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Re: Something that fundamentally confuses/bothers me about the Semantic Web

From: Jean-Luc Delatre <jld@club-internet.fr>
Date: Tue, 06 Jul 2004 13:56:43 +0200
Message-ID: <40EA937B.510BFBCF@club-internet.fr>
To: semanticweb@yahoogroups.com
Cc: www-rdf-interest@w3.org, cg@cs.uah.edu, john hardin <john@sanghainteractive.com>, Miltiadis Lytras <mdl@eltrun.gr>

In http://groups.yahoo.com/group/semanticweb/message/1664
john hardin a écrit :
> 
> Adam,
> 
> So you want someone to prove you wrong....   I can't do that quite yet, 

Hmmm...
Cannot this be told the other way around?
To prove Adam is wrong you would just have to prove
that *you* and other semantic web afficionados are right.
So, you cannot prove yet that you are right, can you?

> but there is a group that I have been working with that is driving steadily
> towards a good solution. 

Eh!
Then, how do you know you are "driving steadily towards a good solution" ?
Is it faith?
Or do you have some clues?

[skipping irrelevant technical mumbo jumbo]
 
.../...

> You're right on the exact point that will dramatically lengthen the time it
> takes to stand up the Semantic Web (and automated eBusiness for that
> matter): Each ontology or dictionary is fairly specific to the subject area
> that it deals with. So either everyone has to use the same ontology or
> build compatibility into all their ontologies, taxonomies, vocabularies,
> etc. 

Is it not that "Each ontology or dictionary is fairly specific", 
not only to subject area but *also* to specific usages within the subject area?
For the worse, it is even likely that each ontology would better be specific for each and every task or question within any subject area.
Clearly not achievable, where do you draw the boundary?

Or would you go drastic:
A single "world-wide" ontology encompassing *everything*, Orwell's nightmare!

OTOH, how to "build compatibility" between irreconciliable views from the *same* subject area like the alternative 3d 4d representation of space-time:

http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/programs/philo/faculty/documents/Analysis.pdf
(from within http://www.arts.mcgill.ca/PROGRAMS/philo/faculty/mccall.htm)

See also:
http://www.google.com/search?num=50&hl=en&lr=&ie=UTF-8&safe=off&edition=us&q=3d+4d+representation+of+space-time+site%3Aieee.org&btnG=Search

And *don't* say that "this is only philosophy, we will never have nasty cases like that where business and industry stuff matters".
You *already* have such nastynesses and *lots* of them, you are just not aware!

>The problem is huge, and the solution in the corporate world so far
> has been to create millions of point-to-point mappings between, for
> example, the warehouse management system, the parts ordering system and the
> supply chain company systems that feed the warehouses and factories.

Yes, it works, based on trade-offs and expensive hand tuning.
How do you expect to dispense with the "hand tuning" given that the trade-offs *themselves* depend on each and every specific case at hand?

> Currently I'm standing up the General Motors partner integration framework,

.../...

[more technical mumbo jumbo]
 
> We have made some good progress but the hard work is ahead, 

Yes, indeed!  :o))
You will find out how painfull it is.
And this is just some kind of parts inventory with some lucky restrictions in the variety,
i.e. you may have a large number of different nuts and bolts but their total number 
is (relatively) stable, new and old models *and* their properties don't pop up and disappear like mad at any unexpected moment.
You get some relief between the updates even if only a few days (or may be hours?).

> as the registry stands up, and we begin to solicit input from domain area experts to add
> the qualifiers that reflect their industries... most of the qualifiers have
> been added by people in aerospace, defense, government and automotive. We
> will need input via a collaborative web environment (planned for in the use
> cases) of many experts. 
> Please volunteer by sending me email or sending
> mail to the udef.builders mailing list.

Heading toward hand-crafting a monolithic "all encompassing" ontology.
Will crash and burn, sometime...

> Dave Hollander, one of the inventors of XML, and CTO at Contivo, on the UDEF:
> 
> "Contivo actively supports the Universal Data Element Framework (UDEF).
> Semantic interoperability is a long term goal. 

Long term sure, could you give a figure?

> Reaching that goal will
> require the ability to understand vocabularies quickly and easily.

Before that, it will require what "to understand vocabularies" *means* inside a computer!

.../...

[still technical mumbo jumbo, 
 underlying problems not solved,
 not even STATED!!!]

> "It is the framework which changes with each new technology and
> not just the picture within the frame."
>                                                        -
> Marshall McLuhan, 1955

Excellent quote!
Except today, the framework changes every hour.

Good luck.
Enjoy the ride.
Beware of the wall at the end of the road!

Cheers,

-- Jean-Luc Delatre
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"In a way, math isn't the art of answering mathematical questions,
 it is the art of asking the right questions"  -- Gregory Chaitin
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 http://perso.club-internet.fr/jld/  -- GSM: +33 6 11 24 06 29
Received on Tuesday, 6 July 2004 07:42:54 UTC

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