There has been a lot of discussion of what the web is all about and where it is going. One of the big camps is the "semantic web" folks. Nova Spivack has a great discussion of this available as a video (warning: audio is a little saturated).
I like his discussion of swings of focus as technology has evolved. The "PC Era" was focused on the user interface on the computer (as compared to the era before). Web 1.0 looked at the infrastructure in the web. Web 2.0 has come back to the interface: the interface to the web. Spivack suggests that Web 3.0 is going to focus on the infrastructure again, but with a look to understanding connections. And then Web 4.0 is going to swing back to the interface with intelligent personal agents.
Spivack also provides a handy discussion of the five (as he counts them) means for adding semantic information. After giving pluses and minuses of the approaches, he plots them on a set of axes of "Making data smarter" (mds) vs. "Making software smarter" (mss).
- Tagging (low mss, low mds)
- Statistics (mid mss, low mds)
- Semantics (mid mss, mid mds)
- Linguistic (high mss, mid mds)
- Artificial Intelligence (high mss, high mds)
[Found via Ming the Mechanic.]