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RE: Are generic resources intentional?

From: Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol) <skw@hp.com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 2009 10:17:07 +0000
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
CC: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-ID: <233101CD2D78D64E8C6691E90030E5C832D1B521E9@GVW1120EXC.americas.hpqcorp.net>
Hi Jonathan...

> -----Original Message-----
> From: public-awwsw-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:public-awwsw-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Jonathan Rees
> Sent: 28 May 2009 13:49
> To: AWWSW TF
> Subject: Are generic resources intentional?
> 
> I've been puzzling over the question of how two generic-resources can
> have the same trace by virtue of a difference in meaning, e.g. the use
> case Tim gives where he and I both work at Burger King for a week and
> end up with identical-looking time sheets (same trace), that are
> really distinct generic-resources simply because of properties not
> reflected in the traces.

I'm not sure that I can buy the argument that these to timesheets can have the same traces. There have to be material differences otherwise either or both of you would gte paid twice, or some random other(s) would be collecting your wages.

Ok... lets allow that the wa-representations and indeed the traces of the timesheets carry no distinguishing marks that allow and observer to discriminate - I such a situation I think that you have only one resource that happens to have many names.

> Allow me to call this difference "intent" - I won't define this but
> Alan, don't jump all over me, build on what I say. It is the missing
> dimension, the resource's "essential characteristic" that is not
> conveyed in any wa-representation.
> 
> I don't know what "intent" is ontologically; I use the word as a
> placeholder. It has to be quite broad, so that it allows me to say
> that the GR named by
> http://random.org/integers/?num=100&min=1&max=100&col=5&base=1
> 0&format=html&rnd=new
> has "intent" - namely the web site author's intent to satisfy the
> world's hunger for white noise. Generally, we have grandfathered all
> "web pages" just by saying that none of them are accidental
> (unintentional) - someone went to the trouble of registering a domain
> name, setting up a server, and deploying content. We also get Moby
> Dick, since someone went to the trouble of writing it - it didn't fall
> from the sky. And we get Finnegan's Wake and Beethoven's 7th for the
> same reason even though know one knows what message they convey.
> 
> But I think "intent" can explain another use case Tim has given. He is
> adamant that numbers, such as the 46th Mersenne prime, are not
> information resources. I was puzzled by his refusal because it seems
> very clear to me that all of its essential characteristics *can* be
> conveyed in a message; I just did so. 

:-)... well not for me... I don't know what a "Mersenne prime" is let alone the 46th one, though that seem to clearly be descriptive of some ordinal position in a series. (/me heads for wikipedia).

Your message did describe a number (at least I prepared to accept that it did). It did tell me that it was prime (or at least AFAICT contained symbols with that intent), though I have to rely on background knowledge to understand the concept of primeness.

> But if we set aside the AWWW
> definition of IR, and instead talk about the Tim-derived GR model, we
> can say that something that has a wa-representation that is a numeral
> designating the 46th Mersenne prime is a perfectly fine GR, since the
> *intent* is to communicate the digits of the 46th Mersenne prime;
> while the number itself does not carry any intent and is therefore not
> a GR.
> 
> More generally, "intent" explains why GRs are contingent on the real
> world, as opposed to being purely mathematical constructions, while
> still being able to withstand any Xiaoshu-like attempts at giving them
> mass and phsyical location.
> 
> If we can determine that
> (a) "intent" is not vacuous, and
> (b) "intent" is the *only* way that generic-resources can differ,
> other than in their traces
> then we will have a complete characterization of generic resources: GR
> = trace + intent.
> 
> I read this and find "intent" to be very similar to "phlogiston", but
> remember that chemistry had its origins in alchemy.
> 
> Jonathan
> 
> Appendix: Use cases
> 1. 
> http://random.org/integers/?num=100&min=1&max=100&col=5&base=10&format=html&rnd=new
>   - yes
> 2. Moby Dick  -yes
> 3. Beethoven's 7th  - yes
> 4. 46 Mersenne Prime  - no
> 5. A 19th-century publication that has no URI yet (possibly 
> ever) - yes
> 6. data:text/plain,intent_depends_on_context  - no? (doesn't imply
> intent; only names a trace)
> 7. function from time and request to representation - no (doesn't
> imply intent; only names a trace)
> 8. "network data object" a la RFC 2616 - some of them, yes, if you
> take this to mean "generic resource deployed on a network"
> 9. "network service" a la RFC 2616 - ?
> ...

Stuart
--
Received on Wednesday, 3 June 2009 10:18:39 GMT

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