Elon University

The 2010 Survey: Anonymous responses to a tension pair on the evolution of the semantic Web envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee

Responses to this 2020 scenario were assembled from Internet stakeholders in the2010 Pew Internet & American Life/Elon University Future of the Internet Survey. Some respondents chose to identify themselves; many did not. We share some—not all—of the responses here. Workplaces of respondents who shared their identity are attributed only for the purpose of indicating a level of expertise; statements reflect personal views. If you would like to participate in the next survey, mail andersj [at] elon dotedu; include information on your expertise.

Link to Full SurveyThis page has anonymous responses to a question about people’s perceptions of the likely impact of the semantic Web by 2020. This is one of 10 questions raised by the 2010 Elon UniversityPew Internet survey of tech experts and social analysts. Results on this question were unveiled at a keynote speech by Pew Internet Director Lee Rainie April 28, 2010, at the FutureWeb conference in Raleigh part of WWW2010.

World Wide Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and others in the business of WWW architecture have been working to make the Web even more useful; their hope for the semantic Web is to better link data in ways that are useful to those seeking to share and be informed. This Future of the Internet IV survey question asked respondents to look at two statements in a “tension pair” and select the one that is most likely. They were asked to explain that choice and “share your view of the likelihood that the semantic Web will have been implemented by 2020 and be a force for good in Internet users’ eyes.” About half of the technology people assessed – 52% – said the semantic Web will not be as fully effective as its creators hoped; 38% said that the vision of Berners-Lee and his allies will be achieved to a significant degree by 2020. The numbers are not as important as the information shared in the responses – this is a snapshot of what people are generally thinking in 2010 about the likely evolution of the semantic Web. There was a higher percentage of people not responding to this question than on previous questions, some expressing their lack of knowledge.

To download the Pew Internet briefing PDF, click here.

Future of Semantic Web Predictions Chart

Following on this page is a selection of specific elaborations to this question that were made by survey participants who preferred to remain anonymous. Only about half of the respondents chose to elaborate on the question.

To read the responses of participants who took credit for their remarks, click here.

Respondents were asked to explain their choice and “share your views about the Internet’s influence and the future of institutions by the year 2020.” What follows is a selection of the hundreds of written elaborations from those who did not want to be credited with their remarks:

“The semantic Web is not even an interesting fantasy. If nothing else, it relies on a consistent relationship between words and objects. Not only do people not do that – see Wittgenstein, Frege, etc. – they really enjoy not doing it. That’s where learning and humor come from.”

“Dead in the water. Google killed it. Distributed and neutral search could revive it, although in different form than envisioned.”

“Between Twitter, the Linked Data project, and various other meta-data-gathering projects, we are already seeing results.”

“I haven’t seen any use yet, any difference.”

“This is one of those ‘matter of time’ things, as the semantic Web will be a crucial way to more effectively organize information. It’s already happening and will be mainstream well before 2010 – and likely by 2015. Most Internet users still won’t understand it though, just like few can understand how Google’s algorithm or HTML work today. That’s fine, as long as it works.”

“No, it will not have been achieved, and I hope that it is not achieved. It will be fatally dangerous for humans to hand over control to machines.”

“I’ll just hold out for the development of machines that can take free-form language and hold each word in a rich context of meaning like humans do. Of course, I’ve been hearing such AI promises all my life with limited results, so I’m not holding my breath.”

“To a large extent the Semantic Web dream is today a reality.”

“The semantic Web will work 10 years from now. Like always.”

“Like Web 2.0, no one will have any idea what you are talking about, 15 minutes later. Brilliant pioneers rarely get to have the same effect later in the development cycle.”

“Hopefully…but we also will be in the age of the ‘knowledge Web’ (http://publius.cc/need_knowledge_Web_scholarship/020509) not just in scholarly work.”

“We’ve been waiting for the semantic Web for a long time… and will continue to wait.”

“An interesting concept, but perhaps too ambitious in its attempt for mass organization.”

“Searching effectively will become easier and easier. Strong potential for manipulation and misuse, however – I’m sure Iran and China see good potential here for curtailing what is accessible to users.”

“It is likely that great inroads will have been made in the development of the semantic Web that will be of tremendous use to Internet users.”

“Well, not to a ‘significant degree’ but a lot of efforts have been done and the majority agree with the idea of trustworthy meta data. Though much, much more need to be done to reach more structure.”

“We will continue to add metadata to the Web, and this will alter the way that humans and machines interact with the network. I don’t know if this will be the semantic Web envisioned by Berners-Lee, but this technology will matter.”

