Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
Saturday, November 03, 2007
Saturday, October 27, 2007
And below I embed the channel (http://www.kyte.tv/rbenjamins) directly.
If you don't see anything, it isn't that easy, afterall...
Sunday, September 30, 2007
The Science and Technology Committee of the House of Lords has published an extensive report on Personal Security on the Internet in the context of crime and organized abuse (pdf here). Their conclusion is that e-crime is increasing in a rapid way, but there is still time for governments to take appropriate action:
"The threat to the Internet is clear, but it is still manageable. Now is the time to act, both domestically, and internationally, through the European Union and through international organisations and partnerships."
Whatever measures (no measure is also a measure) are proposed, they will always provoke reactions that go in all directions: from "this will kill the spirit of Internet" to "this still will leave many security holes", and all positions in-between those extremes. Ideal policies do not exist; all of them have advantages and disadvantages. It is the weighing of those (dis)advantages that makes the policy. A useful question to ask oneself in such situations is: “What is worse?” which in this case translates to:
What is worse? Making Internet so secure that no abuse is possible, but that at the same time kills the proper nature of Internet? Or, keeping Internet open, thereby taking for granted that some abuse will occur?
How much abuse are we willing to tolerate? To what extent do we accept to limit new possibilities and opportunities offered by this new instrument, for the sake of security?
Those are the real questions, but there is nothing new to those questions. Politicians deal with them on a daily basis (not saying that they take the right decisions …)
Sunday, September 02, 2007
Many large organizations have a strategic focus for a particular time frame. This focus provides an overall context for what technologies to monitor. It is important to notice that monitoring a technology involves much more than the technology alone. Monitoring a technology because it seems a nice technology does not help. Important notions to consider while monitoring include the business context, potential applications, market readiness, economics, society aspects, legal issues, etc. In this sense, the word “technology” is too limited to express what we need to cover. It would be more appropriate to refer to technological trends in a market, society and business context.
Apart from the strategic focus, additional factors that determine what technology trends to monitor include what your competitors are doing and what technological trends are emerging.
All those inputs help us in deciding what technologies (or “concepts”) to monitor. The result can be seen as a “technology/concept map”. This map tells us where we should put our effort in our monitoring activity. Notice that the map itself is a living thing, which needs regular updates, and in particular upon changes of the strategic focus, new emerging technologies, social changes that make existing technologies suddenly relevant, competitor activities, etc.
Once we know what to monitor, we still need to find out the best way to monitor each technology, i.e. what antennas to use and where. The following dimensions for characterizing technologies may be of help in this respect:
- Market readiness
- Technological maturity
- Legal aspects related to the use of the technology
- Social acceptation
- Applicability for the different business lines (the more the better)
- Applicability horizon for the business
- Technologies potentially provided by providers (especially for those with a short horizon, e.g. less than one year)
- Skills available in-house
- Available partners
All those factors help us in deciding when we should know about the technologies/concepts. Before it becomes business, before it appears in popular press, or before appearing in specialized press, before it enters the blogosphere, before it enters the research world, or before it enters garage startups, or even before it happens … It is common sense that the earlier one wants to be informed, the more expensive and difficult it is. It is simple to discover that a company offers a new service by reading it in the technology supplement of a newspaper. Low cost, low risk, but also low strategic value. On the other hand, to discover that a small startup constructs key technology for building a competitive edge in your business (and before the whole world knows it) is difficult and expensive. High cost, high risk, but high potential strategic value.
Corresponding to the different time frames desired for monitoring things, different methods apply from using Internet (reading blogs, search engines, intelligent agents, etc, to having your people in situ close to where things tend to happen. Those are two extremes in between which there are many different options, each with its advantages and disadvantages. This trade-off requires explicit decisions.
Once decisions are made, we have all parameters defined for setting up our Technology Observatory relevant for our strategic focus. The result of the observatory is a set of actions and/or recommendations for each technology concerned, such as passive monitoring, setting up a consortium, pursuing standards, partner with other organizations, buy a company, delete, etc. This can be expressed in another map, let’s say the technology/concept recommendation map. Moreover, sometimes it is possible to find external funding and partners to monitor a certain technology or relevant aspect of it.
The technology observatory may provide relevant information for different target audiences. The obvious one is the top management of the organization, but other targets include middle management, the whole company, partners and even the outside world. Each audience may require its own format, in order to ensure that the information arrives, and is actively consumed by the right people at the right time. The whole enterprise of technology monitoring is a waste of effort and money if this last step is not taken care of.
