Wednesday, March 7, 2007
As the buzz for web2.0 makes its way towards its prime, voices around are speaking gradually louder and with thorough mystery of a new internet evolution era - the web3.0. There's an intense debate on what Web3.0. will actually be: Phil Wainewright claimed about 6 months ago that "Web 3.0 — or whatever we end up calling it — will rise out of the ruins of Web 2.0." and then that "the semantic web isn't the only part of the web3.0 story".
The second claim is indeed very much true as semantic web will be a part of several advanced technologies combined to make a new organic internet body which will enable a whole new human-computer interaction. The first assumption, however, I find rather imprecise. It also seems to me much unclarity surrounds the Web3.0-Semantic Web issue, and so I would to try and clear things up as for the future web we are heading towards:
The guy responsible for the semantic web concept is Tim Berners-Lee -- the original inventor of the World Wide Web. Semantic Web is about adding information to the data that is already displayed on the internet so that it's obvious what that data is - tagging it (using a developed form of XML, called RDF/XML) just like you tag merchandise and products in common supermarkets or exclusive designer stores, only this tagging is done for the computers to understand. The idea is to turn the Web into a single repository of information rather than the collection of Web sites and pages it is today. This will enable a more intelligent search: an efficient, more precise response for queries submitted on the internet by users. This endeavor actually evolves several technologies into a more organic form of semantics, including linguistic programming, artificial intelligence, content management and a few new areas.
Why more intelligent? - as it will make websites smarter by embedding intelligence in them, or as Spivack puts it: "the first thing the Semantic Web will accomplish is doing for data what HTML did for documents.". The principal is simple: tagging the information will allow computers to understand what the product actually is. This way when you are inside an antique store on eBay - both you and your computer know that this is a store for antiques. The computer can understand what it is looking at just as you understand it - this way it not only a browser, it is also an interpreter as it doesn't only look at something but it understands what it "sees".
Now, as for Web3.0: Nova Spivack broadly defines web3.0 as "an upgrade of the backend of the Web [while] several technologies play a part in that.". Web3.0 will include, in addition to Web Semantics, distributed databases, natural language processing, machine learning, machine reasoning, and autonomous agents all coming together to turn Web Pages into Web DATA, thus forming one homogeneous internet entity.
This all is the next evolutionary step for web2.0. Wikipedia has a nice way of putting it in simple words:
"Web 1.0 is Read Only, static data with simple markup for reading
Web 2.0 is Read/Write, dynamic data through web services customize websites and manage items
Web 3.0 is Read/Write/Execute, web 1.0 + web2.0 + programme web according to your needs [build modules and plugin]."
And today - at what point are we in relation to web3.0? Well, today we are still getting used to web2.0's technology offering us numerous ways to present ourselves, create information and obtain information created by others presenting themselves (within social networks, blogs, video and music sharing websites etc.) - we are at the beme buzz age; we are at the age that lets us build our own personal spaces (or homes) on the internet for others to visit, and then to make them prettier using custom design options we are given by the host site, and by using the widget/gadget/badge feature.
We are today at what I like to call the humanism age of the internet - the unique person stands in the center of the web, And It is therefore my opinion that Wainewright is wrong - web3.0 will not grow from the ruins of web2.0. It will rather use web2.0's foundations of technology and content along with the way Web2.0 captures the human being's needs and thoughts so to evolve into something that will intensify every person's power of self expression and information access.
That would mean a stronger form of humanism.
Question remains will the great all-human masterpiece we like to call the internet lead in 10 years to a fully intelligent machines suddenly standing up to humanity; or maybe to a fully computerized, digital human being living as part of the machine; or rather to a higher state of consciousnesses using computers for human telepathy and empowered will. I guess we'll have to wait and see..
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Enrapturing bloggers, power users and video uploaders around the web lately is "meme", and recently also "beme". These two words can very much describe the www2's way when it comes to the spread of ideas, opinions, rumors and media - i.e. communication. Viral, wiki communication.
A meme is a unit of cultural information spread from one mind to another, a viral idea that gradually becomes common knowledge. This term was initially coined by Richard Dawkins in his 1976's "The Selfish Gene" so to describe how human cultural information (tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, fashions, building methods) managed to make its way across continents, cultures and time. Dawkins argued that memes can die out or survive and evolve on the basis of natural selection - if the information can sustain competition and can be developed into variations of itself, if it manages to mutate according to the demands of time then it will survive and grow, allowing humanity an introduction to a new piece of knowledge that will empower and promote its societies' interests.
Of course, as time passed people were looking for ways to spread there memes faster and more efficiently. Now, as the single individual takes the center of the global stage, memes are born and spread within hours via the internet, creating sort of growing hype-clouds or buzz-bubbles that either hold on and evolve or simply die out. See, I'm not talking here about viral advertising or spam email but rather about real ideas and technologies made for the adoption of multiple users.
In our era of Web2.0 blogers and other power users have a central role spreading memes, hence the term beme: meme spread by blogs. As Tom Hayes that coined the term argues that the beme may "have a short ride or a long tail", but bemes always "define the life of the blogosphere". As for me, I was impressed by this term's ability to capture the essence of the knowledge era we live in.
When a power blogger is into an idea - they have the power to build it up, send it out and spread it faster than anyone else - they operate within a rapidly moving and growing network of people using the same platform as they do thus taking their word and passing it on - we are all potential beme spreaders. Thus today, spreading an idea may take hours instead of years it should have taken only 20 years ago.
As today every one owns the entire web, true communication power has returned to its initial place - to me and to you. We don't have to go through syndications of information, we don't want encyclopedia books to tell us the true historical events and we don't want to listen to TV commercials - we RSS our interests to create information and pass it on, we wiki our history and ideas and WE own the buzz.
Sunday, February 4, 2007
Welcome to my "the soul of WWW" weblog!
This is the first blog-half of my "mining the web" that examines and investigates the online developments created by social forces and cultural tendencies surrounding the global sphere - tendencies that will be described here.
As my initial passion has always been to understand what makes people tick, and what limits or encourages that ticking within culture and society I intend to look online for manifestations of the substantial needs for human interaction, learning and developing, love, social status, money and personal growth.
The other side of this search will be to examine the practical ways in which these manifestations take form online - see me "mining the web" blog.
The web is a great place to be, and I truly hope that combining these two visions of it: the soul and the practice, I will be able to fully comprehend this powerful and restless being that is all of us.
I'll be happy to receive your thoughts and comments, as well as recommendations and refferals to IT tendencies theory, social criticism sources, critical theory and online places you think I should see.
Thank you for being here with me and - enjoy your reading!!