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Re: Are generic resources intentional?

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Thu, 28 May 2009 16:18:34 -0500
Cc: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-Id: <8A493C52-8744-4067-83A7-C876FADCB591@ihmc.us>
To: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>

On May 28, 2009, at 3:25 PM, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:

> On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 3:42 PM, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
>>
>> On May 28, 2009, at 12:40 PM, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
>>
>>> Hi Pat,
>>>
>>> I don't see how switching from intent to artifact helps anything,
>>> rather the opposite in my experience. First, "agency" seems to me to
>>> be something equally of the mind, and second all practical efforts
>>> that I've made in conjunction with OBI (Ontology of Biomedical
>>> Investigation) haven't panned out.
>>>
>>> I think in the end we are going to have a mind involved
>>
>> What about websites created by autonomous software?
>
> Someone built the software, or gave input to the software that
> resulted in the creation of the web site. They are the one with the
> intent.

Im sure you know how much oil was burned over debates like this in  
recent philosophy of mind. Its still being burned. In my experience,  
this is a rat-hole from which there is no escape.

> If the autonomous software approaches being an AI we can
> discuss whether it has crossed the threshold of having intent.
>
> It's exactly the question with agency.

Sorry I mentioned agency: it was only mean to be an indicator, not  
definitional. Artifact can stand on its own.

>
>>
>>> and if we are
>>> we might as well deal with the source then trying to track down the
>>> effects without reference to the locus. Seems like in practice that
>>> there are going to be fewer things that are difficult to define in  
>>> the
>>> the end if we bite the bullet on "intent" being difficult to define,
>>> accept it as a primitive for now, and work forward.
>>
>> Oh, I agree we shouldnt be trying to DEFINE any of these concepts.  
>> I'd be
>> happy to just treat 'artifact' as a primitive and say that its  
>> obvious that
>> numbers, abstract categories, etc. are clearly not artifacts, but  
>> that any
>> website (howsoever it got created, even if it was by a cat walking  
>> on a
>> keyboard somewhere) clearly is. There are always going to be
>> possible-but-silly examples which break any proposed strict if&onlyif
>> definition.
>
> They aren't so silly in current biological engineering.

I mean things like: if a light bulb is defined by its intended purpose  
of giving light, what about a light bulb that gets smashed before it  
gets lit, or one that is never bought and stays in the store for ever?  
Those kind of silly examples.

> From my point of view it's a number thing. The number of cases where
> we're going to have to come with a decision about whether there is
> intent or not, and will be easier than the number of cases where we
> have to decide whether something is an artifact, and they will be
> harder to decide. Based on my experience with OBI.

Well, OK, YMMV. My experience is that anything involving the insides  
of a head is going to immediately become unresolvable and endless,  
which I why I suggested trying to avoid intent(ions) being on a  
critical path. But it was only intended to be helpful, so ignore it if  
not.

Pat

>
> -Alan
>
>>
>> Pat
>>
>>
>>>
>>> However, I will admit to not being a trained philosopher, and if you
>>> think that there is a good document that makes it clear what  
>>> artifact
>>> and agency are, then I'm game for a read.
>>>
>>> That said, I will respond to the substance of Jonathan's message  
>>> in a
>>> separate email.
>>>
>>> Best,
>>> Alan
>>>
>>> On Thu, May 28, 2009 at 9:46 AM, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
>>>>
>>>> Reading this, seems to me (provisionally) that "having intent"  
>>>> might be
>>>> rephrased as "being an artifact"; that is, existing as the result  
>>>> of
>>>> agency
>>>> of some kind rather than a natural process. (?) If so, that might  
>>>> be a
>>>> nice
>>>> connection with some traditional philosophical distinctions that  
>>>> have
>>>> stood
>>>> the test of time; and it avoids having to say what intent "is".  
>>>> And it
>>>> has
>>>> the advantage, I'd suggest, of focusing on the thing rather than  
>>>> the
>>>> innards
>>>> of the mind of its creator, which is always going to be a black  
>>>> box/hole.
>>>>
>>>> Pat
>>>>
>>>> On May 28, 2009, at 7:48 AM, Jonathan Rees wrote:
>>>>
>>>>> 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.
>>>>>
>>>>> 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=10&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. 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 - ?
>>>>> ...
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>>
>>>>
>>>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>>>> IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or  
>>>> (650)494 3973
>>>> 40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
>>>> Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
>>>> FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
>>>> phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>>
>>>
>>>
>>
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
>> IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or (650)494  
>> 3973
>> 40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
>> Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
>> FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
>> phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
>
>

------------------------------------------------------------
IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or (650)494 3973
40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
Received on Thursday, 28 May 2009 21:19:14 GMT

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