The Semantic Web is Coming....
May 2, 2001 6:44 AM   Subscribe

The Semantic Web is Coming.... There's a new web coming...and this one will surf you. Smart agents will be all the rage, managing your appointments and finding showtimes for movies they know you'll like. What do you want the internet to be? [From Scientific American]
posted by jpoulos (10 comments total)
What do you want the internet to be?

posted by holgate at 6:48 AM on May 2, 2001

SA is a very optimistic magazine.

The negative side of this is that the same smart web will allow web pages to morph to make you different offers depending on how good a customer you are, or how many purchases you've made on the web, or your income and credit history. Present day cookies can already do much of these, but the technology will improve. Expect that any technology that is initially used to help us to be manipulated by sales people, who will indeed be 'surfing you' to find out who you are and if you may be a target for their promotion.
posted by brucec at 6:59 AM on May 2, 2001

What do you want the internet to be?

Non-intrusive, and I realize that is not to be. The medical records industry tries to respect individual confidentiality. I wish there were a nominally similar way of requiring permission for businesses to data-mine. Some large store chains offer special promotions in exchange for permission to track customer preferences. It would be wonderful if all businesses could be counted on to make their inquiries opt-in instead of opt-out. I read the article linked to mefi yesterday about how the AI movie website had visitors eagerly offering up their phone numbers to participate in a game. That strikes me as treading the line in acquiring private information about their potential customer base.
posted by Sqwerty at 7:21 AM on May 2, 2001

Yes, yes, yes, and all client rendering agents will support CSS and DHTML by... oh... never mind...

Wake me when it gets here.
posted by m.polo at 8:05 AM on May 2, 2001

I believe that this is a double post...
posted by syzygy at 8:16 AM on May 2, 2001

May the MeFi gods strike me dead...sincere apologies for the noise noise noise.
posted by jpoulos at 8:27 AM on May 2, 2001

I always wonder how quickly it will take the porno folks, or the spammers to completely destroy the semantic web, like they destroyed meta tags.
posted by captaincursor at 10:57 AM on May 2, 2001

I think one important aspect of the semantic web is that there's a trust metric of some sort or another involved. So if an agent repeatedly returns a porn site when you're searching for something seemingly innocent, you (or your personal agent who knows you don't want porn) can reduce the trust metric of the agent that returned that result.

Theoretically speaking, the untrusted agent (or whomever controls it) will wonder why it isn't getting a high trust value, and will look into ways to resolve that. I'm not sure what the Incentive would be, but networks like Mojo Nation (wow, a .net that's actually a network! Crazy! :-) that use a network currency could avoid low trust agents, thereby "earning" them less.

And, if your personal agent is somehow untrustworthy (I'm thinking of a Black & White-like creature whenever I talk about agents in this context for some reason) then other agents will be reluctant to communicate with it, meaning you're not able to use the network to it's full potential.

There's a whole lot of interesting concepts that go along with semantic webs and agents.
posted by cCranium at 12:16 PM on May 2, 2001

I think you mean Black & White.
posted by jpoulos at 1:01 PM on May 2, 2001

Generating all that metadata is too much work, machines are too stupid to do it for us, and as the good captain pointed out, there's nothing stopping people from authoring false metadata.

For it to work, we're going to have to pay someone to create all this metadata, and someone else to validate it. And the only way we're going to pay for it is if someone can show us what the benefit is. And no one has done that yet. Just a lot of talk about doing stuff because we can.
posted by Calebos at 1:19 PM on May 2, 2001

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