Sir Tim Berners-Lee: The Semantic Web Has Arrived and the Obama Administration is “Onboard”

By on 10/09/2009 4:26 PM @beet_tv

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has been on a quest for several years for the adoption of something he has coined the semantic Web — a data-rich, interconnected Web. 

He told me yesterday in Washington that this year his vision is taking form in ambitious programs with the Obama Administration, the data.gov initiative, and the government of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, for whom he consults.

See transcript below.

In the U.S., the move to put great amounts of raw data on the Web has been accelerated by the U.S. stimulus package, he told me. 

Anil Dash wrote recently on the Huffington Post that the U.S. government is the "most interesting start-up" of the year.

Sir Tim was in Washington at a symposium about science and technology at the Embassy of Finland organized by Finland's Technology Academy Foundation.  The Helsinki-based foundation presents an achievement award every two years.  Sir Tim was the first recipient of the award in 2004.    

He was interviewed on stage by Steve Lohr, technology correspondent for The New York Times.  A video stream of the two-hour event can be seen here.  The PBS transcript is here.

Update: Here's Steve Lohr's story this weekend about government getting data on the Web.

Sir Tim and his New Flip: He Shoots Me, I Shoot Him!

Couldn't help but notice Sir Tim with a Flip video camera as he was capturing the event.  I filmed him with my Canon digital camera as he filmed me.  You can find the brief scene at the end of this interview.

Andy Plesser, Executive Producer

Update: Extended interview with Sir Tim on PBS Nightly Business Report published this evening.

Video Transcript

Sir Tim Berners-Lee:  Well the semantic web is about putting data on the web. Data on the web is maybe boring unless you're the sort of person who likes to get stuff into a spreadsheet and if you like working with spreadsheets, then typically you want data in a form that you can load into a spreadsheet. It's no good if someone gives you a printed document or even a webpage. You print the webpage off but you don't have to key it in all by hand. So we've got a move to put data on the web so people can actually process it and analyze it and there's a really big push right now in a lot of countries, the UK and the US very particularly, to put government data on the web.

So 2009 has been the year to push to get government data onto the web. It's been very exciting. The Bower Administration is totally on board, the data.gov, the British Prime Minister specially has given the go-ahead, put a team together. Lots of really exciting data sets accumulating day by day in those countries.

A lot of other countries also have other initiatives–Canada, New Zealand, Australia–and also a lot of excitement and interest in getting developing country governments to be open, transparent, by putting data about what's happening in those countries onto the web because that will make each country which is more transparent becomes more trustworthy, is more credible, is easier to do business with, easier to invest in.

Disclaimer:  Finland's Technology Academy Foundation is a public relations client of Plesser Holland.

Recent Videos
image
Millennials Are Cool With Brands Changing All The Time: Initiative/IPG Study

Brands need to mimic the characteristics of millennial-age consumers to curry their favor, according to research, The Reset Generation, conducted by media agency IPG’s Initiative group. “Their expectations of brands are what they think people expect of them,” says Initiative’s US ...

image
If “Content Is King,” then “Distribution is Queen” as Paid Media is Essential,...

Mindshare, the media agency within WPP, has created some 250 branded campaigns for video and television over the past 9 years, says David Lang, Chief Content Officer and President of the agency’s entertainment division,  in this interview with Beet.TV  On the subject of viral video hits and paid vs. ...

image
Hearst is Building a “Netflix Model” Around Magazine Video Content

Hearst has just launched “CosmoBody,” a daily fitness show which is advertiser-free and is  being offered on a subscription basis.  This is the first of what will be a number of Hearst titles and Hearst partners who will be part of a new “Netflix model,” explains Chris Grosso, SVP ...

image
Yahoo Gets Post-Web Analytics With Flurry: Jun’s Reichgut explains

Yahoo has bought itself a role in the advertising ecosystem that comes after the desktop web by acquiring mobile analytics firm Flurry last week. That’s the assessment of one cross-platform video ad tech vendor CEO. “A media company that was based on the web is now struggling getting in to the ...

image
Razorfish, Google & Videobloggers Drive 6+ Million Video Views for Unilever Haircare Campaign in...

A YouTube program in the U.K., designed by global agency Razorfish for several Unilever haircare brands, has driven more that six million views since its launch  in April, says Pete Stein, Global CEO of the agency in this interview with Beet.TV The program takes the pulse of Google queries on hair and ...

image
The Viral Video Is Not a Business Model

While the viral video hit can be golden for brands, it can’t be done consistently and it’s “not a sustainable business model” says Mitchell Reichgut, CEO and founder of the Jun Group, a digital video ad services firm that secures views for branded content on hundreds of publisher ...

image
TubeMogul Crushes Wall Street with 64% Rise on First Day of Trading

Whether the dramatic increase of the company’s stock price on its initial day of trading, which closed at 11.50, up $4.50 or 64%, can be sustained or not, time will tell.  For TubeMogul co-founder and CEO Brett Wilson, he is focused on “building a big, transformative company,” he told ...

image
Native Video Advertising on Mobile Devices Powers Growth for Jun Group

The dramatic rise of mobile, opt-in video advertising has helped fuel revenue growth for the New York-based adtech firm Jun Group by 120% in 2013 and the company is on pace for that kind of growth this year as well, says CEO Mitchell Reichgut  in this interview with Beet.TV. In the last few years, Jun ...

image
Simulmedia’s Morgan: TV Finally Embracing Ad Tech

Tacoda and Simulmedia founder Dave Morgan is just back from a fun week chewing over the TV ad tech revolution at Cannes Lions with Beet.TV He is interviewed on stage by digital media investment banker Terence Kwaja. In this AdAge article, Morgan concludes channel fragmentation, a desire for accountability ...

image
Comcast Serves up 13 Million Video Streams of World Cup: “TV Everywhere is Ready for its Close-up”

Comcast has provided  13 million video streams of World Cup matches to subscribers watching via digital devices.   That’s up  55% over the number of streams for the Soichi games, the cable giant says. The enormity of the digital consumption represents something of a watershed moment for “TV ...

image
Sling Rolls Out New Box With Added Mobile Features

Echostar-owned Sling Media introduced a new box to deliver pay TV channels to other devices. The “Slingbox M1″ and “SlingTVTM” are designed to be mobile friendly and are slated to retail for $149.99.  Here is the company press release. In the last year, Sling Media has been focusing ...

image
Digital Targeting Enables Consumer Choice in Storytelling, MediaCom’s Savic

CANNES, France — In a digital world, where transparency is the name of the game, brands can’t hide anymore. What works and doesn’t work is apparent every day, says Sasha Savic, CEO of MediaCom USA, during an interview with Beet.TV at Cannes. “We used to love our ideas. Now, it ...

loader