“I believe the semantic Web is already in motion and it would be very difficult to derail it. I believe 10 years is time enough for it to bear fruit.”

“In chemistry, good input equals good output. People will continue to be dissatisfied with results because they do not know what they are looking for.”

“The semantic Web reminds me of artificial intelligence, which was first in the spotlight in the 1960’s. We now have special instantiations of such intelligence, but the holy grail of AI is still in the distance. The same will be true of the semantic Web. There will be local breakthroughs of variable persuasiveness, but that’s all there will be.”

“I can’t answer this one, since I think it’s some of both. It definitely won’t be as fully effective as its creators hoped, but I also think there will be a few applications – like search engines for geek sites where they are more likely to be coded to take advantage of semantic things. So I believe we will just be starting to see the advantages of the semantic Web.”

“I am glad somebody is working on this, and maybe someday we will see its value in big ways, but it will take a long time to get there.”

“It appears to me to be based on an assumption about the intelligence and sophistication of users that may be unjustified.”

“Too many moving parts, too much direct ‘rip and replace’ needed. Any development must appear, not be targeted. There needs to be good sound reasons for making wholesale change, which the semantic Web vision lacks.”

“The semantic Web is an AI-complete problem: we need to solve much more of the overall problem of creating artificial intelligence in order for the semantic Web to have a noticeable impact on people’s ability to find information. However, hopefully we will have made greater strides in interoperability of information – not necessarily due to the semantic Web, but due to plain old-fashioned engineering. A good example is people’s ability to combine information from different sources to create mashups (like combining a Google map with crime statistics data) – it still requires work from the creator, but much less work than it would have 10 years ago.”

“It takes time.”

“Yes, but Tim Berners-Lee and others need to explain the semantic Web in plainer language.”

“There will be some pushback by users who don’t want to lose some of this control to computers.”

“Don’t know much about the semantic Web, so average users will probably never notice.”

“This is a terribly hard problem and 2020 is only 10 years away.”

“The idea of the semantic Web is about the same level as artificial intelligence. It’s not going to happen by 2020.”

“The semantic Web has ‘re-invented’ itself several times over the past several years. Its latest incarnation, Linked Data, is already starting to have a significant impact in numerous arenas. Semantic Web technology, as incorporated in applications such as trust systems, will clearly have an ongoing impact for the better.”

“The benefits of the semantic Web come from the amount of data associated with other data, data posted or available to ensure connectivity of topic and theme, and user dedication to be thorough in their posting and sharing. The semantic Web will continue to play a role, mature, and aid in the discovery of information. What it wont help with is the years of legacy data that cannot be mined in the deep Web based on poor digitization practices.”

“I’ll say yes, but do not have the expertise to comment further.”

“Efforts on the semantic Web will result in tools for privacy and policy that operate under the personal authority of average Internet users. Communication and knowledge are essentials of being human. While mobile cyberspace is new, it’s no less necessary than stone age methods of being human.”

“The history of AI suggests that semantic systems are much harder to achieve than anticipated. But there will be much more effective methods for harvesting semantic information from legacy Websites, using this to offer innovative personal services, as well as for market intelligence and government purposes.”

“Tim Berners-Lee’s ideas are visionary and even if some of it is implemented, it will never be embraced fully in the way that he imagined. It’s a technology-driven idea without deep consideration for the way the social world operates.”

“I do not believe the Semantic Web, as defined, will be fully achieved by 2020 but do believe that semantic technologies will continue to evolve to have major impact in the next decade.”

“People generally make one big contribution. Tim Berners-Lee made a big contribution. I find it stupendously unlikely that lightning will hit him twice, any more than Vint’s interplanetary TCP is going to be of any particular significance.”

“I suspect that semantic Web adoption will depend in part on tools that provide the context rather than waiting for the contributor to contextualize posted material. But I think we’ll have those tools.”

“I think the average Internet users by 2020 will see greater ease-of-use and more ‘intelligence’ in Websites and services as a result of the semantic Web developments over the next coming years.”

“What is the Semantic Web?!”

“The Internet is messy. I don’t see that changing. The semantic Web would be great if we had it, but I’m not sure the benefits outweigh the up-front disadvantages imposed by requiring structure.”

“I don’t think the average Internet user will notice a difference directly; instead, they will just find the Internet to be an easier experience.”

“By 2020 the semantic Web envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee will be old-hat. New interrelationships will have been added that are not yet anticipated at the close of 2009.”

