W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-owl-comments@w3.org > January 2009

RE: OWL Too?

From: Jeremy Carroll <jeremy@topquadrant.com>
Date: Mon, 26 Jan 2009 13:59:52 -0800
To: "'Jeremy Carroll'" <jeremy@topquadrant.com>, <public-owl-comments@w3.org>
Message-ID: <003a01c98001$6baa1100$42fe3300$@com>

I wrote:
> This is the main TopQuadrant comment on OWL2 at last call.
[[ snip ]]
> Jeremy Carroll, on behalf of TopQuadrant

This is my personal follow up, to the comments I have made as TopQuadrant AC Rep.
I do not ask for this to be formally addressed; I merely hope that it may give a
helpful viewpoint that differs both from the WG view and the TopQuadrant view.

A personal motivation for working in Web Technology is the hope
that the work I do, might, in some small way, make a real visible difference
to my friends and to my family, and that when I am asked what I do for a living
I might be able to explain it with a few simple sentences!
The Web has impacted people's lives across the whole spectrum of their activity:
leisure, social, work, religion, politics, news, entertainment, and science.
The same is not true of Semantic Web technologies, but I remain hopeful
that one day it might be.

Most of you know me as a person, and like most people, there is more than
one dimension to me. More specifically I am able to think
and create and categorize in a scientific way, as exemplified by my work
in geometry. But it is also evident, that categories relating to gender
cause me significant personal difficulty, and that I invest daily effort
in  questioning simplistic approaches. And like all human beings
I am forever categorizing the things around me, and the people in my world,
into various groups - I guess the top-level is things I like, and things I don't. This 
social process fundamentally involves the ability to make new categories,
interrelated with the old, and thus help create our world.
Along these lines, OWL2 feels like triangles - something that can be manipulated
with great precision, and with which it is possible to achieve some
notable achievements, but basically elitist and not really very interesting
outside of an ivory tower. The Semantic Web that may be something that I might
be proud to have been part of, comes more under social networking, as currently
exemplified by FOAF, where RDF and small amounts of OWL make do: and I hope, that
if we ever succeed in impacting the wider world, it will be a use of classification
that enhances peoples lives, rather than imprisons them with inappropriate labels.

So, when wearing my TopQuadrant hat, I focussed on the costs to our business applications
of OWL2's over-emphasis on scientific applications. In working through those issues
as my paid employment, I personally became more aware of my own uneasiness with the potential
costs to social applications.
Received on Monday, 26 January 2009 22:00:32 UTC

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