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Re: EE Times - Sony lab tips 'emergent semantics' to make sense of Web

From: Frank Manola <fmanola@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2004 09:44:19 -0500
Message-ID: <418B91C3.5010501@acm.org>
To: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
CC: Arjohn Kampman <arjohn.kampman@aduna.biz>, www-rdf-interest@w3.org

A couple of comments

Graham Klyne wrote:
> I saw this (or a version of it), and had two leading thoughts:
> 1. The new technology was presented as a competitor to the Semantic Web 
> technologies, in a way which suggests to me a mistaken (or, at least, 
> very narrow) view of what Semantic Web technology is about.  To my view, 
> a system that can perform automatic ontology extraction/generation is a 
> natural complement to the W3C raft of technologies (if it works).  
> There's nothing in OWL and RDF, for example, that demands that 
> application developers do ontological markup by hand, or that such 
> information be embedded into all data sources.  I quite frequently 
> stumble across projects to interpret existing data sources/formats as 
> RDF (e.g. the calendaring task force work to interpret iCalendar data,  
> various proposals to present relational database information as RDF, etc.).

I think this is the correct view.  Part of the problem is that lots of 
discussions of the Semantic Web (and its "competitors") cast this as 
being somehow all one technique vs. all of another.  IMO, the Semantic 
Web, per se, doesn't really care how the semantic information is 
acquired, just that it's there, and is available to programs that want 
to process Web information.  All available sources of such information 
clearly need to be exploited, which includes emergent semantics. 
However, this information also includes definitions that already exist 
in database schemas, industry nomenclatures of various sorts, and so on 
(and emergent semantics might help in amplifying such information as 
well).  One of the things that such articles indicate is that there's 
clearly a lot more work needed to accurately convey what the Semantic 
Web is about to a wider community!

> 2. Sony's new technology has apparently just been patented.  Which I 
> think kills it dead in the water as a potential replacement for RDF, OWL 
> and friends.  The level of fundamental infrastructure needs to be 
> completely free and open to survive as such, IMO.

This sort of depends on what the patented technology actually does.  For 
example, it seems to me that any semantics that emerges from 
conversations between agents needs to be captured in some concrete form, 
so that it doesn't have to be rederived for each conversation, and can 
be used as a building block for further communication.  The concrete 
form might very well be OWL, or some amplification thereof.  The 
detailed processes by which the semantics derivation is performed might, 
on the other hand, be patentable.


> #g
> -- 
> At 10:23 05/11/04 +0100, Arjohn Kampman wrote:
>> Someone just notified me of the following article on EE Times:
>> http://www.eetimes.com/article/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=51201131
>> "As the World Wide Web Consortium hammers out specifications on how to
>> recode the databases of the world so that natural-language queries can
>> be intelligently answered online, Sony Corp. says it has found a better
>> way."
>> Don't know what to think of this article. Is it for real? Comments,
>> anyone?
>> Arjohn
>> -- 
>> arjohn.kampman@aduna.biz
>> Aduna BV - http://aduna.biz/
>> Prinses Julianaplein 14-b, 3817 CS Amersfoort, The Netherlands
>> tel. +31-(0)33-4659987  fax. +31-(0)33-4659987
> ------------
> Graham Klyne
> For email:
> http://www.ninebynine.org/#Contact
Received on Friday, 5 November 2004 14:39:45 UTC

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