“This is another one that’s borderline. I’m not convinced it will have an impact by 2020, but it certainly will be on its way. Skynet [the evil AI portrayed in the ‘Terminator’ film series] is next.”

“This reminds me of the early promise of AI, which, the closer we got to it, the further away from it we realised we really were…”

“As users of the Internet become more and more sophisticated they will require many of the ‘features’ envisioned in the semantic Web and to some extent they will demand these as a part of their daily Internet use.”

“If not the semantic Web as envisioned by Berners-Lee, something else will emerge that involves machine-interpretable information that can be synthesized and presented in meta form, although issues about privacy and information security will be obstacles.”

“More likely Tim Berners-Lee’s goals will be at least partly achieved in some as yet unanticipated way. Whether the term semantic Web is warped to apply to what actually happens is unknowable at this time.”

“The semantic Web is a tangle of often-conflicting initiatives. I’m not sure it’ll have much meaning, per se, in 2020, though many of its individual components will.”

“The semantic technologies will change the Internet in a longer time frame.”

“The ‘semantic Web’ is an ill-defined term, or at best a vague aspiration. Whether it will be achieved depends on what you believe the term means – and neither Berners-Lee nor anybody else has offered a satisfactory definition.”

“The Web will continue to evolve.”

“Sorry. I just don’t buy the semantic Web thing.”

“Standard interchange formats will take longer to emerge.”

“I have my doubts about how far it will evolve. I hope I am wrong and it has a major impact in making the New more intelligent.”

“Taxonomies are subject to change. The Internet seems to support the evolution of taxonomies better, e.g., folksonomies, tagging, etc. Older materials may become lost (to indexing) because no one invests in re-indexing, as taxonomies evolve.”

“I’m taking the word of the experts on this, although it’s too geeky for me to really evaluate well.”

“The Web changes in Internet time. It may not be exactly what Tim Berners-Lee envisions it to be but it will be unrecognizable compared to what it is today.”

“I am not sure if the average users will see the change, but certainly the ability of machines to understand semantics will grow.”

“For much Web activity someone needs to be accountable and in an open source world there really is no owner. So you have a problem with your digital imaging code? Who ya gonna call? You’ll have to deal with hundreds of geeks each with their own answer to the problem. It’s been my experience that you pay a price for open source and that’s the time you spend trying to get an answer to a problem.”

“Ultimately it will come down to whether you’re more concerned with time or money as the mitigating factor. Time is a currency in the semantic Web model that I for one have real problems with.”

“I think it might take more than 20 years.”

“The semantic Web was really for the benefit of the machines, in the respect it will probably actually dominate communications even as it remains mostly invisible to the end users. Some of the most successful applications we’ve had are built around making sense of unstructured data. And to the extent that we’re mostly interested in human activity that is inherently messy, it’s likely to remain the case that deriving information from unstructured datasets will be the high dollar important task.”

“I believe it has a long way to go. We will see.”

“Ten years period is too short.”

“We are already beginning to see the difference that XML tools and Web services play. It is likely, by 2020, that the semantic Web will be completely embedded into the infrastructure and will be serving all sorts of good purposes. Users still won’t know what the semantic Web is (neither will most developers), but they will be using it in many of their daily activities.”


“I don’t know, but dreamers are rarely satisfied with the way their creations come to be used.”

“If the Internet remains an open platform, new and innovative forms of the Web will be developed. My bet, however, is that by 2020 it will have been hatched in the imagination of an inventive youth in Nairobi, Delhi, or Kuala Lumpur.”

“I suspect whatever there is in 2020 will be different from what TBL envisioned.”

“The critical component of the semantic Web is the metadata. That still requires human input / intelligence to be truly intelligent / consistent / relevant. Anything requiring human consistency has a precarious future.”

“It will take a leap, Tim Berners Lee needs someone to come up with another ‘mosaic’ (that took the text-based WWW and made it so compelling).”

“Of course this is true and already more than Tim imagined.”

“I am hopeful, but it is the human being that must allow this to occur the computer and the Internet are merely tools used by humans. Human beings make the rules. Human beings must break down the barriers while ensuring adequate privacy protections and online accountability.”

“I am doubtful, but wistful.”

“Absolutely. The semantic Web is the core of the future 3D mobile media cloud.”

“Yes to both scenarios. WHAT ‘average users’? American average? Chinese average? Russian average?”

