Web 3.0 and Learning

Will Thalheimer, CC BY-SA, Nov 28, 2006
Commentary by Stephen Downes

I have commented on what some are calling "Web 3.0" before, questioning the concept. Here's a case in point. From the post: "[The holy-grail of Web 3.0 developers] is to build a system that can give a reasonable and complete response to a simple question like: 'I'm looking for a warm place to vacation and I have a budget of $3,000. Oh, and I have an 11-year-old child.'" OK, now, think about that. Do we ask questions like that? Well - no. First of all, we tend to forget to add the qualifiers (such as the budget and the child) when we ask. But even more importantly, we don't want to include some of this information in the question. It's an old rule - never tell the sales person what you're willing to spend. But also - I don't want to limit what I'm looking for. I'll spend more than $3000 if the trip is worth it, and I'll find a sitter for the child if I have to. What this means, then, is that whatever we're looking at, it won't be set up like a search or a query. It has to be much more subtle, much more interpretive, much more dynamic, much more immersive. The Web 3.0 people are talking about is the old Web 1.0 - we deliver content, you listen. But the next generation web will be more like Web 2.0 on steroids - the web itself will warp according my needs, my interests, my contributions.
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