This was a presentation by one of the key folks at Applied Minds. It seems they dabble in everything from software to robots. There was an initial demo showing a small crawling robot where he explained that they discovered that six legged robots were more stable than those with four legs. Since this wasn't about software I lost interest for several minutes but did hear the audience clap once or twice for the gadgets he showed.
Towards the end the speaker started talking about an open market place of ideas. The specific scenario he described was the ability to pull up a map and have people's opinions of various places on the map show up overlayed on the map. Given that people are already providing these opinions on the Web today for free, there isn't a need to have to go through some licenced database of reviews to get this information. The ability to harness the collective consciousness of the World Wide Web in this manner was the promise of the Semantic Web which the speaker felt was going to be delivered. His talk reminded me a lot of the Committee of Gossips vision of the Semantic Web that Joshua Allen continues to evangelize.
It seems lots of smart people are getting the same ideas about what the Semantic Web should be. Unfortunately, they'll probably have to route around the W3C crowd if they ever want to realize this vision.