Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Question to Tim Berners-Lee

I noticed Scoble Twittered that he is talking with none other than Tim Berners-Lee this evening!! Well, i have been reading his book Weaving the Web which he wrote a few years back and so even though i love all of Robert's shows, this one will be particularly interesting for me!

So he asked if anyone had a question for him, and although i have an infitinite owl:List of questions this is my first attempt (happens to be the similar to Sam's which was way freaky as it was also at the same time) .

On page 196 of "Weaving the Web" (which i am reading again just now) you voice your concerns specifically over the effect of patenting on reasoning engines for the Semantic Web and i guess the general effects of patenting on the fundamental Semantic Web technologies.

The Semantic Web is certainly progressing although perhaps not quite as fast as we may have expected (I was looking at RDF when writing my first book on Xml around 10 years ago now). In fact most of the good work I have used has come out of research labs in Universites in the US, UK and Germany.

Do you think the constant desire for patents around emerging Semantic Web concepts and the counter fact that a lot of the good work has actually come out of Universites and has been fairly open and flexible (and hence trickier - although not impossible - to build patents on top of), has slowed the rate of large scale commercial adotoption of Semantic Web technology development?

As a startup one of the first things i often hear is "What can you patent?".

Or perhaps more simply a large consumer facing Semantic application has just now taken hold yet? Rather it is dominated by mashups of existing standards - i.e. using the code to hack the meaning rather than the data containg it.

PS. When are you writing the follow up to Weaving the Web?

IF you have time for a follow up question Robert (and you read this!), I'd also like to know whether he can see the existing P3P standards emerging to fit into a Social Environment as privacy is perhaps the most fundamental issue of Social Networks that has not really been tackled yet (identity has been discussed much more than privacy) and a standard looks the best way to ensure this very important aspect is included!