Martin @ Blog

software development and life.


Interview with Tim Berners-Lee

Tim Berners-Lee, one of the founders of the Internet and chairman of the World Wide Web Consortium, is interviewed by It is an intersting read, about various subjects. Berners-Lee believes very much in the so-called semantic web, of which he is one of the initial creators.
Obviously, a large part of the interview handles this subject. According to Berners-Lee, the semantic web is still taking of and will change the experience of the Internet. He sees a distinction between documents and data, where the latter can be used to deduct information, while the first is more like a sheet of paper on which text is printed. The semantic web will blur this clear devision and enables computers to use the information on web pages (which are most of the time documents, according to Berners-Lee) as data. Obviously, the privacy problem which is often related to the semantic web is also discussed during the interview. Berners-Lee thinks that this will not become a large problem, because individuals will get a private web on which personal information is available but which is not accessible by other peaple. He mentions electronic banking systems as an example of such a private web, because it is possible for an individual to access his or her account information, but it nis accessible for other people.

Other subjects covered in the interview are net neutrality – which is very important. ISP’s blocking access to parts of the Internet is not a good idea he says, which is nice to hear considering his role at the W3C. Another topic is the regulation of the Internet in general. Eventually, the Internet will get more bureaucracy, according to Berners-Lee. However, he thinks it is very important to keep the Internet ‘government free’ and not censoring the people who use it.

I personally don’t think the semantic web will become an all encompasing technology. Probably the semantic web will, if it every escapes from research groups, be a part of the Internet next to the existing web. However, currently the technologies used for the semantic web, such as RDF(S) and OWL are too compilcate to understand for most people and developers, rendering it unimportant because it will not be adopted. Before the semantic web becomes successful, someone has to invent a killer application integrating various parts of the semantic web in a way that benefits people and overcomes the technical limitations of the current web.

Comments are closed.