There are two relevant feedback loops to be aware of, and to stimulate. Monitoring the technology trends may change the technology/concept map by additions, deletions or modifications. Another and more profound feedback is to modify the strategic focus of the organization based on the technology observation performed. It may be the case that some observation suddenly opens a new business perspective to such extent that the strategic focus needs to be changed accordingly.
Thursday, August 02, 2007
If web3.0 already existed in its full extent, I could just type in some phrase such as "Find me relevant aspects for defining a Technological Strategy in the Telecommunitacions sector taking into account concepts like ICT, Internet, Multimedia, Ambient Intelligence, Intelligent neworks", and I would get relevant information to consider. Unfortunately, web3.0 is not yet there in this extent.
But maybe web2.0 can help out? Maybe there is a community out there that can suggest interesting things to take into account for defining such a plan.
Open innovation? Innovation 2.0? Name it what you want. I invite everybody to react with relevant concepts, notions, technologies, trends, business ideas, etc, etc. to contribute to such a technological plan in an innovative way ...
Thank you in advance!
Friday, July 27, 2007
Friday, July 13, 2007
I will continue to write this blog, but the topic may shift a bit. See you in August.
Dear friends and colleagues,
After 7 years of full time dedication to iSOCO, I will leave its daily operations from end of July, 2007. I will remain, though, a member of iSOCO’s Board of Directors.
I accepted a new position as Director of Technological Strategy at Telefónica R&D.
I am sure we will stay in touch, either through opportunities arising from my new position, or through my continued involvement in iSOCO.
Después de 7 años de dedicación completa en iSOCO, dejaré el día a día de la empresa a partir de finales de julio, 2007. Seguiré, no obstante, formando parte del Consejo de Administración.
He aceptado un nuevo reto como Director de Estrategia Tecnológica en Telefónica I+D.
Estoy seguro de que seguiremos en contacto, ya sea con las nuevas oportunidades que nos vayan surgiendo, o bien a través de iSOCO.
Beste vrienden en collegas,
Na 7 jaar toewijding aan iSOCO, trek ik me –per eind juli 2007- terug uit de dagelijkse leiding van het bedrijf. Ik blijf wel lid van de Raad van Bestuur.
Ik neem de positie in van Directeur “Technologische Strategie” in Telefónica Onderzoek en Ontwikkeling in Madrid, Spanje.
Ik ben ervan overtuigd dat we contact zullen houden; vanwege mogelijkheden in mijn nieuwe positie, of via mijn blijvende verbondenheid aan iSOCO.
Wednesday, June 06, 2007
The Invited talks can be downloaded in pdf.
current status, future challenges (Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam)
Also downloadable from the ESTC 2007 website.
The announcement has been made by Susie Stephen of Eli Lilly and is reproduced here:
"The Semantic Web Education and Outreach (SWEO) Interest Group is pleased to announce the first set of Case Studies and Use Cases giving some examples of how the Semantic Web of machine readable data is used today. Applications are presented in areas ranging from automotive to health care, and from B2B systems to geographical information systems. The SWEO Interest Group will continue to publish new Case Studies and Use Cases in the future; an RSS feed for new submissions is available. A short overview is also available in Open Document Format, PDF, and HTML formats. "
Monday, May 28, 2007
70% of the participants is coming from industry, which is the target audience. Major companies attending include SAP, Nokia, Oracle, France Telecom, British Telecom, T-Systems, Vodafone, Siemens, Telefonica, Verizon, and Atos Origin. Spanish organizatinos involved include among others Vodafone, Bankinter, City of Zaragoza, Fundación M. Botín, Atos Origin and Telefonica.
Sectors where Semantic Technology is applied and that present at ESTC include Public Sector, Telecommunications, Automotive, Aerospace, Cultural Heritage, Healthcare & Lifesciences, Media and eBusiness.
Countries well represented include Austria, Germany, UK, Spain, France, Norway and the Netherlands.
Press release in El País can be found here (pdf).
