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Semantic Web, Can it Happen?

30 Jul 2009

Not if but when

What is the Semantic Web? It's the Internet in it's current information pipeline form but with the addition of machine understandable language describing web based objects (pictures, text, audio/video). The term semantic describes the essential meaning of words and in the case of text on the Internet, is usually represented by tags or keywords. The process of representing information with tags is currently being implemented with products made by Zemanta and Open Calais.

There are still many who believe a semantic web is beyond our technical ability to craft. And that algorithms and definitions will never agree on identifying tags. There is validity to the argument in regards to individuals, we often have our own view of the meaning of words and concepts. But the advantage of web based learning algorithms is a common set of definitions. In this case many semantic processing teams are using wikipedia as an authority for a fair set of definitions. If wikipedia links to a site it's considered relevant to the page topic. While this can be gamed temporarily by malicious editors, overall the system has proven to be highly effective at sharing information.

I have a great interest in this area for a couple of reasons. First and foremost I think this is the beginning of more intelligent software. Second it feeds into a project I started working on about a month ago that will match tags derived from social commentary to other converstions happening in real time as well as relevant advertising. There are several businesses emerging in this market (Lazyfeedmy6sense, + others, and APML is working on a standard).

Why I make videos

I'm wrapping up with a quick description of why I make these bobbly head videos while out walking.

  1. I walk a lot. Exercise gets my brain going, and I'm a big fan of multitasking whenever I can get away with it
  2. It's a memory assistant, I can document ideas when they're fresh in my mind and as I'm reading material
  3. It's a tool of introspection. I can listen for the concepts I most often refer to, for keys into my deeper interests, and then leverage that interest to get some good work done either by blogging or coding

Introducing Snap Shots from Snap.com

I just installed a nice little tool on this site called Snap Shots that enhances links with visual previews of the destination site, interactive excerpts of Wikipedia articles, MySpace profiles, IMDb profiles and Amazon products, display inline videos, RSS, MP3s, photos, stock charts and more.

Sometimes Snap Shots bring you the information you need, without your having to leave the site, while other times it lets you "look ahead," before deciding if you want to follow a link or not.

Should you decide this is not for you, just click the Options icon in the upper right corner of the Snap Shot and opt-out.

Please let me know what you think in the comment section.