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What if the primary goal of the web was to foster curiosity?

Praveen Paritosh


People go to the web to satisfy their curiosity. The web contains resources that can help: articles, videos, tutorials, online communities, and online courses, among others. In analogy to the semantic web proposal, which was motivated by a desire to structure the web to be more understandable and usable by machines [Berners-Lee, Hendler, and Lassila, 2001], we raise the question: How would we rethink the web with the primary goal of fostering and satisfying human curiosity? We propose the {\it curiosity web}, based on the intuition that the meaning of resources, such as articles, books, and videos, can be expressed in terms of the questions they address [Paritosh and Marcus, 2016]. It has three representational elements: {\it curiosity}, a semantic primitive for an abstracted question or information need with a URI and textual content in multiple languages; {\it relationships between curiosities}, such as relevant or prerequisite; {\it relationships between curiosities and resources}, such as addresses or satisfies. The goal of the curiosity web is to provide an exoskeleton for organizing information by the curiosities they address. The curiosity web is a dual of existing semantic networks and knowledge graphs [Collins and Quillian, 1972; Sowa, 2006; Hillis, 2004]. Instead of focusing on describing meaning using analytic primitives and compositions of knowledge, this approach represents meaning of resources in a holistic manner, through the curiosities it addresses.