Exploring “Wolfram|Alpha: What is it Good For?”, this ReadWriteWeb REDUX story concludes with this speculation:
It was interesting to hear about some of the potential uses of Wolfram|Alpha. We at ReadWriteWeb think this product has a promising future. If Web 2.0 was about creating data (user generated content, to use the most familiar term for this), then the next generation of the Web is all about using that data. Wolfram|Alpha is premised on using and computing data . . . .
Use Case: Sports Watching – Imagine sitting in your sofa in the lounge, remote control in one hand and your favorite beverage in the other. You’re watching the Friday night game on TV, it’s a close game and you’re curious about which team has the better chance of winning. Why, check Wolfram|Alpha of course! In real time, Wolfram|Alpha could compute statistics about not just the history of the two teams – but the history of the location of the game, the weather, the season so far, etc. . . .
This is exciting stuff. We humans are creating content management systems that pluck a bunch of data out of the internet and manipulate that data to be useful for us. In the sports watching example, the data is made useful to a guy on a sofa watching a game in progress. If we call this use and computing of data Web 3.0, what then is Web 4.0?
Web 4.0 on has been humming away in the open internet for years, but almost completely ignored in education applications. When this powerful phenomenon manages to emerge for education into the way we interface online content, for education resources Web 4.0 will dominate Web 2.0 (creating data) and Web 3.0 (using/computing data). What I am calling Web 4.0 in this post is the fact that network laws rule. And rule they do when we let them: The essence of Google is to let network laws emerge its SERPS (search engine results pages). Amazon flings its books, all other products, reviews, rankings into a milieu governed by network laws.
Network laws function as the natural content management system of the open internet that I call the Golden Swamp. There is certainly nothing wrong with managing the content that emerges from the online networking. E-commerce caught on to that long ago, responding by developing the SEO (search engine optimization) industry to harness networking.
Web 4.0 works by nodes signaling each other and linking into patterns. If we want to manage OER (open education resources) at the level where network laws can select and vet it globally, we need to build signaling into the nodes of data that we put online.