Daniel Lemire's blog

, 1 min read

The Semantic Web landscape is changing

Fred responded to my recent anti-Semantic Web post by saying that the “Semantic Web landscape is changing.”

I really like Fred’s post. Here is where he agrees with me:

The proof that both RDF and web ontologies are useful is yet to be done.

Here is where we disagree:

Everything is changing, and everything should explode… soon!

I honestly do not see the Semantic Web being about to take off. As Bob DuCharme pointed out, people are doing “ontologies for the sake of ontologies”. This will get old very quickly. If 8 years and millions of dollars was not enough to produce a single remotely useful application, what will it take?

Are semantic web researchers becoming semantic web implementers? I do not see this happening. The papers are every bit as theoretical and as disconnected from real-world problems as they ever were. Here are some common myths:

  • Google is getting worse every day. Only the Semantic Web can save us. (False: Google is not getting worse, it is constantly improving and at an alarming rate at that.)
  • Inference engines and ontologies are more sophisticated or somehow more intelligent than current database solutions such as relational databases, data mining algorithms, and so on. (False: Current database technology is highly sophisticated and built on lots and lots of theory.)