Web 3.0

Web 3.0,” by Stephen DeAngelis,” Enterprise Resilience Management Blog, 14 November 2006, http://enterpriseresilienceblog.typepad.com/enterprise_resilience_man/2006/11/web_30.html (from Thomas P.M. Barnett :: Weblog).

The Age of Resilience,” by Brian Mockenhapt, Esquire, December 2006, http://www.esquire.com/features/articles/2006/061105_mfe_December_06_Global_Resilience_1.html (hat-tip to Bradd Hayes).

This fall, Enterra teamed up with Oak Ridge National Laboratory, a Department of Energy site outside Knoxville, Tennessee, to form the Institute for Advanced Technologies in Global Resilience. America, the institute reasons, will protect itself best not by throwing up firewalls and digging moats but by becoming more connected, hyperconnected. The tighter and more far-reaching the network, the stronger its ability to absorb a vertical hit—like September 11, Hurrricane Katrina, or an outbreak of avian flu—and minimize the ripples spreading across the country. The more resilient we become, the faster we respond and the faster we recover.

Squirreled away in an office building a half hour outside Philadelphia, Enterra’s small staff of tech whizzes and programmers is breathing life into Resilience Net. They huddle around computers writing language that translates regulations, laws, and accepted business practices into automated rule sets—if A and B, then C. These rules, which might tell a business how to order new parts or com¬ply with the Patriot Act, are amassed in virtual libraries as algorithms. The system can think and react, much the way your antivirus software detects a threat, sends in a report, and brings back a patch to fix the problem while it inoculates other systems. The rules decide what information needs to be analyzed and shared, then how to disseminate it to the right people. If a law changes, new rules are added to the library and the system updates and learns. Now the organization can act with minimal human involvement, and as new sensors, databases, or analysis techniques are developed, the overall network grows in strength. With different groups using the same rules library, translating information into code everyone can understand, communication is streamlined. This is how you connect the dots.

I’ve written about Enterra’s software services before. Enterra deserves credit for helping to turn resilience into a science. It also ties nicely into the Semantic Web, which Enterra CEO DeAngelis calls “Web 3.0”

In other words, Web 3.0, sometimes called the semantic Web, intends on taking advantage of grid computing (or what IBM is trying to market as “utility computing”) to make surfing a faster and more valuable experience. It is called the semantic Web because it will be able to understand more fully what it is that a surfer is looking for

Markoff is quick to point out that Web 3.0 remains a dream and that there are significant technical difficulties to overcome. At Enterra Solutions, we are aware of both the promise and the challenges associated with the semantic Web. On the Web, however:

The databases that Spivack’s company uses store relationships rather than data. Markoff writes about a University of Washington project that uses a semantic database to rate hotels. The system can “understand” concepts like room temperature, bed comfort, cleanliness, etc. as well as ratings such as great, good, okay, etc.

The Semantic Web, or “Web 3.0” essentially amounts to normalizing substantial parts of the web to make it more machine-friendly. Unlike Web 2.0 which seems to focus on human-usability improvements, using technology as part of the background, Web 3.0 would bring technology to the forefront. People matter more.

Ultimately, I think Web 3.0 is a good, but misguided, idea. People are more important than machines, . The same underlying technologies that are building Web 2.0 — such as AJAX Javascript Web Services — will eventually realize most of the dream of Semantic Web enthusiasts. “Semantic Paths,” which would be required in a Semantic Web, can doubtless be built to handle certain specific, inflexible tasks. You can build a good business out of it, as DeAngelis is demonstrating. But (as I’m sure DeAngelis would agree) it is not the be-all end-al of the web, or even a major user-centered improvement such as Web.20 or a major technological event such as the open sourcing of the Java compiler.

Update: Shawn in Tokyo and Tom Barnett have more.

Remembering Civilization

I was over at Penny Arcade when I saw an add for Civilization Chronicles, a new release that combines several of the “Civilization” computer games (but not spin-offs such as 1999’s Alpha Centuri or 1993’s Colonization) into one package. (It is not worth considering that less time elapsed from Colonization to Alpha Centari than from Alpha Centauri to now)

Sid Meier’s Civilization Chronicles

As my computer game time is now limited to stolen minutes with a Diplomacy AI, this is something of a tease. But still one that brings back good memories.

This ad made me remember the Apolyton Civilization Site, the best Civ2 on the net. A quick read revealed an academic article dedicated to Civ2. Good show!

Bush v. Paleocons on Vietnam

Good: Bush’s State Department (hat-tip to the Democratic Underground) wisely removes a hurdle from even closer Viet-American ties. Washington and Hanoir are natural allies that should speed their inter-governmental, inter-military, and inter-market cooperation.

Bad: However, the Congress (hat-tip to The Corner) foolishly prevented Normal Trade Relations with Vietnam. To some Congressmen, know-knothing anti-foreignerism is more important that free trade, free markets, and free minds.

Tom has his own thoughts on Viet Nam Sai Gon.

5GW and the British Army Rumor Service

The ARmy Rumour SErvice apparently is a British outfit dedicated the fighting men of the current incarnation of the Hanover Imperium. They host information posts about organizations like the National Malayia and Borneo Veterans Association and their wiki has editorialized information about the Eurofighter Typhoon and other boondoggles.

Like Tom Barnett, they responded to tdaxp philosophizing with the need for a stiff drink

[5GW] is a developing theory, seems to shift like the sands and dances off into dreamland at times. All the same, some hold it to be the key to resolving all future conflicts. Others hold it to be complete BS doomed to failure being a highly developed form of putting toxins in Castro’s boot polish to make his trademark beard fall out

have a punt through this, then a few stiff drinks:

Dreaming with Generation War

“If traditional war centered on an enemy’s physical strength, and 4GW on his moral strength, the 5th Generation of War would focus on his intellectual strength. A 5th Generation War might be fought with one side not knowing who it is fighting. Or even, a brilliantly executed 5GW might involve one side being completely ignorant that there ever was a war. It’s like the old question of what was the perfect robbery: we will never know, because in a perfect robbery the bank would not know that it was robbed.”

In limited 5GWs, removing the enemy’s “capacity for independent action” is the goal. Specifically, the fighter tries to entangle the enemy into a web of obligations that effectively reharmonize the enemy, without the enemy knowing that he has “conditionally surrendered

Another post on the thread reminded me of the continuum of the generations of war:

Maybe 5GW is a way of vocalizing our realization that we can’t win 4GW because we haven’t learned how to alter societies’ opinions? How could we win in Iraq? Well, if we could make the Iraqis believe that a secular democracy is the most important thing in their lives and something worth dying for, that would do the trick. How can we achieve that? Well, friggin’ telepathy or microwaves into the brains, or some other fancy futuristic warfare mumbo jumbo might do it – although allocating aid money correctly, not torturing prisoners and stamping out corruption would be a start…

What say you, Curtis? Younghusband? Purpleslog?