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Re: Is Semantic Web possible ?

From: Andrew Newman <andrew@pisoftware.com>
Date: Tue, 11 Nov 2003 09:09:42 +1000
Message-ID: <3FB01AB6.6000306@pisoftware.com>
To: www-rdf-interest@w3.org

Dan Brickley wrote:
> * Stephane Fellah <fellah@pcigeomatics.com> [2003-11-10 12:42-0500]
>>To those of us believing in Semantic Web, meta-data, ontologies and
>>such, this article by Clay Shirky:
>>	http://www.shirky.com/writings/semantic_syllogism.html
>>might be quite traumatic.  It posits that real world is too fuzzy and
>>too messy for any clean, deductive scheme to succeed.
>>I am curious to get your opinion on this article.
>>Good read :-)
> Probably the main conclusion I draw is that we should be clearer that
> the rules aspect of Semantic Web is the icing on the cake, rather than 
> the ultimate goal. Data on the Web is the goal, and that's perfectly 
> achievable.

The articles that Clay refer to seem to be some of the worst or out of 

It was quite annoying and would seem to be purposeful that he takes 
issue that the Semantic Web requires a global ontology - if you read any 
of the pieces on how the Web (the Semantic Web included) has been 
designed, even some of Clay's pieces, you wonder how he could get that 

I typed this in from "Weaving the Web" and I still think it's a fairly 
accurate description of the Semantic Web:

"Databases are continually produced by different groups and companies, 
without knowledge of each other. Rarely does anyone stop the process to 
try to define globally consistent terms for each of the columns in the 
database tables...If HTML and the Web made all online documents look 
like one huge book, RDF, schema and inference languages will make all 
the data in the world look like one huge database"

"If a reasoning engine had pulled in all the data and figured the taxes, 
I could have asked it why it did what it did, and corrected the source 
of the problem.

Being able to ask 'Why?' is important. It allows the user to trace back 
to the assumptions that were made, and the rules and data used. 
Reasoning eninges will allow us to manipulate, figure, find and provide 
logical and numeric things over a wide-open field of applications."

Anyway, there's been more buzz about the Semantic Web in the last 4 days 
than I've ever seen - most of it negative but a surprising number of 
people (outside of the usual suspects) saying positive things about the SW:

Received on Monday, 10 November 2003 18:19:22 UTC

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