As a kid growing up in Milan I was obsessed with two things: sports and the future. If I wasn’t in the local park playing soccer, I was lost inside an issue of the futuristic sci-fi comic El Eternauta (upon reflection, perhaps a bit dark for a kid!). In those days, Italian television was a mere two channels and little more than Eastern European cartoons or variety shows on Saturdays, and sports events were broadcast several hours after the live match.
While other kids probably dreamed about having superpowers, my dreams were about a future that was more grounded in possibility than fantasy, about inventions that, with the right combination of genius and determination, were possible. Having my own personal television, one small enough to take anywhere and where I could watch anything I wanted, anytime, was something I knew would come eventually. And while the mini TV (remember this, or this?) was an encouraging sign, the technology was still many years away.
Fast forward to today… I’m watching Mad Men on my iPad and in my still pragmatic dreams, it’s not a leap to think that twenty years from now, we will be living in a very self-curated world. I imagine a world customized for me, my every activity synched and automated based on my personal calendar and a pre-defined set of parameters. A lunch meeting would automatically trigger a series of actions based on the meeting attendees, our location and our preferences. Reservations would be made, train tickets or flights purchased automatically and without any additional input from me.
I see hints of this “reality” today, just as I could imagine that one day, I’d be watching Serie A on the train ride home. While there are many technological and behavioral (not to mention security and privacy-related) boundaries to be crossed in the meantime, semantic technology is an important piece of this puzzle.
Data/information does not exist in a vacuum, and it is becoming easier to interconnect it with systems and technologies to design products that define a user experience increasingly similar to my idea of a “realistic future”.
Semantic technology excels in areas that present the biggest challenges for our information and data driven society by resolving context and connection within and between information. Semantics is increasingly being used to connect information silos and resolve disparities in data (particularly useful in the cases of acquisitions or consolidations), resulting in greater visibility of information assets and intelligence that can be translated to product innovation.
In this way, semantics will bridge gaps, contributing to the more connected, accessible and intuitive world that I imagine.