Tuesday, May 22, 2007
Industry Uptake and Recommendation to Organizations
In short, the web will gradually incorporate semantics starting with lightweight semantic hypertext (microformats) to more heavyweight ontologies. This vision is consistent with my own experience with clients: start small and simple, but with the big picture in mind. Semantic technologies owe to Web2.0 technologies -where semantic tags are attached to content out of pure necessity- in the sense that it is now widely recognized that (some kind of) semantics is needed to keep the web a friendly place to be. Some people (e.g. Mor Naaman of Yahoo!Research) express the same trend in a (very) different way, but the essence of the message is the same.
Monday, May 21, 2007
In my experience, much quicker and more robust than Adobe's. The reason for posting this on my blog, while it has nothing to do with Intelligent Applications, is that I generate lots of PDF documents from MS Office (Word, PPT), and more often than I want, I waste time in this process through slowness and errors of PDF writer (at least on my machines).
So I thought maybe others experience the same problems in execution of this boring task.
Lots of competition! Who is going to evaluate all this, with so many experts involved in the proposals. For all evaluators, make sure you reserve your hotels in Brussels as soon as possible. It will be crowded in June ...
The overview can be downloaded (pdf) from the CDTI website (among others, I am sure).
Monday, May 14, 2007
The presentations given by the panel members formed an interesting mix of different by complementary views on the matter of search engines: an excellent starting point for setting up a new breakthrough project to advance the state of the art.
The presentations of the whole conference are made available here. My presentation can be downloaded here.
Monday, April 23, 2007
Speakers of other keynotes include Ivan Herman of W3C, Ian Horrocks of University of Manchester and Susie Stephens of Eli Lilly and responsible for W3C's Semantic Web Education and Outreach (SWEO) Interest Group.
All presentations given at the conference can be downloaded here.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Enjoy (I use this blog also as a kind of storage for relevant pointers).
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
- http://www.blinkx.com/ (video clips)
- http://www.retrivo.com/ (electronics products)
- http://www.kosmix.com/ (health, travel, finance, US politics)
All those search engines allow queries in natural language, and they claim to use NLP and semantics to “understand” the content.
In my understanding, there are two ways where NLP and Semantics can play a role:
- Interpreting the user query. This is what most new search engines claim to do.
- “Understanding” the content to be indexed. This requires that at index time, not only the individual words of the content (documents) are indexed, but indexing also considers NLP and Semantics. It is unclear to what extent those “new” search engines apply this for indexing. Yet another possibility is to launch the query against structured information (e.g. RDF).
The short note of Paul Taylor also mentions several “search” engines for comparing prices of products available on the web, including
While the note talks about those “shopping bots” for consumers, also providers (the businesses) may have interest in such tools for tracking their products at resellers’ sites and for automatically tracking their competitors’ products.
Monday, April 09, 2007
- Simple storage. Amazon S3 is storage for the Internet. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
- Mechanical Turk. Amazon Mechanical Turk provides a web services API for computers to integrate “Artificial” Artificial Intelligence directly into their processing by making requests of humans.
- Elastic computing clouds. Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2) is a web service that provides resizable compute capacity in the cloud. It is designed to make web-scale computing easier for developers.
This trend is important for several reasons. For future providers of such web services, it creates new business models for companies who have invested significant budget in IT infrastructure. What was viewed as a necessary evil is turned into a new source of revenue.
The benefit for potential buyers/users of such web services, is that it frees them from having to think about and invest in IT and computing infrastructure. The barrier to start up an ecommerce business becomes lower, by making much more flexible and controllable the associated IT costs.
Friday, April 06, 2007
Although the amount of images considered is still limited (tens of thousands), the approach seems promising.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Thursday, March 29, 2007
Wednesday, March 07, 2007
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
Since I left the University of Amsterdam, I have had no access to my former homepage, so I have not been able to make any changes. At the bottom of the page you can read: “This page was last updated on 12/08/1998.” Almost 10 years ago! At the beginning, I was annoyed that I could not update the page. However, now I am actually quite happy that the page hasn’t changed since then, because it may qualify for the oldest Semantic Web page still accessible on the web (even though I think that Jim Hendler’s semantically annotated homepage appeared even earlier).
To check the “semantic webness” of the page, view the source code of the following pages:
The home page:
http://hcs.science.uva.nl/usr/richard/home.html. You will see tags in the html code “onto” that represent the semantics of terms appearing on the web page.
