How Solid aims to impact the Web (and AI with it)

Ruben Verborgh, Ghent Universityimec

Artificial Intelligence Platform (PFIA), 2 July 2019

How Solid aims to impact the Web (and AI with it)

Ruben Verborgh

Ghent University – imec

To computers,
the hard is easy
and the easy is hard.

paraphrased from Moravec’s Paradox

[Cover of Scientific American, May 2001]
©2001 Scientific American

Mom needs to see a specialist
and then has to have a series
of physical therapy sessions.
Biweekly or something.
I’m going to have my agent
set up the appointments.

The Semantic Web, 2001

The Semantic Web has suffered
from a chicken-and-egg problem.

No apps, because no data.
No data, because no apps.

AI needs data.
The more the better.

Data is in hands of the happy few.
Getting more data is hard.

The future does not consist of
a small number of huge data sets.

Instead, I believe we will see
a huge number of small data sets.

Not even so long ago, we were promised
Big Data would solve all of our problems.

Big Data comes with big problems.
Many of them are not technological.

The data you can collect
isn’t always the data you want.

The current Big Data craziness
is killing meaningful innovation.

The Big Data fallacy is that you cannot
keep on throwing more data at a problem.

The Web strives to be universal
through independence of many factors.

©2008 Lucélia Ribeiro

The Web brings freedom of expression
to everyone across the world.

©2012 Luke McKernan

The Web brings permissionless innovation
at a global scale.

©2012 SparkFun Electronics

Our data has become centralized
in a handful of Web platforms.

Within the walled gardens of Web apps,
you have to move either data or people.

© David Simonds

The current massive centralization
hurts diversity, innovation, and choice.

Solid aims to restore choice.

The Solid ecosystem enables people to pick the apps they need, while
storing their data wherever they want.

People control their data, and share it
with the apps and people they choose.

People choose where they store
every single piece of data they produce.

They can grant apps and people access
to very specific parts of their data.

Separating app and storage competition
drives permissionless innovation.

There will not be less data.
There will be more.

Solid is not a company or organisation.
Solid is not (just) software.

[the Solid logo]

The Solid server acts as a data pod
that stores and guards your data.

A typical data pod can contain
any data you create or need online.

Solid clients are browser or native apps
that read from or write to your data pod.

Any app you can envision,
you can build with Solid.

The Solid server and several apps exist
and are usable for developers.

The Web is a good platform
for data publication,
but a pretty bad platform
for data consumption.

Frank van Harmelen

Interoperability challenges in Solid
are tackled with Linked Data in RDF.

With JSON-LD, every piece of data
can link to any other piece of data.

  "@context":  "",
  "id":        "#ruben-likes-pfia2019",
  "type":      "Like",
  "actor":     "",
  "object":    "",
  "published": "2019-06-02T12:00:00Z"

Data shapes and their semantics
enable layered compatibility.

  "@context":  "",
  "id":        "#ruben-likes-ldac2019",
  "type":      "Like",
  "actor":     "",
  "object":    "",
  "published": "2019-06-02T12:00:00Z"

Different source data
can be concatenated.

  "@context":  "",
  "@graph": [{
    "type":      "Like",
    "actor":     "",
    "object":    "",
    "published": "2019-06-02T12:00:00Z"
    "type":      "Like",
    "actor":     "",
    "object":    "",
    "published": "2019-06-02T12:05:00Z"

Decentralized apps have many back-ends. Back-ends work with many apps.

The current approach to building apps
does not play well with decentralization.

When clients do not bind to HTTP requests,
APIs can evolve independently of app logic.

Decentralization needs replication
for realistic performance.

Current networks are centered
around the aggregator.

We need to create network flows
to and from the aggregator.

The individual network nodes
need to become the source of truth.

Aggregators need to become part
of a larger network.

Agents serve as a crucial
but transparent layer in the network.

Agents’ main responsibility is
sustaining a network between nodes.

The future is not huge.
It is small.

We are prepared to tackle huge,
but not a lot of small.

Can we build artificial intelligence
that works on a lot of small data?

Can we build the intelligence
for agents to sustain a network?

How Solid aims to impact the Web (and AI with it)