantic web could happen with or without RDF.  Thinking of RDF as a
syntax that actually *does* something just clouds things and gets people
confused.  Take away RDF, pretend it never existed, and think about how
to make the web handle meta.

I wrote this paper some time ago which talks about the low-hanging fruit
for a semantic web; stuff that should be able to be easily deployed on
existing technology and would be very appealing (maybe even "killer") to


The attempt of the paper is to show the pragmatic way that things will
probably happen.  I still stand by this analysis more than a year later;
I think it covers the major practical use cases and the probable issues
that will arise.

In fact, I think that the semantic web and web-services are not so
misaligned as some people claim.  I think that web-services is currently
advertised as a B2C thing, when it is more realisticly a B2B thing.  And
most uses of RDF today are B2B, and I think the real semantic web will
be inevitable because of its C2C potential.

In the end, it turns out that Web-Services are just the semantic web in
controlled and well-orchestrated scenarios, and SemWeb is just
web-services in a totally sloppy and uncontrolled global scenario.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Champion [mailto:mc@xegesis.org]
> Sent: Wednesday, April 24, 2002 2:02 PM
> To: xml-dev
> 4/24/2002 12:33:29 PM, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> wrote:
> >
> >Given these facts, I have recently tended to give the SemWeb the
> >of the doubt. It is probably in the same state SGML was before XML.
> >needs a simplification and some killer apps.
> Perhaps, but it has generated an awful lot of ill feeling for the W3C
> leadership, in my
> humble and personal opinion garnered from many private conversations.
> Whatever the
> justification for that ill feeling, it is critical for SemWeb
advocates to
> understand and
> come to grips with it.
> I see three general threads in the critique of the semantic web
> 1 - Priority:  This is simply not something that most of the member
> companies want the
> consortium to focus on.  Whether or not it is true that the W3C has
> to get out in
> front of the technology curve on web services, there is a persistent
> belief that the W3C
> leadership has been twiddling with the SemWeb while WS
> got burned.  This
> resulted in the founding of the WS-I to do what the major vendors
> relied on the
> W3C to do.
> 2 -  Progress to date: The WWW (by most accounts, again I don't claim
> is reality)
> emerged as a working system out of CERN in the early 1990's, and was
> adopted because it
> solved real problems for real people (initially in the academic
> academic research
> communities, I believe).  The SemWeb by contrast has, after 4 years or
> no "killer
> apps" that any but true believers find useful in their day jobs.  RSS
> is probably the
> best know RDF application, but even it is less popular in actual use
> the non-RDF
> variants. I wasn't around for the early days of SGML, but as far as I
> it won converts
> by solving problems, not on the coolness of its vision.
> 3 - Probability of eventual success: this smells a LOT like some "next
> things" of days
> gone by that never amounted to anything. Rightly or wrongly, many
> see RDF as Prolog
> in XML syntax, and the vision as being disturbingly similar to the
> Generation
> project/vision/hype of the early 1980's in which logic programming was
> going to put the
> hackers out of business and lead Japan (the center of interest and
> research in this field)
> to world economic domination.  Other techniques/paradigms that came
out of
> one or another
> branch of the AI community over the last 25 years have had similar
> patterns of overwhelming
> hype / underwhelming success.
> OK, I'll take the flames on this :~) but I'm pretty sure this is the
> "conventional wisdom"
> and not some idiosyncratic position of mine.  I consider myself a
> skeptic, I'd be
> happy to be convinced that something like RDDL+RDF or some RDF version
> a well-accepted
> controlled vocabulary (e.g. SNOMED in the medical field) adds real
> over what we can
> do without it. So, flame me if you want, but I'd much rather that
> who are saddened by
> the bad reputation of the SemWeb would convince me (and most everyone
> in the industry)
> that the conventional wisdom is wrong.
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