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Re: AGENDA/L<ogistics - Dec 6 Telecon

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Thu, 6 Dec 2001 12:43:48 -0600
Message-Id: <p0510100bb8356987a0ad@[65.212.118.193]>
To: "Peter F. Patel-Schneider" <pfps@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: www-webont-wg@w3.org
>As it has come up in the Semantic Web Coordination Group, it might be worth
>spending a short while discussing point nine of XML in 10 points.  As you
>might expect I have strong reservations about the claims therein concerning
>RDF.

Me too. We really ought to put a stern stop to this kind of thing, as 
publicly as possible; it is simply irresponsible to make claims like 
this. Who wrote this rubbish?

>peter
>
>
>
>
>Please review item #9 in the XML in 10 points:
>[[
>XML is the basis for RDF

Wrong. XML is not the 'basis' for RDF. It provides one notation, but 
it is not either basic, or best, or most acceptable.

>and the Semantic Web
>
>XML provides an unambiguous syntax for W3C's RDF, the language

>A language, not the language

>for
>expressing metadata (in fact, for knowledge in general

That is nonsensical, or at best seriously misleading.

>). RDF is like
>hypertext elevated to the next level. Whereas hypertext links pieces
>of text and leaves their relation vague, RDF can link anything and
>everything

Again, obvious nonsense. It confuses 'link' in some textual sense 
with 'refer to'. But to say that a language can refer to anything and 
everything is vacuous. Grafitti on a subway wall can refer to 
anything and everything.

>and assigns names to the relations: 'A is the price of B'
>can be a relation between an object and a sum of money; 'A is
>heavier than B' can be the relation between two sumo wrestlers; 'A
>is the cause of B' can be the relation between a shower and your
>being wet. To communicate knowledge, whether in XML/RDF or in plain
>English, both people and machines need to agree on what words to
>use.

That claim could be argued for, but it suggests a sad depth of 
incomprehension about the nature (and difficulties) of knowledge 
representation.

>A precisely defined set of words to describe a certain area of
>life (from 'shopping' to 'mathematical logic') is called an
>'ontology.'

Wrong, if the writer means 'words' in the sense I suspect he does.

>  RDF, ontologies, and the representation of meaning so
>that computers can help people do work are all topics of the
>Semantic Web Activity.

This somehow leaves a confused (and false) impression of something 
new and magical emerging from the semantic web activity, and an even 
more confused and false implication that it has anything much to do 
with XML.

Pat Hayes


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Received on Thursday, 6 December 2001 14:36:41 GMT

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