Sematic technology pulls a gun on the blogosphere

Since Internet terminology has the lifespan of a housefly, I figured it wouldn't take long to see what form the term "Web 3.0" would take and what it would define. Here's a clue: Soylent Green is people.
According to Paul Sweeney, Founder and CTO of semantic technology firm Primal Fusion, the future of the Web won't rely on pesky things like social media, citizen journalism, or professional reporting. Instead expect to see Web content generated by semantic technologies that will render actual writers obsolete. Uh-oh.

"Today, most [Web] content is still created by hand, the best of it by highly skilled artisans drawing on centuries of scholarship and experience. Recently, we've seen significant innovations in social approaches to content creation. But Web 3.0 industrialization takes content manufacturing to an entirely different level. Instead of users manually creating content, machines automate the heavy lifting," says Sweeny.

"Billions are being spent worldwide on semantic technologies to create the factories and specialized machinery for manufacturing content, ...and the most productive information services in the world are those that leverage Web 3.0 industrial processes and technologies," he says.

Sweeney goes on to point out that some of our Internet experiences already have an automated undercurrent. Google News, for example, spits out stories that computers -- not humans -- have ranked as Best of Breed. The new search engine Wolfram Alpha does our thinking for us by relying on "knowledge computation" to provide singular results it thinks we should have, not an assortment of results from which we can choose.

Now, I get that one of Sweeney's goals is to promote his company and the technology behind it. While that might account for some of his (hopefully overstated) suggestions, it doesn't eliminate the possibility that his theory has some potential. Media outlets are outsourcing content left and right, or just killing off some of it completely. Is it such a stretch to think that if publishers can find a way to automate the content-production process completely, they just might do it?

Of course, I'm being tounge-in-cheek when I suggest this vision of Web 3.0 is likely to come to fruition, but tell me there isn't just a tiny corner of your mind wondering if the concept has any potential at all? After all, it wasn't all that long ago that your local news was brought to you by on-the-scene reporters. Nowadays? Not so much.

What do you think Web 3.0 will look like? Will semantic technology take today's wordsmiths and turn them into soylent green wafers? More importantly, will you remember the cadre of Computerworld bloggers fondly when we've all been assimilated?

BY Lisa Hoover

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