Document Type


Publication Date



Traditionally there has been a strong separation between computing and human activities in the real world. The approach has largely been that of mapping the complexity and richness of the real world to constrained computer models and languages for more efficient computation, and then transferring the results for use in the real world. I think the time is ripe to reverse the situation, for computing and communication to transparently enrich and enhance human experience. Today, devices enable something more than a 'human instructs machine' paradigm. We are seeing computing and communication engage transparently in human activities by enriching them in ways not possible before. Assimilating, linking, computing over and disseminating multimodal information (maps, images, events, reviews, videos etc.) occur with far less human interaction. Systems are more 'aware' they not only deal with simple objects such as documents or entities, but also model, compute over, and communicate complex facets, such as the relationships between objects and the temporal ('when'), thematic ('what') and spatial ('where') aspects of objects. This era of 'computing for human experience' involves a seamless interaction between the physical world and the virtual or cyber world with advanced integrated capabilities in perception and awareness of the physical world (e.g., in extending sensory engagement with environments and narrowing the gaps between the real world and computing), using 'humans as sensors' of intensions and emotions, understanding (semantics) and using knowledge and collective wisdom, while integrating online and offline interactions. Some of these ideas have been posited as the Internet of Things, Intelligence@Interfaces, Humanist Computing, Relationship Web, PeopleWeb, EventWeb, and Experiential Computing. Applications and infrastructures embodying the principles of computing for richer human experiences are already emerging: MyLifeBits, linked data, Open Social, and reusable knowledge bases (Semantic Web or Web 3.0) are some examples. Building on these and related concepts and visions, we will outline recent progress and highlight where semantics and semantic Web technologies play an important role in leading to the next phase 'computing to enrich human experience' as well as the types of enrichments one can expect.


Keynote talk given at the 3rd Annual Asian Semantic Web Conference, Bangkok, Thailand, February 2-5, 2009.

Video of the talk can be found at