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Web of Data, Web of People, Web of Action

Speaker:Alan Dix


University:U. Lancaster and Talis

Room :A56


Abstract:Computers only exist because they do things for people. From human readable web pages, to formal semantics of linked data and the emergent social semantics of tags and folksonomies, we routinely look to the web as both a source of information and a place to put data. However, the web is also a locus of action: users want to get things done, whether booking a hotel room, or editing an online spreadsheet. The boundaries between web and desktop interaction are blurring. On the one hand, the traditional PC desktop is now inhabited by widgets such as the Mac Dashboard, web fast-download apps such as Java Web Start or Adobe Air, and expanded browser functionality such as Chrome. On the other hand, computation and applications that once were part of the desktop are now hosted on the web (for example word-processing with Google Docs), and various technologies enable web applications to function even when users have no connectivity to the internet. Furthermore, in emerging markets such as India and China, this convergence will be total, as the sole computing experience for many will be through mobile devices and predominantly the web. This talk will explore the premise that this emerging web will be a place of action, not just information, and that the purpose of global data is ultimately to serve human needs.

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