Sunday, November 12, 2006

Web 3.0 and Web 4.0

It is nice to see that the NY Times in an article by John Markoff entitled "Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense" is acknowledging the pursuit of Web 3.0 as a successor to current Web 2.0 efforts. Alas, current efforts to leap forward from Wed 2.0 are far too vague, sketchy, halfhearted, and even ill-conceived or misguided to achieve even a fraction of my vision for The Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web - A Vision of Consumer Applications of Software Agent Technology - Enabling Consumer-Centric Knowledge-Based Computing. Still, it is nice to see even a little forward progress.

The Times article focused on data mining or knowledge mining of the existing Web, saying "computer scientists and a growing collection of start-up companies are finding new ways to mine human intelligence."

The Times summarizes the whole Web 3.0 effort as:

Their goal is to add a layer of meaning on top of the existing Web that would make it less of a catalog and more of a guide — and even provide the foundation for systems that can reason in a human fashion. That level of artificial intelligence, with machines doing the thinking instead of simply following commands, has eluded researchers for more than half a century.

Referred to as Web 3.0, the effort is in its infancy, and the very idea has given rise to skeptics who have called it an unobtainable vision. But the underlying technologies are rapidly gaining adherents, at big companies like I.B.M. and Google as well as small ones. Their projects often center on simple, practical uses, from producing vacation recommendations to predicting the next hit song.

But in the future, more powerful systems could act as personal advisers in areas as diverse as financial planning, with an intelligent system mapping out a retirement plan for a couple, for instance, or educational consulting, with the Web helping a high school student identify the right college.

Alas, nothing in the article really put any meat on the bones of the teaser from the title: guided by common sense. Sure, the Cyc effort does take a stab at "common sense", but falls far short of the kind of common sense that consumers expect from real people.

Still, I welcome the Web 3.0 efforts, however meager they might be, since until we slog through them, most people won't have the mental frame of mind to grasp the full scope of what is needed for my Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web.

Maybe I need to start calling my vision Web 4.0 to make it clear what a long way we still really have to go to get to my vision for a Consumer-Centric Knowledge Web.

-- Jack Krupansky

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