“Have never even heard about such a thing. A quick look at my inbox of 7406 MB of mail accumulated over five years, subscribing to at least 10 Internet-related lists, it is only mentioned 39 times.”

“The semantic Web is a wonderful vision, but it is largely impractical, at least given today’s realities. Academia has failed to produce the kind of innovation seen in the private sector at scale, and what the semantic Web needs more than anything else is scale. I’m generally very skeptical of the semantic Web when it comes to the consumer Web – though it will certainly provide a great deal of value for specific kinds of applications in healthcare and the like where collaboration is contentious and involves many disparate organizations.”

“This is not going to be ready technologically by 2020.”

“No idea what in the world will happen with this – above my pay grade, as they say!”

“I have no idea what it is.”

“Let’s hope this doesn’t come to pass.”

“I don’t know a lot about semantic Web but if it follows developments in XML programming language then it will make a huge improvement in identification of content types.”

“If it isn’t an intermediate step to something else.”

“Semantic Web is unknown to me.”

“Progress has been slow; will continue to be slow.”

“I have no idea what ‘the semantic Web’ even is.”

“The answer is somewhere in the middle – the semantic Web will have made a difference, but not so clearly or universally.”

“The semantic Web will be realized and effective, but relatively unnoticed – it will be seen as an upgrade, or ‘the next logical step.’”

“In order for the semantic Web to work, online information needs to be appropriately coded. No one wants to do this extra work for much of the information. I don’t even like to tag my Flickr pictures!”

“As I understand the semantic Web, it has great possibilities for the future use of the Internet and the sharing and finding of information. However, as far as I can tell from my basic reading, there is a great deal more research, experimentation and implementation before this would be an effective system or tool. I do not think that it will be fully effective and impacting average users by this time.”

“Information overload will drive it.”

“Long way to go before this happens because there is no effective control or governance over the Web.”

“Yes … already beginning to happen.”

“With a healthy dose of optimism, I think this will move in the direction the founders hope for. There is plenty of data, but not enough information (assimilated data).”

“While there may be some movement towards the vision of the semantic Web, it seems likely that inertia will preserve a lot of the present Web framework and there will be evolutionary, rather than revolutionary change.”

“Some version of the semantic Web will likely be achieved although probably not in the form we now expect.”

“I think this is still the primary model upon which everything is built. It would be hard to change it now.”

“As long as the so-called Moore’s law will go on the chance is high to get there.”

“The semantic Internet along with hypertext culture will be clearly established.”

“Semantic requires an understanding of emotions and behaviors to determine relativity. Adding in demographic variables compounds the personalization and relativity challenges. Not sure even Google could pull this off in 10 years but I do see a significant improvement correlating beyond the current search patterning and recommendations through intelligent devices and ‘augmented reality.’”

“I just don’t believe in the semantic Web.”

“This is another response that, on balance, has large positive and negative trends for both sides, but in my view tips toward the likelihood that the average user will experience a substantive difference by comparison with today.”

“Jargon and slang will have to be curtailed and language more exact for the semantic Web to work. I hope that it does, but I don’t think it will by 2020. By 2050, maybe.”

“I hope so, but I’m not sure.”

“The Web will continue to get better so it is likely to be the place to go for information. Protections will need to be put in place so that information is not intentionally corrupted and skewed.”

“Yes, I believe that the Web will provide seamless interface to multiple pathways of information, offer suggestions for personalized quests, and show the ways things are interconnected. At least I hope so.”

“This will be enhanced.”

“Definitely… it just requires a critical mass, and we are moving in that direction already.”

“Slowly but surely.”

“I doubt that the semantic Web will have been deeply integrated into the overall Web by 2020 thus its impact will not be as significant as some would hope.”

“I consider myself to be a reasonably educated and media-savvy/aware person and I have to admit that I’ve never even heard of the semantic Web. Hum. Not to sound too egotistical, but if people like me (working in media, post-graduate degree, etc.) haven’t heard about it, how much impact can it have?”

“I think the ‘making sense of it all’ area is a vital one if we also consider that mobility production will increase.”

“I’m rather skeptical, unable to envision significant achievement by 2020. The challenges are underplayed.”

“If implementing the semantic Web is made easier, it could gain significant traction. If it remains a great idea solely among Web standards gurus then it’s impact will be limited.”