<a onto="page[lastName=body]">Benjamins </a>
<A HREF="http://hcs.science.uva.nl/" onto="page[affiliation=body]"target="_top">
Dept. of Social Science Informatics (SWI)</A>
<A HREF="mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org" onto="page[email=href]">
Or the publication page:
A semantic annotation for a book publication:
<a name="Plaza:97a" onto="name:Book"> </a>
<a name="Plaza:97a" onto="name[editor=body]"> Enric Plaza</a>,
<a name="Plaza:97a" onto="name[editor=href]"
Richard Benjamins </a> (Editors),
<a name="Plaza:97a" onto="name[title=body]"> LNAI 1319:
Knowledge Acquisition, Modeling and Management.
Proceedings of the 10th EKAW. </a>
<a name="Plaza:97a" onto="name[publisher=body]"> Springer-Verlag</a>,
<a name="Plaza:97a" onto="name[year=body]">1997</a>. <P>
Or on the projects page:
Cordis entry of Using a Library with Reusable Problem-Solving
Methods to Configure Flexible and Robust Problem Solvers</A>
All those terms are (or were) specified in an ontology that was located somewhere else on a server, in this case in Karlsruhe at the AIFB institute.
This was at the time that XML began to become popular, and way before RDF and OWL came into existence. The project was called (KA)2: Knowledge Acquisition for the Knowledge Acquisition Community. How it works (or worked) can be read in:
V. R. Benjamins, D. Fensel, S. Decker and A. Gomez Perez: (KA)2: Building Ontologies for the Internet: a Mid Term Report. In the International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 51:687-712, 1999, of which an extra official version can be found at here.
This was -to my knowledge- the first European Semantic Web project, whose idea was born at IJCAI 1997 in Nagoya, Japan during a train trip from Nagoya to Kyoto which I made with Dieter Fensel.
A lighter version of the paper can be accessed at the former so-called Banff Workshops, in 1998: V. Richard Benjamins and Dieter Fensel, Community is Knowledge! in (KA)2. I guess that should be one of the first papers on Web2.0, in 1998 :-)
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
One of my principal activities these days is to bring Semantic Technology to markets and society in order to improve our (for the moment, professional) lives. This involves, among others, understanding of technology and market mechanisms, business insight and business development, and knowledge of processes related to innovation. Many times I find myself talking to people trying to convince them about the great things, the major leap forward, that this new technology can bring us. I am convinced myself; for sure. I often use the term: “to evangelize”, in analogy to the evangelists of the Bible.
Recently I found out that this is actually a know position in organizations, and I found a study that analyzes several important technology evangelists of Silicon Valley (I think Apple appointed the first one). The study can be found here, and I found the reference at the blog “How to Change the World” of Guy Kawasaki, quite an interesting and entertaining blog (e.g. check out the video on “The Art of the Start”).
The abstract of the study is as follows (taken from http://www.growthresourcesinc.com/TechEvan.pdf):
"The purpose of this study was to gain a clearer understanding of the relatively new phenomenon known as the "technology evangelist." By our exploration, we aim to help readers improve their management functions, and to understand how best to integrate “evangelists” within their organizations.
In order to do so, we analyzed the roles of those who hold this position and leadership styles. Our research included surveying and interviewing 29 technical evangelists worldwide from a variety of cultures and organizations.
Some general tendencies regarding the role did, indeed, emerge. However, we also discovered variable character, or personality, patterns among the participants. Therefore, we proceeded to examine the gap, between the role of the technology evangelist and the subject’s personal character.
We contrasted individual competencies with these character patterns, and created a grid to analyze their qualities of leadership. This paper includes our recommendations for recruiting, integrating, developing and managing the technology evangelists."
Saturday, January 20, 2007
1st European Semantic Technology Conference (ESTC2007) initiates a new conference series in Semantic technologies in Europe
The European Semantic Technologies Conference aims to be the European platform for bringing together those who use Semantic Technologies in their business, those who implement Semantic Solutions and those who build semantically-enabled products. So far, existing events around Semantic Technologies have been mostly academically oriented. With the technology becoming more mature and deployed, the need for a more industrial and commercially oriented event is evident.
The following texts come from a press release and the Call for Presentations of ESTC 2007. Full press release can be found here.
ESTC2007 is a new European meeting place for users, practitioners, developers and researchers to discuss the applicability and commercialization of semantic technologies for enterprises and public organizations. ESTC also enables delegates to understand Semantic Technologies and their potential and how to exploit these technologies in their organizations.
