Wednesday night, April 5, Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, shared his vision of the future of the web with a packed house in McCosh 50.
Just as a two decades ago when many found it difficult to conceptualize what Berners-Lee meant by the web, so too he has found that many are confused by his more recent ideas about a Semantic Web. In this second part of his dream, a second paradigm shift, machines become capable of analyzing all of the data on the web. He enjoyed using the following London-tube-like slide to illustrate some of the possibilities.
Imagine the interrelationships among the following variables. Such a semantic web would permit machines, by talking to other machines, to handle day-to-day bureaucratic mechanisms. As he stated in his 1999 book, Weaving the Web, “the web will be a place where the whim of a human being and the reasoning of a machine coexist in an ideal, powerful mixture.” The growth of the Semantic Web will depend upon the availability of trustworthy data that can then be used in unexpected ways. His dream is that, like the web which is now an integral part of so many lives, the success of the Semantic web will require steady, burgeoning support.
Computer Science Professor Sanjeev Arora introduced Berners-Lee as “an idealist and a dreamer” and added that introducing this speaker, one of Time Magazine’s most influential people of the past century, was “a bit like introducing the inventor of the wheel.”
Berners-Lee is currently affiliated with the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) at MIT, teaches at the School of Electronics and Computer Science (ECS) at Southampton University, and is Director of the World Wide Web Consortium.
The slides for the talk are available here.
Posted by Lorene Lavora