“I don’t think the common person will ever utilize the semantic Web. I think it would be reserved for people in power within scientific, governmental, and corporate entities. It also should be accessible for use at a research level. Will the information that each person or entity receives be the same as the next person? Or will it require specific machines and subscriptions? If everyone has the same amount of knowledge accessible to them, where does competition come from? Competition on execution would be the only opportunity, which would leave millions of wasted products and ideas. Not to mention, the monopolistic situation in the world would absolutely blow out of proportion. There should be some way to sift through the information, but having a computer decide what the information means? Can we trust technology to make those decisions when computers crash daily? What do bugs do to this system?”

“I think this will happen a lot sooner than 2020. The wave has already started and augmented reality will speed this up.”

“You should have defined semantic Web. I’m not going to lengthen the survey experience to go look for a definition.”

“The dream remains worthy but requires a wider and deeper level of cooperative behavior than seems likely from the human species.
“I think there is a lot of hope that the global Web will evolve semantically, but I believe it to be more like a dream.”

“The semantic Web will be largely achieved but probably in a different way than that envisioned by Tim.”

“It is tough to see the semantic Web itself becoming as effective as its creators envision. That being said, the concepts underlying the semantic Web will become more widespread, with average users benefiting from improved search and greater contextualization. Search engines will delve more deeply into understanding the semantics of the content they are crawling, in an effort to deliver more tailored results. After all, Google isn’t aiming to return thousands of results in each search. Instead, their goal is to deliver only one result, the exact one you’re looking for. In addition to the better understanding through the language, meaning will also be derived from the relationships surrounding the content. Social networks and curated content will help surface information based on my interests and needs. Some benefits will come from more structured data, particularly in standardized API feeds and markup, but much of this will be invisible to the user and, as seen with semantic XHTML, undertaken by a minority of content creators.”

“We will see semantic technology playing a much bigger role in the years to come, but there are also worrying privacy implications to this and it will be interesting to see how it all evolves (and the discussions it spurs).”

“The challenge here is for ‘intuition’ to project our information needs. Having information in more boxes still keeps them in someone else’s pre-defined boxes. I’m not sure the so-called ‘convenience’ of this will assure the success of ‘semantic Web.’ And I’m not sure I’ll like it. However, if it offers me new doors to open, then maybe I’ll be less skeptical.”

“The development of the semantic Web will be slower than expected, and that even if some of the concepts are implemented we won’t be there by 2020. There are not only technical issues to address but many philosophical issues as well, and this will take time. Do I think that some form of this idea will ultimately be implemented and leverage and make a difference in our lives? Yes, I do. But I think it will take longer than the next 10 years.”

“Not sure what year this will happen – but it will happen and it’s already happening – even if you don’t have a PC or use the Web – you are affected by the Internet.”

“Thinking involves also feelings, previous experience, environment (the same question may imply different meanings and expectations), age, time of the day, etc. The semantic Web may accomplish a lot – but all? There are as many human ‘profiles’ as humans.”

“Yes, but we won’t really know it.”

“The semantic Web will change to become whatever the Web is, but the original vision was stupid and interesting only to people that really had no idea what Tim was talking about.”

“I think the semantic Web will be too severely stifled because of cultural/ethnic differences to be effective.”

“I’m not familiar with the semantic Web… I just looked it up on Wikipedia so I could at least answer this question. The Internet is – and will continue to be – built around the concept of search engines helping people find the information they want. I don’t see Google and Bing being replaced any time soon.”

“There may be a successful future for the semantic Web, but it’s a lot harder than the visionaries think and 2020 is too soon for us to see much substantial progress. I think it’s going to take several decades and then may any be useful for a set of situations that is much more limited (although still very valuable) than the visionaries think.”

“The semantic Web is undermined by for-profit search giants like Google where search results are ranked by dollars rather than content.”

“It will be effective, but the solution will not look like TBL expects it to.”

“I don’t know what the semantic Web is, so can’t see that it will have made a big difference.”

“Yes, a lot of very good research has been done on what it would take to develop the semantic Web, unfortunately, I don’t think there’s enough computing power in the world to achieve it. The average user will demand that when he/she types in a word, the search engine should provide all permutations of that word, i.e., what she meant rather than what she typed. Still, language use is infinite in its number of forms and content. No machine or human can program for infinity.”

“The man in the street will only see real value emerge from the Internet when the quality and accessibility of the data improves, and the semantic Web is key to this.”

“Berners-Lee’s vision was too formal and heavyweight. In the way he envisioned it, the semantic Web never took off. But the basic notion of structured data and machine-to-machine communication is already here to an appreciable extent.”

“It certainly won’t be clear to average users.”

