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October 04, 2007



Still a great vision for the wired world. the webos will come faster than we think.

Michael Sheeley

Before we get to web 3.0, I think we need to figure out web 2.0. Web 1.0 took us years to realize that Brick and Mortar was the solution. Now web 2.0 is here and we are learning how our customers can help improve our businesses online. On my blog, www.sheeleytech.com,I write about the idea of Web2.0 and Mortar.

Nova Spivack

Tim -- I would actually say that I agree with much of what you state above. EXCEPT for one thing. The Semantic Web is completely orthogonal to the issue of collective intelligence. It can in fact be used as a better backend for existing "Web 2.0" folksonomies, or it could be used for expert systems. It would not be technically correct to say that Semantic Web is not about statistics or about deriving structure from what is already there in the data -- The Semantic Web is just a way of encoding whatever it is that you know (it could have been derived, or not). So you could use statistics, or mining, or the wisdom of crowds, to markup data -- but then where do you store and share what you have learned about that data? The Semantic Web proposes a richer framework for storing and publishing that metadata. It is completely independent of how the metadata is generated. Using string tags and microformats, or XML tags for that mater, are just different ways of marking up data. RDF and OWL are also just different ways of marking up data -- but they are BETTER ways of doing it. They have much more power, they are more open, they are more extensible, they support bottom-up collective intelligence better in fact.

Tim O'Reilly

Alas, I find the Web 3.0 arguments as clear evidence that the proponents don't understand Web 2.0 at all. Web 2.0 is not about front end technologies. It's precisely about back-end, and it's about meaning and intelligence in the back end.

The real difference between Web 2.0 and the semantic web is that the Semantic Web seems to think we need to add new kinds of markup to data in order to make it more meaningful to computers, while Web 2.0 seeks to identify areas where the meaning is already encoded, albeit in hidden ways. E.g. Google found meaning in link structure (a natural RDF triple); Wesabe is finding it in spending patterns.

There are sites (geni.com comes to mind) that create narrow-purpose cases where people add structured meaning, and I think we'll find lots more of these. But I think that the big difference is in the amount of noise you accept in your meaningful data, and whether you think grammar evolves from data or is imposed upon it. Web 2.0 applications are fundamentally statistical in nature, collective intelligence as derived from lots and lots of input at global scale.

See my various posts on Web 2.0 vs. the Semantic Web.

Meanwhile, Web 2.0 was a pretty crappy name for what's happening (Microsoft's name, Live Software, is probably the best description of what's happening), so I don't see why we'd want to increment it to Web 3.0. But when people ask me what I think Web 3.0 will be, I don't think of the semantic web at all.

What are things that will give a qualitative leap beyond what we experience today?

I think it's the breaking of the keyboard/screen paradigm, and the world in which collective intelligence emerges not from people typing on keyboards but from the instrumentation of our activities.

In this sense, I'd say that Wesabe and Mint, which turn our credit card into a sensor telling us about tracks we're leaving in the real world, or Jaiku, which turns our phone into a sensor for a smart address book, or Norwich Union's "Pay as you drive" insurance, are more early signals of something I'd call "Web 3.0" than Semantic Web applications are.

Let's just call the Semantic Web the Semantic Web, and not muddy the water by trying to call it Web 3.0, especially when the points of contrast are actually the same points that I used to distinguish Web 2.0 from Web 1.5. (I've always said that Web 2.0 = Web 1.0, with the dot com bust being a side trip that got it wrong.)

Charles Knight

"Fools rush in..."

My definitions are:

Web 1.0 One-Dimensional - Google search results that are linear.
(e.g. a Ruler)

Web 2.0 Two-Dimensional - Image Maps www.KartOO.com.
(e.g. a Road Map)

Web 3.0 Three-Dimensional - See SpaceTime 3D Search or Second Life. (e.g. a Globe)

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Twine | Nova Spivack - My Public Twine items

Radar Networks

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Nova's Trip to Edge of Space

  • Stepsedgestratosphere
    In 1999 I flew to the edge of space with the Russian air force, with Space Adventures. I made it to an altitude of just under 100,000 feet and flew at Mach 3 in a Mig-25 piloted by one of Russia's best test-pilots. These pics were taken by Space Adventures from similar flights to mine. I didn't take digital stills -- I got the whole flight on digital video, which was featured on the Discovery Channel.

