A semantic web value proposition challenge

In an earlier post today (http://bit.ly/LNpRXm) I quoted from a recent post by +Rob Gonzalez (http://bit.ly/O5dDuH) in which he said "Semantic Webbers have done a poor job communicating our value clearly and concisely."

This sparked an exchange between +Jason Pontin (editor in chief and publisher of Technology Review) and myself about the semantic web.

Jason:  No one - no one, including Sir Tim - can explain what the semantic Web is and does.

Me:  Nah, it's easy: the semantic web provides a way by which machines can talk to one another without pesky human intercession. ;)

Jason:  OK. I got that. It frees the Web from the document-pages-that-humans-click metaphor. But for what? What could the Web do then?

Me:  I guess I can't do better than the pat answer: make useful connections between things on the web.

Jason:  You see, this is where I get lost. The examples that I get never seem sufficiently compelling or new.

Which hearkens right back to the post by Rob that started this:

_"So question to the community: in one line, what is it that makes Semantic Web special?"

To rephrase this a bit (and finally get to the challenge to which I alluded to in the headline):  name a compelling example technology that demonstrates the usefulness of the semantic web.

I'll get the ball rolling by alluding to my brief Twitter response to Jason, which was "the Google Knowledge Graph".  The appended image is of the Knowledge Graph output for the query "Stephen King" (thanks to +Kingsley Idehen for his post on "simple examples of pretty page URLs from Google's knowledge graph" -http://bit.ly/MPlfuc - from which the King example is derived).  Putting together all those pieces on the fly is pretty rocket science-y,  at least to me, and I think the connections Google is now making by employing semantic web technologies is pretty compellingly useful to searchers.

But hell, I'm a search marketer, so of course I'm going to point to a search-related example.  I'd love to see an example that clearly shows the value of the semantic web without needing to reference that tried-and-true entity Google.
Shared publiclyView activity