Computing for Human Experience: Semantics Empowered Cyber-Physical, Social and Ubiquitous Computing Beyond the Web

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Traditionally, we had to artificially simplify the complexity and richness of the real world to constrained computer models and languages for more efficient computation. Today, devices, sensors, human-in-the-loop participation and social interactions enable something more than a 'human instructs machine' paradigm. Web as a system for information sharing is being replaced by pervasive computing with mobile, social, sensor and devices dominated interactions. Correspondingly, computing is moving from targeted tasks focused on improving efficiency and productivity to a vastly richer context that support events and situational awareness, and enrich human experiences encompassing recognition of rich sets of relationships, events and situational awareness with spatio-temporal-thematic elements, and socio-cultural-behavioral facets. Such progress positions us for what I call an emerging era of 'computing for human experience' (CHE). Four of the key enablers of CHE are: (a) bridging the physical/digital (cyber) divide, (b) elevating levels of abstractions and utilizing vast background knowledge to enable integration of machine and human perception, (c) convert raw data and observations, ranging from sensors to social media, into understanding of events and situations that are meaningful to humans, and (d) doing all of the above at massive scale covering the Web and pervasive computing supported humanity. Semantic Web (conceptual models/ontologies and background knowledge, annotations, and reasoning) techniques and technologies play a central role in important tasks such as building context, integrating online and offline interactions, and help enhance human experience in their natural environment.


Keynote at OnTheMove Federated Conferences and Workshops, Crete, Greece, October 17-21, 2011.