Kurt Cagle

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Kurt Cagle is Managing Editor for Cognitive World, and is a contributing writer for Forbes, focusing on future technologies, science, enterprise data management, and technology ethics. He also runs his own consulting company, Semantical LLC, specializing on Smart Data, and is the author off more than twenty books on web technologies, search and data. He lives in Issaquah, WA with his wife, Cognitive World Editor Anne Cagle, daughters and cat (Bright Eyes). 


1 week 2 days ago
Benny retired last week. There was a small party for him in the IT department, and everyone chipped in to get him an Apple Watch, the obligatory successor to the Gold Watch of yore. A couple of decades ago, he and his wife would go off on vacation, doing the travel thing for a bit before getting tired of stale camper funk and the Denny’s Over 55 Special Menu, though today, weak retirement portfolios and stealthy consumer inflation make it likely that they will not spend all that much time on vacation…

3 weeks 1 day ago
As semantics and linked data become increasingly mainstream, one question that seems to be asked increasingly has to do with a comparatively recent term, ontology, and how ontologies differ from taxonomies. Understanding this distinction is important in making decisions about metadata management, and as such affects anyone who deals with enterprise-level data. Most people have an intuitive understanding of what a taxonomy is, even if they can't necessarily articulate it formally. The Linnaeus Taxonomy,…

3 weeks 3 days ago
Artificial Intelligence is still (somewhat) of a buzzword, though in practice much of what is likely to be implemented in this current business cycle under that all-encompassing umbrella has been. Visual recognition systems, check. Speech recognition, check. Expert systems, check. Self-driving vehicles, check. Recommendation engines, yup. Business Intelligence tools with a healthy smattering of data science, check, check, check. None of them are quite perfect yet (and arguably some are a long way towards…

4 weeks 1 day ago
For most of us, the word graph brings back memories (not always pleasant) of pencils and rulers and quadrille ruled paper, though a more recent generation may think instead of pie and bar charts produced in Excel from spreadsheets. However, in the last few years, another form of graph, one that goes back to a whole branch of mathematics called graph theory, is beginning to have a huge impact in business, science and the world of artificial intelligence. A graph database is a class of data store that has…

1 month ago
As an ontologist, I'm often asked about the distinctions between taxonomies and ontologies, and whether ontologies are replacing taxonomies. The second question is easy to answer "No." Both taxonomies and ontologies serve vital, and often complementary, roles ... if they are used right. Taxonomy is, to put it simply, a categorization scheme. Most readers should be familiar with a few critical taxonomies such as the Linnaeus Taxonomy used to represent how animals are related to one another, and the Dewey…

1 month ago
The lowly contract, a staple of business transactions everywhere, is about to get a major facelift. The typical role of a contract to date has been largely testimonial: an agreement is made between two parties (identified in painstaking detail) on page one, with stipulations about what is to be delivered at what cost, and the penalties that accrue if one or the other party fails to live up to their part of the agreement. Once the appropriate John Hancocks are signed, a process that usually involves…

2 months 2 weeks ago
  By Kurt Cagle  |  February 06, 2019  |  Source: CogWorld on FORBES There is a running joke in standards circles: God must love standards. He's made so many of them. If you spend enough time working with standards, ontologies, reference data or information modeling, you will find yourself involved in the process of creating, modifying or defending specific standards. TOGAF, NIEM, XBRL, FIBO, UBL, Dublin Core, Schema.org, W3C, standards are ubiquitous. You would think, given this, that it should be…

2 months 3 weeks ago
By Kurt Cagle  |  January 25, 2019  |  Source: CogWorld on FORBES Sometimes, you can enter into a technology too early. The groundwork for semantics was laid down in the late 1990s and early 2000s, with Tim Berners-Lee's stellar Semantic Web article, debuting in Scientific American in 2004, seen by many as the movement's birth. Yet many early participants in the field of semantics discovered a harsh reality: computer systems were too slow to handle the intense indexing requirements the technology needed,…

2 months 4 weeks ago
This was a presentation given by Kurt Cagle to the Bellevue Big Data Meetup on Jan 19, 2019.

3 months 1 week ago
By Kurt Cagle  |  January 11, 2019  |  Source: CogWorld on FORBES All things come to an end, especially economic cycles. People who have logged more than a couple of decades in information technology especially are attuned to it, because their jobs and interests both tend to be forward facing. The inability of a software developer or information manager to read the future, at least in a general sense, usually means that they won't last long in the field. As the markets enter into the gyrations of this…

3 months 1 week ago
January 10, 2019  |  Source: CogWorld on FORBES The engines of IT marketing recently spun out a buzz phrase that's now gaining vogue in many businesses: Digital Transformation. While the exact definition varies depending upon who is currently pushing it, the notion can be summarized roughly as follows: Organizations run on data, and in the twenty-first century, your organization needs to be able to take advantage of all of that data to remain competitive in the marketplace. By transforming your company…

5 months ago
By Kurt Cagle  |  November 14, 2018  |  Source: CogWorld on FORBES Data modeling does not excite passion within programmers. Your average Java or Python developer probably doesn’t even realize that they are doing it when they write programs, in great part because a data model by itself doesn’t do anything. It simply is. In computer science terms, doing things is the hallmark of imperative (command) oriented languages, while simply being is declarative (assertional or existential) oriented programming.…

6 months 3 weeks ago
In 1991, authors and sociologists William Strauss and Neil Howe published Generations (updated in 1997 with The Fourth Turning) where they argued the idea of Generational Theory — the notion that there were distinct cohorts throughout history that shared characteristics and values. These cohorts, going through different phases of their life, determined turnings that identified pivotal periods in history, with cohorts having a cycle of 18-20 years, and turnings taking place over an 80-year cycle. One of…

6 months 3 weeks ago
By Kurt Cagle  |  September 29, 2018  |  Source: CogWorld on FORBES Your business has its own language. If you sell cars, then you need not only make, model and year, but also MSRP, leather bucket seats and dealer incentives. If you are a dentist, knowing about bicuspids, prostheses and various forms of anesthesia is a must. Media companies have producers and writers, actors and grips, distribution networks and video masters. Business language is code. This language is not only critical to being able…

7 months ago
By Kurt Cagle  |  September 15, 2018  |  CogWorld on FORBES How do you describe a business? What about a person, or an intellectual work? There's an interesting little secret that people in IT likely know, but that doesn't always get to the C-Suite. Programming, at its core, is all about creating models. Sometimes those models are of classes of things, sometimes they better describe processes, but it is rare for a piece of software in your organization to not have some relevance to perhaps a few dozen…