W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-sws-ig@w3.org > December 2003

Re: Cross-ontologies reasoning

From: Ugo Corda <UCorda@SeeBeyond.com>
Date: Sat, 20 Dec 2003 11:34:28 -0800
Message-ID: <EDDE2977F3D216428E903370E3EBDDC9032B89ED@MAIL01.stc.com>
To: <public-sws-ig@w3.org>
Pat, you wrote:

> But the real reason for optimism is that there 
> is no reason not to do this, and every reason to do it.  Human 
> language evolved because it is useful to be understood and to 
> understand: the ability to communicate benefits both ends of the 
> communication channel. So writers of ontological content for the 
> SWeb, and users (readers) of that content, will all feel the economic 
> pressure to re-use existing content as far as possible, so that they 
> can be understood and can understand one another. All this pessimism 
> seems to me to be like worrying that if people were all to invent 
> their own language, communication would be very difficult. Which is 
> true, but only relevant if there is any reason to think that people 
> are likely to do that: and there isn't.

I appreciate your optimism, but I prefer to maintain a healthy skepticism in this area. (Too much optimism, after all, is what caused the disillusionment and backlash of the "AI winter").

The subject of human communication is, of course, extremely complex and we could spend endless time on it. Let me just point out that it is not always true that people strive for communication. There are so many examples of language variations intended to communicate only within a restricted circle of people at the exclusion of everybody else, or not to be understood, period (just think of some political jargon).

But let's look at something much simpler and down to earth: the goal of code sharing. It has been discussed for so many years within the computer community, and in theory it makes so much sense. But the reality has been very disappointing so far. Ontology sharing has some of the characteristics of code sharing, and I would like to understand what would make ontology sharing much more successful than code sharing.

Received on Saturday, 20 December 2003 14:34:31 UTC

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