I often been puzzled why people write "The Semantic Web is AI" and "The Semantic Web is a top-down design" and "The Semantic Web is Ontologies". As far as I'm concerned, all of those are bogus. I think I've worked out why they write this - they aren't talking to anyone actually working directly on the technologies.
The semantic web is: a webby way to link data. That is all.
Everything beyond that is entirely optional fluff: data vs metadata, syntaxes, ontologies, query languages, rules, logic, ...
This is my "lowercase" semantic web and the basis of what I have in running production code right now.
I'll probably use that as my theme when I speak about A Little Semantics Can Go a Long Way on the panel at the Semantic Technology Conference in San Jose in May. ( I'll also be at WWW2007 in Banff, Canada and XTech 2007 in Paris. )