SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Liz McMillan, Carmen Gonzalez, Roger Strukhoff, David Linthicum

Blog Feed Post

A semantic journey

Closeup of Babbage Difference Engine #2Earlier this week, Gigaom announced their latest event; Structure Intelligence.

“In the past year we’ve seen massive growth in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and deep learning. Our own Derrick Harris has been covering this area for years and we have decided it’s time to give this rapidly growing area a platform (and conference) of its own.”

Personally, it’s great to see this area getting real attention from Gigaom. But I’m reminded of just how long some of these issues have intersected (or, often, passed close-by) my own career…

Back in the mid-1990’s, I was researching a Ph.D in the Archaeology Department at the University of York. Nothing particularly semantic or artificially intelligent about that… except that a fellow student was building a neural network that inferred all sorts of things about Viking sheep, based on cues derived from photographs of their excavated teeth. And expert systems were in vogue, for a while, doggedly following rules to identify such esoterica as the precise Dragendorff form of Samian pottery fragments. I stuck to teaching computers how to build maps of the archaeology below our cities. Much prettier.

Fast forward around ten years to Talis where, for a while, a team was assembled that pushed the envelope on what might be possible with an open, extensible and connected semantic platform. Alongside the technical developments, significant effort was invested in raising awareness of the potential around semantic technologies. Podcasts, two blogs, a print magazine (!), invitations to present globally. All now, sadly, gone from the Interweb as the company turned in a very different (but, given the unanticipated arrival of a global financial crisis, possibly understandably safe) direction.

As Richard Macmanus noted at the time, there was a brief flurry of interest in ‘semantic’ amongst the Web 2.0 crowd…

There was also a far deeper, and more sustained, interest in putting core semantic technologies to work in solving big, hard, slow problems. Events like the long-running Semantic Technology Conference (coming up in San Jose this August) offered a rare opportunity for academics and business leaders (and lots of spooks) to mingle. Other events tended to cater to a more academic crowd, making it harder for the big ideas to really get tested in business situations.

ZDNet had a semantic web blog, which I wrote for a number of years. Subsequent site reorganisations have broken a number of the URL redirects, but all the content does still seem to be there if you craft the right searches. There was also a site called SemanticWeb.com, now part of the same organisation as the Semantic Technology conference, where I wrote a regular column for a while. There, too, not every link survived the site’s transition unscathed.

Here in Europe, the funding stream that’s now concerned with ‘big data’ and the ‘data value chain’ was far more effusively intrigued by semantics, natural language processing, pattern recognition, and related matters. I’ve reviewed a lot of proposals there, and the change in the language of funding calls and bids has been interesting to observe.

And now, as Gigaom’s post noted, “we’ve seen a massive growth in Artificial Intelligence.” Everyone seems to be talking about it, and they don’t necessarily always mean what an AI researcher would mean. Much of what we’re seeing goes back to those enthusiastic days before the crash, even if some of the language and emphasis has shifted. Bottlenose, which I wrote about this week? Brain-child of Nova Spivack, of Twine fame in 2008. Microsoft’s Machine Learning, Business Intelligence and Analytics stuff? A lot of it is underpinned by people, technology and ideas from Powerset. Google’s Knowledge Graph, most recently seen telling us what the symptoms of a common cold might be? There’s lots of Metaweb and Freebase under the hood.

The language has definitely shifted. Artificial Intelligence, which was stuffy, esoteric, academic, and a bit pie-in-the-sky even to the semantic technology crowd, is now the term du jour. Semantic Web is only mentioned in whispers, if at all, although some of it sees practical and pragmatic adoption as part of initiatives like the Google-backed schema.org.

I made a conscious decision, when I left Talis, to focus on the emerging opportunities around cloud and data. Hence the name. Cloud, increasingly, is table stakes. It’s background, foundation, platform. It’s not interesting for itself, but for what it lets you do. And what it lets you do is gather, process and act upon oodles and oodles of data. Software like Hadoop, and data-based trends like open data mandates from Government create a fertile mix of capability and content. Computing is faster, cheaper, better. Data is better, more comprehensive and more available.

Now, maybe, all that semantic stuff can have its day… powered by cloud and data. And Structure Intelligence can play its part in telling — and shaping — this next chapter.

Disclaimer: I am an active member of Gigaom Research’s Analyst Network. They pay me for various things. They do not pay me to plug their events.

Image is a close-up of the modern replica of Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine, photographed by Larry Johnson.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Paul Miller

Paul Miller works at the interface between the worlds of Cloud Computing and the Semantic Web, providing the insights that enable you to exploit the next wave as we approach the World Wide Database.

He blogs at www.cloudofdata.com.