The conference will be held in Hofburg Redouten Säle, Vienna, Austria, May 31 – June 1, 2007 and will feature case study and practical experience presentations, workshops and tutorials, invited talks and an industrial exhibition.
Conference chairman Dr John Davies, Head of BT’s Next Generation Web unit, said “I am very pleased to be able to announce the initiation of this conference series. Given the increasing maturity of semantic technology, the time is right to complement more technical and academic conferences in this area with an annual European conference focusing on deployment and the commercial benefits semantic technology can deliver.”
The first ESTC is looking for contributions of:
- Businesses and public organizations describing their practical experience (case studies) in using Semantic Technologies (the problem, the solution, initial expectations, the project, results, cost/benefit)
- Vendor reports on semantically-enabled products and solutions
- Analyst reports on the current market situation for Semantic Technologies
The full CFP can be found here.
The Program Chair is advised by a Program Advisory Board, which consists of a mixture of industrial people, research analysts, venture capitalists, and renowned academics with an interest in applied research.
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
I was surprised by the simplicity and clearness of this presentation concerning its relation to Web2.0. Basically, he views Web2.0 as a "poor man´s Semantic Web". Bringing the Web to its full potential requires the Semantic Web. Check it yourself here. The presentation is posted on this blog.
Wednesday, January 10, 2007
Again, DIP has been a very ambitious, yet successful project which potential for major impact in society and businesses. In a few months, I hope to be able to be a bit more precise about some of those business opportunities.
If the movie doesn´t show, please click here to view it on the KMI website.
Some quotes from the Final Review Report:
"... the work that has been carried out by the DIP consortium and the way in which the consortium has carried out that work. The DIP partners have ensured that the project has become a flagship project."
"Overall, DIP has been a paragon of collaborative research. "
"The reviewers would be pleased if DIP was drawn on by the CEC as an exemplar project, in order to demonstrate the increased value of carrying out international collaborative research."
"Technically the project has produced excellent results "
Monday, January 01, 2007
The publications in question are:
- Entrepreneurs See a Web Guided by Common Sense, John Markoff, New York Times: November 12, 2006 (free registration required to access NYT)
- Hype Cycle for Web Technologies, 2006, publication date: 7 July 2006 (not freely available)
- Several publications related to the success of Web2.0 in 2006 (blogs, youtube, wikipedia, flickr, etc.).
In the 2006 edition of Gartner’s Hype Curve, the Public Semantic Web is at the through of disillusionment and is estimated to take between 5 and 10 years to reach the plateau of productivity. Web2.0 and the Corporate Semantic Web, on the other hand, are at the Peak of Inflated Expectations, the former reaching its plateau in an estimated 2-5 years, and the latter 5-10 years.
One reason for these phenomena is that Semantic Technologies build up an infrastructure on top of which the web can grow to its full potential, whereas Web2.0 is related to communities of final users (e.g. http://www.youtube.com/, http://www.wikipedia.org/). One consequence of this is that Web2.0 is much more visible than Semantic Technologies, and thus it is much easier to attract attention of a large audience. Semantic Technologies is supposed to create an (invisible) infrastructure, whereas Web2.0 creates highly visible applications for final users using the existing web, but with a significantly improved user interface (thanks to AJAX). This would also explain why there is disappointment with the Public Semantic Web (the large public hasn’t seen anything yet); whereas the Corporate Semantic Web is still peaking. Businesses see a huge benefit of, for example, better access to important corporate information in unstructured documents (Mike Lynch, CEO and Founder of Autonomy, estimates that 80% of corporate information is hidden in unstructured documents). Businesses are not interested in final user applications, but in promising technology that can help them to better manage their information.
For me, one of the most striking achievements of Web2.0 is its capacity to involve large active user communities. Indeed, this has been a (happy) surprise. At the beginning of the Semantic Web effort, many of us were convinced that it would never be possible to annotate web content with (semantic) tags through human effort. Therefore, much research effort was dedicated to automatically generating annotations using advanced Natural Language Processing techniques. Web2.0 initiatives have shown this assumption to be false; it is possible to tag large amounts of multimedia and text documents by communities of people.
Recently the term Web3.0 is getting popular, which refers –freely interpreted- to the combination of Web2.0 and the Semantic Web.
My take on this is that we will hear much from Semantic Technologies in the context of corporations. The Public Semantic Web will regain strength in combination with Web2.0 aspects, strengthening the notion of Web3.0.