Connecting Data, People and Ideas since 2016.
02 June 2021

A 2020 Semantic Web vision for the real world



A talk by Panos AlexopoulosDavid AmerlandGeorge AnadiotisTeodora Petkova and Professor Amit Sheth


(Textkernel,, Linked Data Orchestration, & University of South Carolina)



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.


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