timothy falconer's semantic weblog
Big Fractal Tangle

teetering on the edge of hubris

In the second paragraph of Weaving the Web, Tim Berners-Lee writes of the Web as something that “leaves the entirety of our previous ways of working as just one tool among many.” I’m sure most people keep right on reading without a second thought about that sentence, as the line resembles much of the overwrought journalistic hyperbole aimed at the Web. When I read it today though, the line stopped me cold. He means exactly what he wrote, and he can back it up. Outstanding.

With the WWW2004 show coming next week, I’ve been trying to gather my thoughts after having “my head under the kitchen sink” for too long. Five months ago, I wrote daily in this blog about the stumbling blocks of the semantic web. I wrote with an outsider’s perspective, as someone who believes in the vision, but remains skeptical of recent talk and progress.

Since then, I believe we’ve answered many of my concerns in code. Now it’s time to describe our efforts, so I’ve been racking my brain, trying to write something that describes what we’ve done. Unfortunately, I keep coming up with text like “Tidepool could very well be the category-defining application that brings the Semantic Web to the masses, much as Mosaic and Netscape did for the original Web.”

If I had a lick of sense, I’d backspace that line into oblivion. It reads like the worst kind of self-congratulatory drivel. What hubris! But here’s the thing: I mean exactly what I wrote. It isn’t hubris when you’re right, right?

Now of course I need to back it up. Stay tuned.

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