José Cabeda

@cabeda

Semantic Web is Dead, Long live the AI!!!

Last week I’ve had to present a little paper about the state of the Semantic Web. Before that I don’t think I’ve actually heard anyone say anything about it even though there’s a whole class where I’m studying about it. After the presentation I’ve decided to write a little about it.

As a brief introduction, the web can be separated into three phases:

Web 1.0 is where it all started. From the depths of CERN came the first version of might be the greatest invention of a whole generation. But at first you could only See the content that was presented to you as a document (with the much known HTML).

But that wasn’t enough.

With the introduction of technologies like AJAX and RSS we could actually Interact with the web. And with this came the foruns, social networks, Wikipedia, etc.

The Web 2.0 was upon us.

Web 3.0

But some of the greatest minds didn’t want to stop there. They wanted a Web that not only presented information but also understood it. If you have some time to spare see the video below from Tim Berners-Lee (you now, the mastermind from the depths of CERN that created the Web).

The idea that he’s presenting is a brilliant one. By linking all data you can bring a whole new level to the Web. You can easily see the source of all information and, more importantly, the computers can actually understand what we are seeing.

And the main idea of Semantic Web is that, to write the Web in a way that’s understandable not only to us but also to the computers.

To implement it came languages like RDF, OWL, SPARQL, etc or, more recently, the Open Graph Protocol from facebook.

And when I was writing about these technologies I rapidly questioned why haven’t I heard more about it? The resources I was looking at didn’t even look that much updated at least for something that was supposed to be the next web. The 3.0 version.

And then I saw the google IO 2017 (annual conference by Google to present the hot and new of Android and other ventures they have) and saw something different. Instead of talking mostly about Android they were almost exclusively talking about Artificial Intelligence.

Where we Are actually headed

Instead of rewriting the Web so that the computers could understand, we are making the computers smarter and are slowly empowering them to obtain knowledge. And that is a big difference because it’s aggregating information from all over the world, and learning what it means. And that is what Web 3.0 will all be about. The big players have decided to join efforts and bring forth Neural Networks, Word2Vecs, Bayesian Networks and many other tools so that computers could learn.

And that leaves the Semantic Web in the dust.

I’m only starting to learn more about how to mine knowledge from simple datasets but I can say decisively that AI is coming. Very hard.

Google is positioning itself as an AI company (see their work on google translate), Nvidia is focusing their GPU’s for AI, and so are Microsoft and Facebook going in this direction.

Conclusion

The Semantic Web was a great idea and still is. But I’m not seeing a future for it as it is. It needs to evolve and integrate it’s ideas with artificial intelligence. To link data without requiring a whole rewriting of what we already have.

If you want to hear more about AI you could read the following:

If you are a developer and want to learn more I suggest this course:

BONUS

Just have a good day ;-)

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