In 1991, Sir Tim Berners-Lee launched the first ever website. Although simple, it represented years of research into how best to share documents within networked environments. The web quickly evolved out of a purely academic pursuit to be the backbone on which so much of the modern world is built. But the web had a flaw. Computers can’t understand the contents of web pages the same way that human brains can. This is still the case despite recent advances in NLP, computer vision and machine learning technology.
In the late 1990s, Lee proposed the Semantic Web — or, adding a layer of metadata to sites, giving the concepts represented by web pages machine-readable definitions and hierarchies. The Semantic Web hasn’t achieved widespread adoption, although development continued, leading to the popularization of knowledge graphs in the early 2010s.