Re: Semantic Layers (Was Interpretation of RDF reification)


For "pragmatics", read "purpose", "relevance", and "intent".
I certainly admit that current methods of NLP don't do a
good job of deriving that kind of information from ordinary
language.  On the other hand, they don't do a good job of
deriving the syntax and semantics either.

But what I meant about RDF and OWL is that the original
*humans* didn't have a clear idea of what, why, and how
anybody was going to use that stuff.  There was no design
competition or evaluation of alternatives.  They just froze
the spec's at an alpha-level stage without building and
testing any prototypes.

 > But as far as pragmatics as a distinct subject matter and
 > discipline goes, I would go as far to say that there aren't
 > even any good second-rate theories, much less first-rate
 > theories. And without an even informal theory, one can't
 > formalize (or even vacuously formalize), much less standardize
 > in the domain independent way needed by the SemWeb and other KR.

True.  But there are humans who have good taste.  Steve Jobs,
for example, outperformed IBM, Microsoft, and Xerox management
in recognizing the potential of what became the Macintosh.
And then he outperformed all the market studies by Sony in
developing the iPod.

Designing a good language requires a lot of good taste and
a very large amount of test studies, design competitions, etc.,
to evaluate alternatives.  Anyone with good taste who looks
at RDF and OWL tends to...  (You can fill in the dots with
colorful metaphors.)  But even if those languages looked good,
a lot of testing would be required to ensure that they served
the purpose -- assuming that anyone had a clear idea of what
their purpose was supposed to be, which I seriously doubt.

 > That's a problem with KR in general, not just the SemWeb,
 > and resolving that problem lies in the hands of SemWeb
 > application deployment, which would vary from context to
 > context. And that appears to be one of the problems that
 > led to AI winter.

If you're saying that nobody knows the requirements for a
good KR system, I'm willing to agree.  That is why the idea
of edicting an alpha-level design without any testing or
design competition was ill conceived.  That's also why I
designed the Flexible Modular Framework and made sure that
it could support any or all KR languages (or even natural
languages, for that matter) that anyone might desire.

My major complaint about IBM's Future System of the 1970s,
about every version of Microsoft Windows, and about the
SemWeb is that they aren't flexible or modular.  The only
one that has proved to be successful so far is Windows, but
with enormous expense.  The current estimate for MS Vista
is $40 billion, and it is many years behind schedule.

Apple's OS X is built on top of a version of Unix, which is
much more flexible and modular than Windows.  Therefore, they
have already implemented most of the features that are planned
for Vista at a fraction of the cost in time, money, and human

Moral:  I suggest that the SemWebbers either think more like
Steve Jobs than Bill Gates or that they do more design
competitions and evaluation of alternatives.


Received on Thursday, 30 March 2006 00:06:51 UTC