News.com's Paul Festa writes about the heady discussions at the Semantic Technology Conference in San Francisco this week. There's a healthy bit of skepticism and optimism for the Semantic Web, which W3C documents describe as "the idea of having data on the web defined and linked in a way that it can be used by machines not just for display purposes, but for automation, integration and reuse of data across various applications."
Peter O'Kelley, Burton Group analyst: "I'm not against any attempts to do more sophisticated knowledge management on the Web. But it's not entirely clear to me what problem these guys think they're solving. The simplicity and robustness of the Web we have today is one of the things that's made it so successful. The Semantic Web is not going to be as broadly applicable as the technologies we have today. With all due respect to Sir Tim [Berners-Lee], there's a lot of mileage left in the Web as we know it."
Tim Berners-Lee, W3C Director and Worldwide Web creator: "It's akin to the responses I got years ago when I was trying to explain this Web thing to people, especially in industry. The idea of a universal information space with identifiers and one-way links was a paradigm shift. We didn't have the vocabulary then to describe the things we take for granted now with regards to the Web in general. So it is with the Semantic Web."
The Semantic Web is conceptually