Mind to Market

Friday, September 14, 2007

NY Times on Semantic Web

Not to be out done by the Economist, the New York Times ran an article on the Semantic Web recently. Peter Wayner does an admirable job at trying to explain the concepts of SW in layman's terms. Wayner points out the weaknesses of search engines, such as Google, that rely on backlinks, or less discriminate methods of associating terms versus SW, which provides a more consistent method for making associations.

Another example that he sights is the ability to make rules that make connections between names and their associated variations, such as Robert and Bob. Although humans can readily make these associations (assuming they are familiar with local naming conventions) computers cannot without explicit instructions. The inference that we can then make using SW is that if an individual is named Robert and another individual is named Bob and Robert and Bob are equivalent than the two individuals are one in the same.

Is this starting to convey some of the value of SW technology? He does mention to popular social networking sites; Facebook and LinkedIn that, although they are not strictly SW technology, have implemented structure in their associations between members and from that can develop rules that are based on that structure. Given the popularity of these sites, this may be an example that people can relate to.

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