Nova & Friends, Training For Space...

  • Img021
    In 1999 I was invited to Russia as a guest of the Russian Space Agency to participate in zero-gravity training on an Ilyushin-76 parabolic flight training aircraft. It was really fun!!!! Among other people on that adventure were Peter Diamandis (founder of the X-Prize and Zero-G Corporation), Bijal Trivedi (a good friend of mine, science journalist), and "Lord British" (creator of the Ultima games). Here are some pictures from that trip...


People I Like

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    Peter F. Drucker was my grandfather. He was one of my principal teachers and inspirations all my life. My many talks with him really got me interested in organizations and society. He had one of the most impressive minds I've ever encountered. He died in 2005 at age 95. Here is what I wrote about his death. His foundation is at http://www.pfdf.org/
  • Mayer Spivack
    Mayer Spivack is my father; he's a brilliant inventor, cognitive scientist, sculptor, designer and therapist. He also builds carbon fiber trimarans in his spare time, and studies animal intelligence. He is working on several theories related to the origins of violence and ways to prevent it, new treatments for learning disabilities, and new theories of cognition. He doesn't have a Web site yet, but I'm working on him...
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    Marin Spivack is my brother. He is the one of the only western 20th generation lineage holders of the original Chen Family Tai Chi tradition in China. He's been practicing Tai Chi for about 6 to 10 hours a day for the last 10 years and is now one of the best and most qualified Tai Chi teachers in America. He just returned from 3 years in China studying privately with a direct descendant of the original Chen family that created Tai Chi. The styles that he teaches are mainly secret and are not known or taught in the USA. One thing is for sure, this is not your grandmother's Tai Chi: This is serious combat Tai Chi -- the original, authentic Tai Chi, not the "new age" form that is taught in the USA -- it's intense, physically-demanding, fast, powerful and extremely deadly. If you are serious about Tai Chi and want to learn the authentic style and applications, the way it was meant to be, you should study with my brother. He's located in Boston these days but also travels when invited to teach master classes.
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    Kris has been working with me for years on the design of the Radar Networks software, a new platform for the Semantic Web. He has a PhD from the MIT Media Lab. He designs intelligent humanoids and virtual realities. He is from Iceland, which makes him pretty cool.
  • Kimberly Rubin
    Kim is my girlfriend and partner, and also a producer of 11 TV movies, and now an entrepreneur in the pet industry. She is passionate about animals. She has unusual compassion and a great sense of humor.
  • Kathleen Spivack
    Kathleen Spivack is my mother. She's a poet, novelist and creative writing teacher. She was a personal student of Robert Lowell and was in the same group of poets with Silvia Plath, Elizabeth Bishop and Anne Sexton. She coaches novelists, playwrites and poets in France and the USA. She teaches privately and her students, as well as being published, have won many of the top writing prizes.
  • Josh Kirschenbaum
    Josh is a visual effects whiz, director and generalist hacker in LA. We have been pals and collaborators since the 1980's. Josh is probably going to be the next Jim Cameron. He's also a really good writer.
  • Joey Tamer
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  • Jim Wissner
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  • Jerry Michalski
    I have been friends with Jerry for many years; he's been advising Radar Networks on social software technology.
  • Chris Jones
    Chris is a long-time friend and now works with me in Radar Networks, as our director of user-experience. He's a genius level product designer, GUI designer, and product manager.
  • Bram Boroson
    Bram is an astrophysicist and college pal of mine. We spend hours and hours brainstorming about cellular automata simulations of the universe. He's one of the smartest people I ever met.
  • Bari Koral
    Bari Koral is a really talented singer songwriter. We co-write songs together sometimes. She's getting some buzz these days -- she recently opened for India Arie. She worked at EarthWeb many years ago. Now she tours almost all year long and she just had a hit in Europe. Check out her video, on her site.
  • Adam Cohen
    Adam Cohen is a long-term friend; we were roommates in college. He is a really talented composer and film-scorer. He doesn't have a Web site but I like him anyway! He's in Hollywood living the dream.
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