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RE: What is truth anyways? was: [...]

From: Peter Crowther <peter.crowther@networkinference.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jun 2002 09:44:36 +0100
Message-ID: <B6F03FDBA149CA41B6E9EB8A329EB12D1AC4D4@vault.melandra.net>
To: "'Jim Hendler'" <hendler@cs.umd.edu>
Cc: www-rdf-logic@w3.org

> From: Jim Hendler [mailto:hendler@cs.umd.edu] 
> Interesting Pat, so you're saying that when I stick my little plastic 
> card into the Automated teller in Italy, and it hands me Euros 
> charging an appropriate exchange rate against my machine in the US, 
> that they are using a formal model theory to make it work -- can you 
> show it to me??    err, perhaps sometimes you underestimate what can 
> be done with "social agreements" instead of pure logic...

In this case, those 'social agreements' are specs of various banking
interchange formats plus places to download exchange rates and maps of card
number prefixes to issuers.  These are all written by humans, interpreted by
humans, and turned into (often buggy) special-purpose code and text files by

The snag is that, with the SW, we're trying to remove this human
interpretation and special-purpose code writing.  That, to me, is what makes
the SW interesting: that I can create (essentially) some fancy data that
complies with some standards, and be certain that I can convey its formal
meaning to any other SW agent that is compliant with those standards.  In
the case of some financial transactions, the standards-compliant data
represents financial transactions.  That's boring.  I'm interested in
transferring as much formal meaning as possible around the Semantic Web and
in ensuring that meaning can be interpreted --- unambiguously and according
to my original intentions --- by the widest range of automated systems.
Natural language and comments *in the data*, as opposed to the specification
of the data format, are not going to help me achieve this, as there are no
humans in the loop to interpret that natural language and modify the
automated systems to understand that data.  The natural language comments
are not part of any social agreement; they are merely included by one party.

		- Peter
Received on Wednesday, 12 June 2002 10:33:32 UTC

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