“The vision expressed is very optimistic. The difficulties apparent in Wolfram Alpha will explode exponentially. Moreover, what is semantically relevant has to be defined, and this is not to be done algorithmically.”

“The semantic Web will be achieved by 2020, possibly before.”

“The semantic Web is a wonderful idea that most people don’t understand or even know exists, and the challenges to bringing it to life are so huge that efforts to implement it will always be overshadowed by people simply ‘muddling through.’”

“It’s a nice idea, though.”

“There will be too many old-school holdouts for the semantic Web to be realized in 2020.”

“Haven’t we been talking about the semantic Web for a decade at least? Love TBL but let’s move on from this metaphor … It’s a cliché and overused term that few understand. (I’m not sure TBL was ever quite clear on it.)”

“The semantic Web is far too prescriptive to succeed, especially on this time line. A different, more inferred semantic Web will emerge based on a wide variety of emergent and hackish ways of describing what things are.”

“Search will be better (see clusty.com for an example) and let you filter by context, but I don’t see a full symantec Web coming.”

“By 2020 it will be evident that the context of information is sufficiently important that the simplistic first order logic embodied in the existing view of the semantic Web is insufficient except in very well defined domains. Having said that, some semantic information will be of use, however the vision of computational inference envisioned by Tim Berners-Lee will still be a future idea.”

“Although I think the impact will eventually be substantial, I don’t see it happening within the next 10 years.”

“The semantic Web exists, but it’s not very widespread.”

“What is a difference between a sign and a signifier? What happens when the sign is the signifier and what happens when the signifier indicates multiple signs.”

“I believe the semantic Web will prove useful for mobile and tablet devices (one-click phone numbers, adding to calendar, mapping to address, filtering information on a page) but do little for desktop browsing. It will also improve search results, but this aspect is removed from the average user.”

“It won’t have all the kinks ironed out yet, but we’ll see it increasingly in use.”

“The ‘semantic layer’ will reside in various giant clouds such as Google and Facebook. I expect a more vertical structure there major players interconnect in the ‘semantic layer.’ Similar to patent pooling in several IPR-intensive industries.”

“Tim Berners-Lee`s vision of the semantic Web is a conceptual framework about the most poressing technological problems on the Web. Be it the W3C standards or any other (proprietory) technology, solutions will pop up that will adress and partially solve the interoperability problem in large scale, distributed databases like the Web.”

“Things like Linked Data are the first fruits of the too-logic heavy semantic Web research of the previous decade. More bottom-up high-impact-with-little-pain approaches will seed semantics in the infrastructure of the Web with most people not noticing.”

“Will the semantic Web be as prominent as the WWW by 2020? No. Will applications be written on top of distributed data over the Internet by 2020? Yes, unquestionably. An even better question: Will there be a ‘killer app’ for that data in 10 years? Maybe. After over a decade of development, the specification suite for semantic markup is fairly robust and complete, with some exceptions (e.g.: trustmarks). Furthermore, it is not really novel to do something with that data, if merely in a read-only domain. This is actively going on now at data.gov, among other portals. The key lies in whether data diffusion will be sufficient by then, and whether enough interest will exist in the developer community to write inference engines on top of that data, even if (at first) they are limited to the silo. The semantic Web will grow as it proves that it can add value to consumers, the enterprise, government, etc. That added-value remains untapped for now, but it is unlikely that annotating data at Internet scale (or at enterprise scale) and writing inference engines over it, will prove to be a worthless endeavor.”

“Semantic Web is a bit tricky business since it means so many things to different people, but definitely it will provide something we have not yet seen (maybe from Google).”

“Currently there seems to be just too much diversity, in content and in the producers of content, for full realization of the semantic Web.”

“The difference in research will be earth shattering, in day-to-day life, less so. But people’s information networks will be vastly richer and the semantic Web will be a big part of it. The semantic Web’s detractors are mostly commercial/industry people whose resources will have been marginalized by then.”

“Protocols for metadata are all to the good, but this is not something that can be easily planned. No strong comment here.”

“I would think that 10 years will provide ample time for this concept to mature and become ‘mainstream.’”

“Metadata and microformats will greatly increase the accessibility of structured data within the Web, but it will not be nearly as widespread or systematic as TBL envisions.”

“It will take much longer to realize this dream than 2020.”

“The semantic Web always was a solution in search of a problem.”

>> Click here to return to the 2010 Future of the Internet survey homepage
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>> Click here to read brief biographies of some of the survey participants