The Semantic Web - fact or fiction?
The web is a vast repository of information, some useful, some invaluable and some incorrect. This information is generally retrieved through search engine or aggregated by applications to provide information pertinent to the task in hand. The issue is that the whole process of interpreting information from a multitude of sources needs human intelligence to accurately interpret and aggregate data to provide concise and useful information. This is where the computer based searches fall down! The vision of the Semantic Web is to provide the capability for computers to understand information in similar ways to the human brain. The steps towards this typically involve using Resource Description Framework (RDF) to classify data and then utilises networking formats eg. (RDFXML, N3, Turtle etc.) to assimilate the information.
The approach is not new but uses principles from Artificial Intelligence (AI) work to understand data, based on the science of neurology and how the human brain thinks. Now there have been some significant advances here, for example, Numenta have developed Hierarchical Temporal Memory (HTM) algorithms to interpret the way the brain works to solve complex problems and 'Fuzzy Logic' techniques to accurately interpret information.
So the science is there and there are leading practitioners, but it still requires significant advancement for mainstream adoption.
...... But the for the successful integrators the rewards will be high.