We humans create information faster than we create ourselves. Arguably, the advance of technology has been the effort to extract value from this information -- to distribute it more widely, to stuff more of it into pipes and storage devices, and most importantly to find it when we need it. The "Semantic Web" is the the best candidate for the next epochal change in this "arms race." Jennifer L. Schenker has two good articles on it (the second is the "Taming..." link at the end of this quote):
... Now, as the next generation of Internet technology edges toward the market, European companies and policymakers are determined not to suffer the same fate. In a bid to get ahead of U.S. researchers, they are underwriting research into the so-called Semantic Web—also sometimes called Web 3.0—to the tune of hundreds of millions of euros. "The U.S. and Europe are competing on funding something that could have an extraordinary strategic impact," says Whit Andrews, a research vice-president at technology consultancy Gartner (IT). ¶ At stake is nothing less than the future of the Net. Developed in part by Berners-Lee, who is now based at MIT, the Semantic Web goes well beyond today's relatively static information highway to add richer media and support for vast pools of unstructured data—in effect, making all the world's knowledge available online. It also connects the information in ways that will let users discover novel associations among unrelated data. That has big implications for fields ranging from the military to medical research to business intelligence (see BusinessWeek.com, 4/9/07, "Taming the World Wide Web"). ...
See also the Semantic Web article in Wikipedia. --Dennis