W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-sw-meaning@w3.org > October 2003

Re: Proposed issue: What does using an URI require of me and my software?

From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Date: Thu, 09 Oct 2003 08:40:40 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <20031009.084040.69728609.pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
To: JohnBlack@deltek.com
Cc: phayes@ihmc.us, james.lynn@hp.com, public-sw-meaning@w3.org

From: "John Black" <JohnBlack@deltek.com>
Subject: RE: Proposed issue: What does using an URI require of me and my software?
Date: Thu, 9 Oct 2003 07:52:49 -0400

> > From: Peter F. Patel-Schneider [mailto:pfps@research.bell-labs.com]
> > Sent: Friday, October 03, 2003 3:40 PM


> > BCorp lied.  So what?  Do you really expect the Semantic Web 
> > to prohibit
> > lying?  CCorp accepted the information that BCorp gave it.  
> > Do you really
> > expect the Semantic Web to educate fools?  
> Somehow these "fools" always turn out to be our brothers and sisters, 
> mothers and fathers, sons and daughters, friends and family - even me. 
> Automobile manufacturers were finally required to provide seatbelts 
> and airbags to protect the "fools" that drive recklessly and to 
> protect us from them.  I suspect they objected at first, saying things 
> like "Its not cars that cause accidents, its the fools who drive them 
> carelessly that kill people.  You'll cripple transportation if you ask 
> us to get involved in these problems."  
> There's another argument made that considerations of such 
> problems and any solutions to them don't belong in the architecture.  
> In the past, buildings were designed without regard for earthquakes.  
> Over the years, thousands of people died.  Now building architects 
> build defenses against earthquakes into the architecture from the 
> start.
> Its also suggested that we don't know enough about what the Semantic 
> Web will become to act now.  I thought of this argument this morning 
> as I was driving to work in an intense fog that comes over Northern
> Virginia sometimes.  When my visibility is reduced, and I can't see 
> what dangers lie ahead, I tend to become more cautious and alert, 
> rather than less.  So why does the uncertainty of direction of the 
> Semantic Web argue for doing nothing?  Are we hoping that if we 
> just keep quiet and leave it up to government and lawyers, maybe 
> they won't come back and ask us, "Hey.  Can't you do something 
> technological about this? something like quake-proof buildings 
> or automobiles with airbags?"
> There seems to be a sense in society that the makers of products 
> should think about these things.  Is the Semantic Web different?  Are 
> sw-agents products?  If not, what are they?  Are they beings, endowed 
> by their creators with inalienable rights? Do they have first amendment 
> rights?  Someone's going to think and act on these questions.  Why not 
> us, here, now?
> John Black
> http://kashori.com

If you want to come up with some acceptable use provisions for the Semantic
Web, saying that no one on the Semantic Web should lie, cheat, or deceive,
go right ahead.  You can even, with my blessing, try to give these
provisions some enforcement aspects.

However, I will resist any attempt to require that the infrastructure of
the Semantic Web has to act as if every statement on the Semantic Web is
the revealed truth.  I will also resist any attempt to require that the
infrastructure of the Semantic Web has to act as if every agent in the
Semantic Web shares the same complete view of any particular name in the
Semantic Web.  If these are required, communities that disagree in any way
whatsoever will be unable to communicate because any attempt to communicate
will result in inconsistencies.

Peter F. Patel-Schneider
Received on Thursday, 9 October 2003 08:47:36 UTC

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