Six years ago in Scientific American, Tim Berners-Lee, James Hendler and Ora Lassila unveiled a nascent vision of the Semantic Web: a highly interconnected network of data that could be easily accessed and understood by any desktop or handheld machine. They painted a future of intelligent software agents that would head out on the World Wide Web and automatically book flights and hotels for our trips, update our medical records and give us a single, customized answer to a particular question without our having to search for information or pore through results.
Eric has recently co-authored a follow-up to that article in Scientific American where he argues that a wide variety of online Semantic Web applications are emerging, from Vodaphone’s mobile phone service to Boeing’s system for coordinating the work of vendors. What is more scientist and researchers are developing some of the most advanced uses of the technology including a system that pinpoints the genetic causes of heart disease and one that reveals the early stages of influenza outbreaks. Eric will explain how companies and universities working through the World Wide Web Consortium are developing standards to make the Semantic Web more accessible and easier to use.