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Re: Cross-ontologies reasoning

From: Francis McCabe <fgm@fla.fujitsu.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Dec 2003 14:03:01 -0800
Message-Id: <9BF57C92-34CA-11D8-BD88-000A95DC494A@fla.fujitsu.com>
Cc: "Ugo Corda" <UCorda@SeeBeyond.com>, public-sws-ig@w3.org
To: pat hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>

Well,
  I would say that the principal reasons that code is not shared more 
are that (a) its hard to perform the required communication and (b) the 
goal/desire/wish of sharing code is contradicted by the desire to 
profit from your own work. (Of course, its nice to profit from someone 
else's work but that is usually called stealing.)
  Both of these issues will probably become increasingly important in 
the heady world of shared ontologies.
  Any plan/architecture/technology that doesn't properly respect 
ownership is going to lead us into trouble (strong fences good 
neighbours make etc). You can make a case that spam is `caused' by a 
lack of concern about good fences. (I don't know about you, but thses 
days I get approx 200-300 SPAM/day.)
Frank

On Dec 21, 2003, at 11:10 AM, pat hayes wrote:

> 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").
>
> That was caused by too much BOASTING, not too much optimism. And we 
> got over it, eventually. Still, I agree that scepticism is a useful 
> strategy, provided it is informed scepticism :-).
>
> 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).
>
> All true; but (1) ontology sharing isnt anywhere near as hard as human 
> communication; and (2) suppose the scenario you suggest happens on the 
> SWeb: is that a problem? If subcommunities do not wish or need to 
> share meanings, then the fact that they do not is not a problem.
>
>
> 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.
>
> Good point. My knee-jerk reaction is that ontologies do not need the 
> maintenance of any kind of state other than that which is expressed in 
> the ontology itself. This is why assertional languages are inherently 
> more transparent to context than almost all kinds of code.  It is 
> quite hard to keep the formalisms 'pure' in this way (witness the 
> current debates about using negation-as-failure in SW rule languages) 
> and I would agree that a tendency to incorporate assumed computational 
> states into the formalisms is a danger which requires constant effort 
> to resist; but so far we have managed reasonably well in the SW 
> standards. I still feel optimistic.
>
> It is important however to emphasise that ontology sharing is likely 
> to be pretty simple stuff: its not the general AI problem. The 
> optimism stems from the belief that even quite 'simple' stuff (from an 
> AI perspective) is likely to have large utility in the actual world.
>
> Pat
>
>
> Ugo
>
>
> -- 
>
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Received on Monday, 22 December 2003 17:04:00 GMT

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