After I just posted an article trashing the concept of "the next big thing" here's an article about the Semantic Web, which some people consider "the next big thing". The short summary for those who don't know anything about the semantic web is that it's when computers can understand what's on a web page. Instead of just computers serving up pure data to humans to read, the computers will understand the meaning and context of the page. It's partly about having metadata (data about the data) as well as additional context to put it all together. Obviously, there are a lot of challenges to making that a reality. I know a number of folks who have been talking about the semantic web for a while, and this article does a pretty good job of explaining what it is, why it would be useful, and the number of the challenges it faces (warning: Jakob Nielsen makes an appearance). If you don't know anything about the semantic web, it's worth reading. If you've heard about it, but don't understand it, it's worth reading. If you know all about the semantic web, and understand it already, then it'll probably just make you upset because they left your particular viewpoint out. Still, it's something that's worth thinking about and following, whether or not the vision ever matches the reality.
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