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Re: Semantic Ambiguity

From: Henry Story <henry.story@bblfish.net>
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 2010 15:33:01 +0100
Cc: Patrick Durusau <patrick@durusau.net>, Kingsley Idehen <kidehen@openlinksw.com>, Dave Reynolds <dave.e.reynolds@gmail.com>, "public-lod@w3.org" <public-lod@w3.org>
Message-Id: <81F6C7A2-8EF8-4AF7-9498-4AC56760D6DA@bblfish.net>
To: William Waites <ww@styx.org>
I'd start differently. Start with the social web, and simple terms such
as foaf and sioc. The build up meanings from the ground up, piece by
piece by introducing value at each point in the game. Grow the network
effect that way. Some of the issues of the linked data movement are in my
view just issues of the complexity of the vocabularies and the size of the
task at hand. Global naming is going to be useful, but by taking such a big
problem, the linked data community is just confronting many big problems
simultaneously, which is why it can seem intractable. The network effect
will end up working itself out. 

I go into the social web, the network effect and linked data more in here



On 12 Nov 2010, at 15:03, William Waites wrote:

> On Fri, Nov 12, 2010 at 08:40:14AM -0500, Patrick Durusau wrote:
>> Semantic ambiguity isn't going to go away. It is part and parcel of the
>> very act of communication. 
>> [...]
>> Witness the lack of uniform semantics in the linked data community over
>> something as common as sameAs. As the linked data community expands, so
>> are the number of interpretations of sameAs. 
>> Why can't we fashion solutions for how we are rather than wishing for
>> solution for how we aren't? 
> I was at a lecture by Dave Robertson [0] the other day where
> he talked about some of the ideas behind one of his current
> projects [1]. Particularly relevant was the idea of completely
> abandoning any attempts at global semantics and instead working
> on making sure the semantics are clear on a local communication
> channel (as I understood it).
> So maybe that would mean a different meaning for sameAs in
> different datasets, and that's just fine as long as the reader
> is aware of that and fasions some transformation from their
> notion of sameAs to their peer's, mutatis mutandis for other
> predicates and classes.
> In some ways this is similar to how we use language. If I'm
> talking to a computer scientist I'll use a different but 
> overlapping sub-language of English than if I'm talking to the
> postman. If I'm talking to a non-native English speaker I'll
> modify my speech so as to be more easily understood. Around
> here, "tea" means "supper" but a short distance to the South
> it more likely means a snack with cakes and cucumber sandwiches.
> The important thing is a context of communication which modifies
> -- and disambiguates meaning. This might be touched on in the
> RDF Semantics with the not often mentioned idea of an
> interpretation of a graph.
> How does this square with the apparent tendency to want to treat
> statements as overarching universal truths?
> Cheers,
> -w
> [0] http://www.dai.ed.ac.uk/groups/ssp/members/dave.htm
> [1] http://socialcomputer.eu/

Social Web Architect
Received on Friday, 12 November 2010 14:33:38 UTC

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