I’m not a “techie,” and I certainly don’t understand a lot about technology. That said, I’m seeing more and more stuff written about the “semantic web” and “Web 3.0.” I only have a vague sense of what people are talking about, but it does sound interesting.
My basic sense is that it’s about computers having a greater understanding of our natural language and, because of that, being able to help us be more effective in our work with them.
I’ve just put a search engine called Hakia in the Search Engines category of my English Themes for Beginners and Early Intermediate. Hakia, I believe, is an early example of this Web 3.0. It’s supposed to be able to “understand” an actual question you write in it instead of just looking for key words, as search engines now do. They are, however, very clear in stating that it’s not ready for prime time yet.
In my admittedly unscientific testing, I didn’t really notice much of a difference yet between Hakia’s results and those of other search engines. But I’ll be looking forward to trying it out further as they make refinements.
If they’re successful, I can easily see Web 3.0 as being useful to English Language Learners in a number of ways, including being a tool to learn how to effectively phrase questions. For right now, though, it did give me the idea of having my English Language Learner students test out the search engines I have on my site and determine which ones they liked the best and why.