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Meet the Connectors | June 29th 2020 | CDL Online Meetup #2

A 2020 Semantic Web vision for the real world | Panel Discussion

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About this talk

You may not know it, but you use the Semantic Web every day, and you love it. 

Every time you search for something on the Web, the Semantic Web makes sure the search engine knows what you're looking for, and returns the best results in a structured way.

Every time you use a medication, chances are the Semantic Web has powered the research behind it.

The Semantic Web, soon to celebrate its 20th anniversary, may not enjoy the kind of universal acclaim the WWW got on its 30th birthday. It does, however, underpin Knowledge Graphs, and in that sense, it is in its heyday.

A group of people beyond suspicion confess their intimate relationship with the Semantic Web in this panel. We have known, loved, and used the Semantic Web for a long time, and we think you should, too.

Moderator: David Amerland. Panelists: Panos Alexopoulos, George Anadiotis, Teodora Petkova, Prof. Amit Sheth.


It's been almost 20 years since the Semantic Web vision was laid out. Initial excitement soon gave way to disillusion, as the grand vision met with the hard realities of the real world. 

In many ways, the Semantic Web was ahead of its time, and it's slowly but steadily coming to fruition, as per its die-hard defenders.

The emphasis on reasoning at web scale in the face of conflicting knowledge sources could never have worked, argue the critics. 

Add to this:The reasonable doubt as to whether academics are well-equipped to produce high-quality, developer- and user-friendly software.

The fact that academia has a high churn rate, and not a great track record in sustainable business models.

As the CEO of a very successful graph database vendor put it: "We are spiritual brothers and sisters. But we obsess over our APIs; the Semantic Web people obsess over wording". 

And yet, it seems like the Semantic Web is taking over the world, under different monikers - Knowledge Graphs, anyone? Was a rebranding, and some pragmatism, all the Semantic Web ever needed?

What have those 20 years, and going from the limelight to obscurity and back again, taught us? 

What are some ways people are using Semantic Web principles and technologies in their every day work today? 

What are the real-world problems those principles and technologies can help address? What will it take to make them accessible enough for this to happen? 

What is the role of academia in this?

This is what our panel of distinguished guests will discuss. Some of them have a Semantic Web and academic background, while others do not. But all of them are active, mindful, users of Semantic Web technologies.

Panos Alexopoulos

Panos Alexopoulos is leading a team at Textkernel developing a large cross-lingual Knowledge Graph for HR and Recruitment. He is also the author of the book "Semantic Modeling for Data - Avoiding Pitfalls and Dilemmas", published by O'Reilly.

David Amerland

David Amerland talks about data mining, search, the social web and how they all converge in the decision making space. The digital world is changing fast. Many of these changes apply pressure to the offline one. David helps make sense of the change by providing an independent, detailed view of the picture that is emerging.

George Anadiotis

George Anadiotis has got Tech, Data and Media, and he's not afraid to use them. Coming from an IT background, he's had the chance to learn to play many instruments on the way to becoming a one man band and an orchestrator.

Teodora Petkova

Teodora Petkova is a content writer fascinated by the metamorphoses of text on the Web. Very much in love with the Semantic Web, she explores how our networked lives transform (and are transformed by) the expanding possibilities of the written webby word.

Professor Amit Sheth

An Educator, Researcher and Entrepreneur, Prof. Sheth is working towards a vision of Computing for Human Experience incorporating AI (neuro-symbolic and knowledge-infused learning, semantic-cognitive-perceptual computing). His earlier work encompassed federated databases, semantic interoperability and workflow management, big/smart data. His extensive collaborations with clinicians and biomedical researchers encompass biomedical knowledge discovery, and novel uses of social media and sensor data for patient-centered care and patient empowerment. Sheth’s most prized achievement is the exceptional success of his past advisees; a majority of his past PhD advisees have 1000+ citations each [https://j.mp/Kimpact].

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