There have been a dozen news stories and blog posts over the past month about the “semantic web” and all the wonders it will bring. Although I resist the urge to be a nay-sayer on most things, so far everything I’ve seen from semantic web tools is smoke and mirrors.
Way back there was a fantastic print magazine called Life. It was feature-focused rather than news-oriented like Time magazine. The outstanding quality of Life was its humanity. The writers and editors cared about their topics, yet also chose relevant and thought-provoking perspectives. Due to their diligence and open-mindedness, the editors rarely added any bias. You were provided information and opinion, without partisan preference.
So today, I don’t want to read anything more about Corey, the two Coreys or, indeed, any other number of Coreys. But just like the gutter newspapers, the so-called Google news feeds, and every we’ll-pay-you-to-write article-aggregation service, the sematic web sites are overloaded with poorly-written, poorly-researched, shallow and light-weight opinion pieces on Corey Haim.
The demise of Life was exactly in tune with the dumbing-down of news services in general – newspapers, magazines, tv news and radio. A quick look at the tv schedule will confirm how far the West has fallen: programs of stunning insignificance like Family Guy (endless clichés, poorly developed) or How Clean Is Your House?
There are plenty of other examples of the tyranny of popularity – Twitter trends, YouTube most-popular, Eurovision. The only thing the semantic web has done so far is add another layer of tedium that praises junk rather than quality.