My definition of Web 3.0 is one of the most popular entry points into this blog. In it, I proposed the vision of a web which becomes increasingly verticalized by “Context”, and the relevant Content, Community and Commerce elements are successfully mashed up “in Context”. I also proposed 2 other elements: Vertical / Contextual Search, and Personalization. Thus, I concluded, Web 3.0 = (4C + P + VS).
I got both extremes of reactions to this formula. But I also got some good questions and observations, which, after several months of discussions, warrant a follow-on synthesis post.
One question is about Tim Berner’s Lee’s Semantic Web definition and how it correlates with my vision. Tim Berners-Lee originally expressed the vision of the semantic web as follows: “I have a dream for the Web [in which computers] become capable of analyzing all the data on the Web – the content, links, and transactions between people and computers. A ‘Semantic Web’, which should make this possible, has yet to emerge, but when it does, the day-to-day mechanisms of trade, bureaucracy and our daily lives will be handled by machines talking to machines. The ‘intelligent agents’ people have touted for ages will finally materialize.” [Wikipedia]
Well, yes, my vision is similar. Except, while Tim is an academic, and thinks in terms of new technology, I am an entrepreneur, and I think in terms of execution and viable, sustainable business models, not just technology.
So, let me now provide the bridge between Tim’s thoughts and mine.
You see, I grew up in India, with a household full of servants. However politically incorrect it may be to say so, I thoroughly enjoyed the lifestyle of being able to delegate tedious tasks to these servants. Thus, in the future that I envision, I would very much like to see Intelligent Agent “Servants” taking care of lots of my repetitive tasks.
Now, I happen to have worked on AI algorithms a fair bit, over the years, and can assure you, that for Agent technology to work, you would need to constrain the domain of its activity. Intelligent Agents would never be successful in providing value if let loose in an unconstrained environment. Thus, it needs “Context”.
A “Travel Agent” is not the same as a “Personal Shopper Agent” or a “Personal Financial Advisor Agent” or a “Real Estate Agent”. All those agents are entirely possible, if you design them in the context of the vocabulary (Semantics) of the vertical domain. Unconstrained, and without context, they fail. Thus, the Semantic Web can only be implemented in a Contextual Domain.
And within each Contextual Domain, you would find a sustainable business model that includes Advertising and eCommerce revenues, indicating that the future of the Web, Web 3.0 as we are trying to call it, is a Verticalized, Contextualized, Personalized Web.