Cognitive and Contextual Computing - Laying a Global Data Foundation

Richard Wallis

Abstract


A search of the current computing and technology zeitgeist
will not have to look far before stumbling upon references to Cognitive
Computing, Contextual Computing, Conversational Search, the Internet of Things,
and other such buzz-words and phrases. The marketeers are having a great time
coming up with futuristic visions supporting the view of computing becoming all
pervasive and ‘intelligent’. From IBM’s Watson beating human quiz show
contestants, to the arms race between the leading voice-controlled virtual
assistants – Siri, Cortana, Google Now, Amazon Alexa. All exciting and
interesting, but what relevance has this for DCMI, metadata standards, and the
resources we describe using them? In a word, “context”. No matter how
intelligent and human-like a computer is, it’s capabilities are only as good as
the information it has to work with. If that information is constrained by
domain, industry specialised vocabularies, or a lack of references to external
sources; it is unlikely the results will be generally useful. In the DCMI
community we have expertise in sharing information within our organisations and
on the web. Dublin Core being one of the first widely adopted generic
vocabularies. A path that Schema.org is following and in its breadth of adoption
is now exceeding. Schema.org has been a significant success. Used by over 12
million domains, on over a quarter of sampled pages. It is enabling a quiet
revolution of preparing and sharing data to be harvested into search engine
Knowledge Graphs. Knowledge Graphs that power Rich Snippets, Knowledge Panels,
Answer Boxes, and other search engine enhancements. Whilst delivering on one
revolution, it is helping to lay the foundations of another.Building a global
web of interconnected entities, for intelligent agents to navigate, these
Knowledge Graphs fed by the information we are starting to share generically,
are providing the context that will enable Cognitive, Contextual and associated
technologies scale globally. Ushering in yet another new technology
era.

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