Berners-Lee touts Semantic Web to Congress

Calls for deeper scientific research into design, operation and societal impact of the Internet and connected applications.

In a rare public appearance, World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee spoke to members of Congress about the "digital future of the United States," reports Campus Technology.

Berners-Lee spoke to the House Energy and Commerce Committee about how we've only "scratched the surface of what could be realized with deeper scientific investigation into its design, operation and impact on society." Berners-Lee was touting the Semantic Web, a web of machine-addressable information that can be shared and reused across applications, enterprises, and communities.

The Semantic Web is "about being able to connect from one application, through another," he told the Committee. He used the example of someone who cannot remember why they spent a certain amount when filling out their tax form. They could pull up a bank statement, take the date, and pull that up on their personal calendar. If they still don't see why they spent the money that day, they could drop their photographs into the calendar and "see the pictures of the kids at Disneyland."

Berners-Lee helped create the Web Science Research Initiative at the University of South Hampton in the U.K. in order to study the Web's impact on society and the future. The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), which Berners-Lee founded, is also working on the components of the Semantic Web.

The Web's next most important application is likely being dreamed up somewhere by someone, "quite likely a woman," Berners-Lee said.