W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > March 2009

Re: Semantic Debate and Reasoning Web Application

From: Iyad Rahwan <irahwan@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 19 Mar 2009 07:33:36 +0400
Message-ID: <d39132c50903182033x75955b14ua80aec251a3a171c@mail.gmail.com>
To: Cerin <chrisspen@gmail.com>
Cc: semantic-web@w3.org
Dear Chris,

I'm not sure if you are interested in using "natural language processing"
(NLP) techniques to create structure from unstructured content, or to simply
ask people to enter their views and arguments in a structured format in the
first place. For the former, NLP is still very difficult, but for the
latter, many attempts still exists.

On one hand, you can find many systems on the Web trying to support this
sort of activity. Examples include:



and many others.

In the academic arena, there has been some preliminary work towards an
"Argument Interchange Format" (AIF) to help annotate arguments. The first
paper on this was published in 2006:

C. Ches˝evar, J. McGinnis, S. Modgil, I. Rahwan, C. Reed, G. Simari, M.
South, G. Vreeswijk and S. Willmott (2006). *Towards an Argument Interchange
Format*. The Knowledge Engineering Review, Vol 21, No 4, pages 293-316.

In terms of connections to Semantic Web technologies, some colleagues and I
did some work on providing RDFS and OWL implementations, but these are still
at the proof-of-concept level:

I. Rahwan (2008). *Mass Argumentation and the Semantic Web*. Journal of Web
Semantics. Vol 6, No 1, pages 29-37

I. Rahwan, F. Zablith and C. Reed (2007). *Laying the Foundations for a
World Wide Argument Web*. Artificial Intelligence, Vol 171, No 10-15, pages

I. Rahwan and B. Banihashemi (2008). *Arguments in OWL: A Progress Report*.
In A. Hunter (Ed.), Proceedings of the 2nd International Conference on
Computational Models of Argument (COMMA), Toulouse, France. IOS Press,
Amsterdam, The Netherlands, pages 297-310.

You can find all the above papers on my publications page (see link to my
page below).

Good luck with your pursuit.


Dr. Iyad Rahwan, Ph.D.
Lecturer & MSc in IT Programme Director
Faculty of Informatics, British University in Dubai
P.O.Box 502216, Dubai, UAE

(Fellow) School of Informatics
University of Edinburgh, UK

Tel: +971-4-367 1959
Fax: +971-4-366 4698

2009/3/18 Cerin <chrisspen@gmail.com>

> Hi,
> I'm at the brainstorming stage of a semantic application, and I'd like to
> get some feedback. I'd like to create a web application that would provide
> a
> structured debating format that would incorporate semantic rules and logic
> entered by users. The basic idea is that a user would enter an assertion,
> evidence, and definitions, and other users would vote on the accuracy of
> these elements, or extend them with their own arguments. The system would
> also make an attempt to validate logical arguments, and show where a user's
> line of reasoning is incomplete, flawed, or contradictory, and would need
> correction or clarification.
> To use a controversial political example, a user might enter the assertion
> "The war in Iraq is a mistake." and then enter the supporting argument
> "because, it costs billions with no tangible benefit to the US". The user
> might optionally enter definitions and examples for "tangible benefit" for
> clarification. Another user might disagree and enter a counter argument,
> claiming "The Iraqi government shares security intelligence" and that
> "Security intelligence is a tangible benefit". An arbitrary number of "for"
> and "against" arguments could be added, and the results accumulated in the
> parent assertion.
> The goal isn't to simply find the consensus opinion on an issue. A basic
> poll can do that. Instead, I'm interesting in finding the clearest most
> unambiguous and quantifiable line of reasoning supporting an opinion,
> especially when a subject has conflicting opinions. I used the above
> example
> since it has passionate arguments on either side. In these cases, I'm
> curious to see which position can be quantifiably reduced to the clearest
> line of reasoning, instead of the knee-jerk oversimplified diatribes we
> typically see in the main stream media. Another goal would be to filter out
> misinformation and mischaracterization, using a combination of user votes
> and automated logic validation.
> Of course, I realize this is no simple task. I have a little background in
> machine learning, so I can imagine how impossibly complicated implementing
> this system could become. I also realize that not everyone's opinion is
> based on logic, and that a certain amount of "unexplainable bias" is to be
> expected.
> However, I'm not too familiar with how much this subject overlaps with the
> semantic web topic, so my basic questions are:
> 1. What's the prior art and existing technology?
> Yes, I've Googled, but since I'm unsure what exact topic this falls under,
> I
> don't think I'm getting a comprehensive picture. As far as I can tell,
> there's nothing that exactly attempts what I'm suggesting. The closet I've
> found are the various automated logic parsers (e.g. for OWL and RDF), which
> don't seem to support context, probability, or any kind of accumulation of
> discrete examples into higher-level statements, which I'd expect this
> project would require (but please correct me if I'm wrong).
> 2. Do these goals seem obtainable?
> Does my idea seem reasonable, insane, far-fetched, etc? Clearly, I've
> glossed over the technical details, partially for brevity, and partially
> because I'm not completely sure how I'd implement it. I'd expect the
> initial
> system to be limited in the terminology it would support. I doubt you'd be
> able to enter arguments in natural language. Instead, to help simplify the
> initial implementation, the user would have to enter a simplified grammar
> tree. To use the above example, the assertion might be entered in indented
> form like:
> The war in Iraq
> is
> a mistake
> because
>    it
>    costs
>    billions
>        with
>        no tangible benefit
>            to
>            the US
> If such a system were created, I'd imagine it being Wikipedia-like, in that
> there would be no clear profit motive behind it, so it would have to be
> open-source and community driven.
> I appreciate any thoughts.
> Regards,
> Chris
> P.S. Sorry if the above example in any way offends. I'm usually
> apolitically
> and generally go out of my way not to advertise my personal political
> opinions.
> --
> View this message in context:
> http://www.nabble.com/Semantic-Debate-and-Reasoning-Web-Application-tp22580463p22580463.html
> Sent from the w3.org - semantic-web mailing list archive at Nabble.com.
Received on Thursday, 19 March 2009 08:05:24 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 1 March 2016 07:42:10 UTC