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Whatever Happened to the Semantic Web: Overcoming Poor Quality

Metacrap is a derogatory term for metadata.  In his 2001 influential essay Metacrap: Putting the torch to seven straw-men of the meta-utopia, Cory Doctorow, a blogger and digital rights activist, pointed out a world of "exhaustive, reliable" metadata would be wonderful, but such a world was "a pipe-dream, founded on self-delusion, nerd hubris, and hysterically inflated market opportunities."

The utopia of the semantic web has not yet materialized.  Whatever Happened to the Semantic Web? 

So, what is the problem?  First, just as I mention in Computer Empathy that there are TWO categories of artificial intelligence, "generalized" and "specialized" (see page 21/22); there are likewise TWO categories of semantic web; "generalized" and "specialized".  Yes, same deal.

Having a generalized semantic web where everything universally works with everything else will not happen for many years, if it happens at all.

However, a specialized semantic web, say for financial reporting, is significantly easier to create. 

The biggest problem in creating a semantic web is overcoming the "metacrap".  Cory Doctrow offers this list of obstacles to realizing utopia:

  1. People lie.
  2. People are lazy.
  3. People are stupid.
  4. Mission: Impossible - know thyself. (i.e. people are lousy observers of their own behavior)
  5. Schema aren't neutral.
  6. Metrics influence results.
  7. There's more than one way to describe something.

So, what if you could overcome these obstacles?  Not overcome it generally, but in a specialize system such as financial reporting?

If you want to see that happened, be sure to stay tuned.

There seems to be a debate over the use of XML or JSON.  The debate is misguided in my view.  Read Stop Comparing JSON and XML. This article, The Rise and Rise of JSON helps you understand why developers like JSON.  Software engineers can worry about syntax; use whatever syntax you might desire.  It is trivial to convert the XBRL syntax to JSON.  What is hard is figuring out the semanticsOpenGraph, JSON-LD; it does not matter to me.  All of this level will be hidden from business professionals.

Using XML for Data; Why the RDF Model is Different than XML Model;

Posted on Tuesday, December 4, 2018 at 07:17AM by Registered CommenterCharlie in | CommentsPost a Comment

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