Thursday, March 22, 2007

Half an Hour | Why the Semantic Web Will Fail

Stephen Downes has this to say over at Half an Hour :

Why the Semantic Web Will Fail
...I was thinking about the edgy things of Web 2.0, and where they're working, and more importantly, where they're beginning to show some cracks.

A few of key things today:

- Yahoo is forcing people to give up their Flickr identities and to join the mother ship, and

- MySpace is blocking all the widgets that aren't supported by some sort of business deal with MySpace

- the rumour that Google is turning off the search API

And that's when I realized:

The Semantic Web will never work because it depends on businesses working together, on them cooperating.

We are talking about the most conservative bunch of people in the world, people who believe in greed and cut-throat business ethics. People who would steal one another's property if it weren't nailed down. People like, well, Conrad Black and Rupert Murdoch...

The future of the web will be based on personal computing.

Not because everybody in the world is some sort of Ayn-Rand-clone backstabbing money-grubbing leech.

But because there's just enough of them - and they're the ones who tend to rise in business. And when they say "give me your data" (or "let me manage your money" or "base your career on my advice") it's merely a prelude to their attempting to take you to the cleaners.

If my online world depends on them - and in the Semantic Web, it would - then my online world will fail. Will be a house of cards that will eventually collapse...

So where do libraries rest in all of this? Where is our innovation? Our networks to make all our information seemless for library patrons regardless of locale? What are you thoughts or even your questions?

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