Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Web2.0 going on Web3.0 - from humanist web to intelligent web
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..