The 7 (f)laws of the Semantic Web (aka Web 3.0)

I have just been going through some old articles I have lying around and came across this:

The 7 (f)laws of the Semantic Web

Within the article Dan Zambonini lists seven issues he sees needed to be addressed by Semantic Web proponents in order to improve its chances of adoption.

  1. Not all Semantic Web data are created equal.
  2. A technology is only as good as developers think it is.
  3. Complex Systems must be built from successively simpler systems.
  4. A new solution should stop an obvious pain.
  5. People aren’t perfect.
  6. You don’t need an Ontology of Everything. But it would help.
  7. Philanthropy isn’t commercially viable.

Personally I think these are all excellent points which if overcome would considerably improve the adoption chances of many Semantic Web related technologies.

The Semantic Web is an ideal that has been around for a long time but has never reached critical mass. Recently a number of American journalists announced the ideals of the Semantic Web were alive and kicking in the guise of Web 3.0. Personally I think this is a fairly naive thing to say for a couple of reasons.

Firstly Tim Berners-Lee's concept of the Semantic Web existed well before the term 'Web 2.0' was even a glimmer in Tim O'Reilly's eye. So to launch a rebranding exercise and announce it as the new big thing ignores the fact it actually lost out to the simple, socially motivated read/write concepts which are the embodiment of 'Web 2.0'. Whatever evolves from the hype that is 'Web 2.0' will certainly not be the Semantic Web as previously envisioned. Instead it will inherit many of the aspects which has come before it whilst simultaneously adding a new twist, perhaps Semantic Web related (or not), which gets Web users and investors excited.

Secondly launching a crusade for the next big thing well before the benefits and lessons of 'Web 2.0' have been disseminated will ensure this next version of the Semantic Web meets the same fate of its previous incarnation. At issue is the fact that the Semantic Web concept represents a number of digital information and relationship ideals. Striving to meet these ideals should be the long term ambition of all future iterations of Web technologies, including 'Web 3.0' if it ever materialises. Attempting to simply package up these ideals into a set of technologies which get forced on an unsuspecting, and to a certain degree unwilling user base will only result in one thing: rejection.