Active Web

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According to Joe Geldart, the Web has been evolving from a Document Web, to a Data Web and will evolve to a web based on processes.


Joe Geldart:

"The current models of the Web are very passive and static things. By contrast, humans are active and dynamic. All the information which is on the Web is a product of human action in some form. Whether it be written by hand, or the result of a human-conceived piece of software which automates a task, there is nothing available in the medium which hasn't been touched human thought in some fashion. Now, human conception isn’t a static thing; we aren’t born with everything we are ever going to know. We learn, we adapt, we make mistakes in our beliefs which we then correct. All this happens instinctively, and without effort.

It should be clear from this that the assimilation of information, its understanding and subsequent dissemination, can be seen as a form of process. We learn by acting. We communicate by acting. Our use of the Web is just a particular form of action, allowing us to find parcelled snippets of another’s thoughts. As the disagreement problem shows, there is no inherent semantics to the information on the Web, just the meanings we acquire through our readings.

This then is what I propose as the next phase of the Web; accepting the fundamental rôle that process plays. This entails a number of important changes in perspective. Rather than treating information on the Web as having meaning in and of itself, it only gains its meaning through its users (be they machine or human). Equally, the openness of the Web entails that we accept disagreement and provide mechanisms to deal with it which don't require us to discard so much information. Rather than a fundamental distinction between producers (the servers) and consumers (the clients), we should treat production as merely as one outcome of the consumption process. I propose then a Web of equal-agents-before-God, with no a priori distinctions between them, communicating on the same footing. This proposal I term the Active Web." (