W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-webont-wg@w3.org > December 2001

Re: review of XML in 10 points [was: AGENDA...]

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>
Date: Fri, 7 Dec 2001 12:25:59 -0600
Message-Id: <p0510101bb836b4838df2@[]>
To: hendler@cs.umd.edu
Cc: phayes@ai.uwf.edu, janet@w3.org, bert@w3.org, em@w3.org, liam@w3.org, www-webont-wg@w3.org
>[snip of whole conversation]
>Folks - with due respect, we will have more than enough mail on this 
>list without a lot of extra issues brought in that cause flaming and 
>all.  Remember also that this mailing list is public, and that a 
>number of non-WG-members are reading and following our discussions 
>-- those that should be directed to a larger audience can go to 
>www-rdf-logic, those that don't need sharing can be
>replied to without cc'ing the list.
>Please think hard about whether your responses need to go to the 
>whole webont mailing list instead of to the sender.

OK, fair enough. I will keep my editorial comments and suggestions 
in-house after this message.

>Meanwhile, since this has been aired in public, with due respect to 
>Peter and Pat, if one reads this in the context of the other 9 
>points, and at the level at which it was written, I thought it was 
>pretty good - here is the email I sent to the Coordination group 
>(which I am a member of):
>At 7:49 AM -0500 12/6/01, Jim Hendler wrote:
>>I'll go out on a limb here and say that I think this is pretty 
>>good. As is my wont, I immediately began to try to improve it, but 
>>after hacking around for a while, I ended up leaving it just how it 

Well, maybe Peter and I have rather more sensitive hype-sensors. I 
come to the discussion from many (count them) years of AI having gone 
though a publicity hell, followed by a funding winter, all largely 
from ludicrously high public expectations having been aroused (by the 
early successes of expert systems, largely) and then disillusion 
setting in. After spending two years as president of AAAI giving 
press interviews where I was asked to explain why AI had 'failed', or 
told that if we would change the name to something other than "AI" 
then the company would come back to our trade fair, I am maybe more 
than typically sensitized to the need to speak with great care and 
even caution when claiming to be able to represent (all of human) 
knowledge, or to provide a general (universal, all-encompassing) 
semantic notation, or similar phrases, even if the parts in the 
brackets aren't said explicitly; because even if you don't say them, 
people will hear them (and accuse you of having said them, when you 
can't deliver the goods.)

Seems to me that the SW does not need to get involved with these 
grandiose issues in any case. Just as a purely technical idea it is 
exciting enough: software agents using current (limited, but useful) 
KR technology to perform B2B and other transactions all around the 
planet at electronic speeds; a potential basis for a new kind of 
information economy, one in which the potential to make money is in 
lockstep with Moore's law: isn't that enough, for goodness sake? Do 
we really need to imply that the SW is going to magically encode all 
of human thought, or revolutionize semiotics, or somehow change the 
nature of meaning?


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Received on Friday, 7 December 2001 13:26:08 UTC

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