Screw Semantics

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This post was written by Sue Kim. Her areas of expertise include computational intelligence, classifiers, and curation.


Screw Semantics

The title of this post, of course, is purely incendiary.  At Talk3, we value semantic technologies, and employ them in creating consumer-centric solutions.  But in an era where academic research meets mainstream business application, it is worth exploring the relationship between academic purity and value to consumers.

It seems that whenever an intelligent content system is proposed, the question inevitably arises in some form or other about whether such system is truly “semantic.”  A semantic technology is one that is able to interact with humans and get meaning in the moment of the interaction – not beforehand via specific data structures or application code.

To create a system that does not require human interference or programming to get and change meaning is an important goal in the varied fields of artificial intelligence and computational methodologies.  To continually tune and evolve such a system is our responsibility as technologists.

When applying such technology to every day consumer apps, however, we bear an additional responsibility:  accessibility and value.  Now, far outside the rarefied realm of academic laboratory or public media stage (i.e. Jeopardy), we are faced with the important task of putting smart technology to work for real people in every day situations.

The financial and temporal burdens of deploying B2C and B2B apps forces us to be extra rigorous in growing and evolving algorithmic solutions.  Our job is to to deliver value to consumers, which means choosing the combination of code, data, and content that best accomplishes this in the moment.  We need to meet the business needs of deploying NOW at a profit, while at the same time hold true the intelligence models that drive our technology.

This is what we’ve been waiting for.  This is the reason why AI and computational intelligence were so important to us in the first place:  helping people with their problems.  The responsibilities are on us – we can and must achieve it.


What role does semantic technology play in your life? Do you see it helping you solve your day to day problems (via apps or search engines), currently or in the future?


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