Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Where Will the Internet Take Us Next?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Where Will the Internet Take Us Next?

Article excerpt

Don't think for a minute the dot-com collapse will stifle Internet advancements.

In spite of the slow tech market, we continue to see innovations emerging in optics, microprocessors, software and wireless communications. These innovations will shape telecommunications and in turn will shape our lives.

One of the latest projected innovations is something Scientific American calls the "Semantic Web."

Web pages are designed for people to read but are not designed to permit computers to read or manipulate the information. Search engines produce a list of Web pages that contain one or more of the key words selected. For example take the key word "cook." A keyword search on "cook" could yield a list of Web pages of businesses, institutions, individuals, and topics containing the word "cook." Once the list is generated, the user must investigate each site to determine which, if any, provide the content desired.

Some of the Web pages will be rich in current and relevant information while others might be obsolete sites that offer little or no value. There is no existing software language that allows search agents to go beyond key words, but that will not be the case for long.

The Semantic Web is the next Web evolution. The Semantic Web is not a separate Web but an extension of the current one in which information is given well-defined meaning instead of key word associations, better enabling computers and people to work in coordination. In other words, search engines will move beyond searching for key words to searching for concepts and definitions. Tomorrow, the Semantic Web will provide a different operating environment.

The essential property of the Web is universality. Anyone can connect with anyone else over the Web. Available information can vary from that produced for humans, ranging from streaming video to poetry, compared to the type produced for machines including computer applications, databases and sensor output.

The Semantic Web will allow the user to input an information request that will enable and empower search agents to contact other computers and recruit other search agents in the assignment to fulfill the user's information request.

Another example, if you input "allergist, zip code 73102, appointment, and insured patient" your personal digital assistant would order your search agent to make an appointment with an allergist who is in your insurance plan within in your area code.

Your search agent would find a directory of allergists from your insurance provider, ask the insurance company's computer search agent to narrow it by geography, then ask one or more allergists' computer search agents to find the first available appointment times. The report would give you a list of allergists, in your plan, who could see you and when.

By making your selection, the multiple search agents involved in your search will set the appointment, transfer your relevant medical history to the physician, and handle all of the paperwork for all involved. …

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