Latest Stories
Moroccanoil®, the global leader in oil-infused beauty, is thrilled to announce the NEW Moroccanoil Color Depositing Masks, a collection of dual-benefit hair masks that deposit pure pigments while providing the treatment benefits of a deep conditioning mask. The collection consists of seven curated shades for commitment-free, beautifully-colored hair that looks and feels healthy.
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
The textured-hair category is inarguably the hottest in the haircare space today. This has been driven by the proliferation of founder brands started by curly and coily consumers and savvy consumers who increasingly want products specifically for their texture type. This trend is underscored by the latest insights from NaturallyCurly's 2018 TextureTrends report, released today. According to the 2018 TextureTrends Report, more than 80 percent of women with curly and coily hair say they purcha...
We all love the many benefits of natural plant oils, used as a deap treatment before shampooing, at home or at the beach, but is there an all-in-one solution for everyday intensive nutrition and modern styling?I am passionate about the benefits of natural extracts with tried-and-tested results, which I have used to develop my own brand (lemon for its acid ph, wheat germ for its fortifying action…). I wanted a product which combined caring and styling effects, and which could be used after shampo...
Steaz, the nation's top-selling organic and fair trade green-tea-based beverage company, announces its 2017 "Mind. Body. Soul." tour, which will bring authentic experiences inspired by the brand's signature Mind. Body. Soul. tagline to life across the country. The tour will inform, educate, inspire and entertain through events, digital activations and partner-curated experiences developed to support the three pillars of complete health and wellness.
The precious oil is extracted from the seeds of prickly pear cactus plant. After taking out the seeds from the fruits, they are adequately dried and then cold pressed to obtain the oil. Indeed, the prickly seed oil is quite expensive. Well, that is understandable when you consider the fact that the seeds are really tiny and each seed contain only about 5% of oil in it at most, plus the seeds are usually handpicked from the fruits. This means it will take tons of these seeds to produce just one b...
The platform combines the strengths of Singtel's extensive, intelligent network capabilities with Microsoft's cloud expertise to create a unique solution that sets new standards for IoT applications," said Mr Diomedes Kastanis, Head of IoT at Singtel. "Our solution provides speed, transparency and flexibility, paving the way for a more pervasive use of IoT to accelerate enterprises' digitalisation efforts. AI-powered intelligent connectivity over Microsoft Azure will be the fastest connected pat...
There are many examples of disruption in consumer space – Uber disrupting the cab industry, Airbnb disrupting the hospitality industry and so on; but have you wondered who is disrupting support and operations? AISERA helps make businesses and customers successful by offering consumer-like user experience for support and operations. We have built the world’s first AI-driven IT / HR / Cloud / Customer Support and Operations solution.
ScaleMP is presenting at CloudEXPO 2019, held June 24-26 in Santa Clara, and we’d love to see you there. At the conference, we’ll demonstrate how ScaleMP is solving one of the most vexing challenges for cloud — memory cost and limit of scale — and how our innovative vSMP MemoryONE solution provides affordable larger server memory for the private and public cloud. Please visit us at Booth No. 519 to connect with our experts and learn more about vSMP MemoryONE and how it is already serving some of...
Darktrace is the world's leading AI company for cyber security. Created by mathematicians from the University of Cambridge, Darktrace's Enterprise Immune System is the first non-consumer application of machine learning to work at scale, across all network types, from physical, virtualized, and cloud, through to IoT and industrial control systems. Installed as a self-configuring cyber defense platform, Darktrace continuously learns what is ‘normal' for all devices and users, updating its understa...
Codete accelerates their clients growth through technological expertise and experience. Codite team works with organizations to meet the challenges that digitalization presents. Their clients include digital start-ups as well as established enterprises in the IT industry. To stay competitive in a highly innovative IT industry, strong R&D departments and bold spin-off initiatives is a must. Codete Data Science and Software Architects teams help corporate clients to stay up to date with the mod...
As you know, enterprise IT conversation over the past year have often centered upon the open-source Kubernetes container orchestration system. In fact, Kubernetes has emerged as the key technology -- and even primary platform -- of cloud migrations for a wide variety of organizations. Kubernetes is critical to forward-looking enterprises that continue to push their IT infrastructures toward maximum functionality, scalability, and flexibility. As they do so, IT professionals are also embr...
Platform9, the leader in SaaS-managed hybrid cloud, has announced it will present five sessions at four upcoming industry conferences in June: BCS in London, DevOpsCon in Berlin, HPE Discover and Cloud Computing Expo 2019.
At CloudEXPO Silicon Valley, June 24-26, 2019, Digital Transformation (DX) is a major focus with expanded DevOpsSUMMIT and FinTechEXPO programs within the DXWorldEXPO agenda. Successful transformation requires a laser focus on being data-driven and on using all the tools available that enable transformation if they plan to survive over the long term. A total of 88% of Fortune 500 companies from a generation ago are now out of business. Only 12% still survive. Similar percentages are found throug...
When you're operating multiple services in production, building out forensics tools such as monitoring and observability becomes essential. Unfortunately, it is a real challenge balancing priorities between building new features and tools to help pinpoint root causes. Linkerd provides many of the tools you need to tame the chaos of operating microservices in a cloud native world. Because Linkerd is a transparent proxy that runs alongside your application, there are no code changes required. I...