The Semantic Web, speculated to usher in Web 3.0, is a vision whereby machines intelligently talk to machines so that information may be easily processed and retrievable on a global scale. To put it simply, right now, information is locked into HTML web pages. The ability to search this information, and thereby make it usable to others, is limited to the keywords that the creator attaches to it. For example, say that a young Marine writes in his blog about his experiences in the Battle for Fallujah. The problem is that this man’s “Fallujah” may be a researcher’s “PTSD,” a student’s “The Bush Doctrine” and a military officer’s “battle tactics.” Content that is invisible to search engines may as well not exist. The Semantic Web is a dream to make information accessible and helpful to a greater variety of people the world over – to make content repurposable.
Technology’s unrealized idea can be anthropology’s practical implementation. Instead of a huge engineering solution requiring artificial intelligence that many argue is unfeasible, and certainly beyond our current economic reach, why not simply leverage human intelligence?
I would argue that human beings talking to human beings is more powerful than machines talking to machines can ever be.
My solution is to create a mesh of information created by humans, linked up by humans, and easily accessible to humans, on a global scale. This solution requires an understanding of and respect for anthropology. Here are three essential requirements:
1) First, this mesh must not be just another social network. A true and lasting social network must simultaneously be an economic network, as it’s been for 200,000 years. What’s called for to usher in Web 3.0 is a socioeconomic network.
2) This new network must allow users to sort and navigate our online lives in the same way we do offline. No current social network even comes close to doing this.
3) Each individual human must become the center or his or her web experience; websites as destination-centers and activity-centers must cease to matter. In other words, information must orbit users instead of users orbiting information.
My plan incorporates all of this and more, in one relatively simple and inexpensive design.
If you are an angel investor or a capable software engineer who is interested in breaking out of the Silicon Valley echo chamber, if you are willing to accept anthropology as an equal partner to technology and are eager to help move the Web forward to its next evolution, feel free to write to me for more information. My email address is dawn_douglass at Yahoo. Thanks.