Clay Shirky is one of those few persons with a keen insight on the workings of the web. On top of that he has an extreme nack of expounding on that insight. Well Clay is at it again and takes a good hard swing at the Semantic Web. A lot of people aren’t going to like what he says, however it’s too close to the truth to ignore.
In a case of sycnhronicity (or more aptly asychchronicity) he talks about why any global ontology is doomed to failure. I brought up this same subject for a much smaller context (i.e. enterprises) in “What if Schemas didn’t exist“. This new piece gives me insight on how best to better stucture my arguments in the future.
He also tops his arguments with “worse is better”, something I so happen to write about just a couple days ago in “Counter Intuitive Rules for Software Success” where is insightly observes that the next big thing is happening right under your nose! (Hmmm, that’s two strikes, does this guy read my stuff?)
However, his arguments “syllogisms are not very useful” and “we describe the world in generalities” are extremely bitter pills to accept. (Darn! I haven’t thought about these two, he hits a homer!) However, he is correct, we should be digging deeper into probability networks rather than logic inferencing engines. Semantic technology still has its place in the world (maybe the enterprise though), however I agree with him in that it isn’t going to scale for the web.
So if you think Clay Shirky is saying that we do nothing, then you are wrong. He’s just asks you to think out of the box, because the world around you isn’t what you’ve been told. Clay Shirky gives you a pretty precise description of the lay of the land, its high time we accept reality.