Forbes has an article by David Ewalt:
We need a search system that doesn’t just process and parse our language, but understands it; programs that don’t just match your search terms but intuitively recognize context to deliver what you’re really looking for. Fortunately, engineers and researchers around the world are already at work to bring about this system, and they call it the semantic Web.
At its most basic level, a semantic Web would allow search engines to act more intelligently, making it easier to find specific things. That’s good news for Web surfers, as well as for the companies who develop search engines, like Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft.
But semantic technology also holds great promise for all kinds of businesses. “We need to collect data to conduct business for all sorts of reasons,” says Gartner Group analyst Alexander Linden. With data growth rates averaging between 20% and 30% annually, many businesses are drowning under the weight of their own files and devoting huge resources to processing and handling them. It’s becoming increasingly important to automate the process so businesses don’t have to keep throwing staff at the problem. “We need to describe the data better so machines can take over,” he says. “We want to get the human out of the loop for obvious reasons–they cost money, and they make errors.”
To some extent, businesses are doing this already. In financial services, companies are tagging financial data with a language called XBRL, which helps identify related items in different financial documents and allows computers to automatically generate complex financial reports.