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Semantic Web issues

From: Charlie Abela <abcharl@keyworld.net>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 2003 07:26:17 +0200
Message-ID: <OBEOLJNEPKKHAJJIGKDKCEGDCFAA.abcharl@keyworld.net>
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>, <www-rdf-logic@w3.org>


Hi all,

I was recently involved in a discussion about the semantic web with a friend
of mine who is rather sceptic about some ideas that are being presented on
the topic. Some of his arguments were quite convincing. Below I am adapting
part of his reply to one of my mailsBasically he is concerned about the way that the Semantic Web regards
'context'. His interests are mainly those of ensuring, from a user's
perspective, that 'information' is consistent with the way the user wants to
use it, which is only (potentially) remotely connected with the way the
author intends it to be used.

His view of the Semantic Web (of which Web Services is a specific sub-part)
is that it is primarily (if not practically exclusively) focused on
expressing the meaning of information as the author intended. Except that he
believes that it is extremely limiting. He argues that discoveries are made
by taking data and interpreting it in an unexpected 'context'  (whatever
context means) and that the approach that is being considered by the
Semantic Web community to information representation and reasoning may
prevent information discovery.

Reasoning in the Semantic Web is monotonic and makes an open world
assumption, rather than nonmonotonic and making a closed world assumption.
He is reluctant to believe that taking an open world, monotonic approach to
reasoning will necessarily ensure that the information transmitter/receiver
will actually be able to work out that they are "talking" about the same
thing without first decontextualising the data being reasoned with/about,
which he argues that in itself this is intractable.

He is also concerned about the approach taken by the Semantic Web that
assumes that information (data in context) is consistent, because
i) this is only possible with undisputed/indisputable facts (which are only
a proportion of the 'information' humans use to reason with/about), and
ii) will it necessitate a Microsoft-like company to make available (for a
fee, of course!) consistent information for open world, monotonic  reasoners
to use?

Can someone give me some comments on the above?

Regards,

Charlie
Received on Friday, 18 July 2003 01:22:11 GMT

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