W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org > October 2001

Re: PRIMER: draft data model section

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@mitre.org>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2001 12:11:55 -0400
Message-ID: <3BCC5C4B.336E1D77@mitre.org>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
CC: w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
Pat--

Thanks *very* much for the detailed comments.  Digestion is in
progress.  A few remarks below.

Pat Hayes wrote:
> 
> But... I feel that the intro is seriously misleading in the way it
> uses quotation. It seems to deliberately get things wrong in order to
> confuse the reader.

Got it.  

> 
> > At the same time, the use of RDF does not necessarily involve the
> > use of esoteric AI technologies, as the term "semantic" might
> > suggest.
> 
> Oh, PLEASE. What a slew of inappropriate (and now archaic) academic
> prejudices lurk in that word 'esoteric'. Why not just come out and say
> "Don't be frightened, children".  Sorry, but you can hardly expect an
> ex-president of AAAI to let that go by without a murmur.

No problem.  However, I find myself speaking about this stuff to people
who have those prejudices (they aren't "academic" prejudices, at least
in the sense the people I'm speaking to are academics).  I find it helps
to explicitly address the wave of distrust "semantic" sometimes induces,
and then go ahead and talk about the esoteric AI technologies (they then
seem happier about things like inference, for some reason).  I didn't
say "don't be frightened, children" because adults don't appreciate
being told they're acting like children, even when they are ("here
darling, take this nice teaspoon of first order logic, it's good for
you").  As ex-president of AAAI, surely you know what effect this stuff
frequently has on people who aren't members of AAAI (I am a member of
AAAI, BTW)?  Suggestions for rewording?  Would you prefer something
like:

"At the same time, the use of RDF does not necessarily involve the use
of inference or logic programming, as the term "semantic" might suggest.

> If you want to be really persnickety, RDF inference *is* an 'AI technique', 
> if that silly phrase has any meaning at all, just a very simple one. So for 
> that matter are optimizing compilers, temporal databases, logic programming, web search
> engines and a host of other now-industrial-standard techniques.

That's all true, but keep in mind that the sentence didn't say AI
techniques weren't useful (or even industrial standard), it said they
weren't necessary for using RDF (unless, of course, you're one of these
guys who believe that "AI" means "all useful computer science"!).  Lots
of people, for example, use RDF without doing any inference.  

--Frank

-- 
Frank Manola                   The MITRE Corporation
202 Burlington Road, MS A345   Bedford, MA 01730-1420
mailto:fmanola@mitre.org       voice: 781-271-8147   FAX: 781-271-8752
Received on Tuesday, 16 October 2001 12:12:31 EDT

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