2010: Big year for semantics

Real initiatives in semantics announced in the first month of the year.

Interesting to read Palisano’s (head of IBM) comments:

“We are amassing an unimaginable amount of data in the world. In just three years, [internet] traffic is expected to total more than half a zettabyte. That’s a trillion gigabytes – or a one followed by 21 zeroes,” he tells industry, academic and political leaders.

“Where we once inferred, we now know. Where we once interpolated and extrapolated, we can now determine. The historical is giving way to the real-time and it’s not just about volume and velocity. The nature of the data we are collecting and analysing is changing, too.

“All this data is far more real-time than ever before. Most of us today, as leaders and as individuals, make decisions based on information that is backward-looking and limited in scope. That’s the best we had, but that is quickly changing.”

This just reinforces my previous blog of June 2009: here.

And this week we had the official launch in the UK of its government linked open data site.

We’ve seen the debate – back and forth – about linked open data.  We’ve seen the debate about top down v. bottom up approaches to semantics.  We’ve seen the arguments about the merits of RDF as against other frameworks.  But the volumes of data continue to increase – as does participation in social networks.

On a daily basis we see announcement about new products.  Nova Spivack tells us that the days of ‘Search’ are running out – we need ‘Help’ not ‘Search’.  We eagerly await his Twine 2.0.  We have seen significant product advancements announced this month in products such as Open Calais and Open Amplify.  One other product which caught my eye last week is Kngine.

Products such as Amplify aim to deal with the ‘tricky’ content – e.g. the ‘opinions’ implicit in content of social networks.   And this is a key element of what we are looking for: context for the content.  I am more interested in information on a particular subject when I understand the context, the perspective of the provider of the information.  I also want the richness of analysis possible through the combination of wider sources of data – including data compiled by government agencies which should be available to me.  Linked open data initiatives are required in all countries.  For Ireland – the sooner the better, if we consider ourselves a smart economy or a knowledge society.

Author: Barry OGorman

Barry O'Gorman is an independent business and IT consultant, based in Dublin, Ireland.

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