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Re: Rich semantics and expressiveness

From: Alejandro Cabral <alejandro.cabral@oracle.com>
Date: Mon, 05 Mar 2007 13:26:33 -0300
Message-ID: <45EC44B9.9030404@oracle.com>
To: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
CC: tim.glover@bt.com, hans.teijgeler@quicknet.nl, semantic-web@w3.org
Hi to all, just an opinion if I may...

I joined this effort, this task of "re-inventing" the way the web works 
because I truly believe it is the first Mass Media and the only 
"shared-knowledge" environment than can set human potential free. Just 
as an example: my nephew is 11, and he already understands important 
programing concepts. He's always interested in developing "thingies" as 
he called them, and one day he found out that something called 
"standard" ruled somehow the languages he was now learning, so he asked 
me who made those standards, what was the idea behind them, what where 
they finally for and what would happen if there were no standards set? 
So, after a huge headache I decided to introduce him to "Weaving the 
web: The original..." by Tim. To my surprise, this not-quite-a-teen but 
a "post-child" as he calls himself actually...understood most of this 
book and was quite eager to learn more. He wonīt understand things like 
"meaning" yet but he somehow senses it has to do with this.

So finally my point is: the younger are not just learning about the 
Internet, they are also re-inventing it and meaning is not a common word 
to them, but it should be set as a standard if thatīs what we are 
building. Meaning is simple to understand, it has nothing to do with the 
"semantic" in SW. I come from the Communications field, where "meaning" 
and "semantic" always come with "Peirce" and "Saussure" behind. When I 
first understood that the SW could somehow reflect all this, I decided 
to work for it but trust me: "Semantic" and "Meaning" here are special 
concepts that we should really try to clarify even when this may be and 
old hat. That should be the first standard we set for the SW.

Sandro Hawke wrote:

>>It is ironic that the word "semantic" seems to have become 
>I sometimes joke about how the word "meaning" doesn't seem to have any
>meaning any more.  :-) (But in fact it does -- the most effective
>definitions I find for "meaning" and "semantics" have to do with
>entailments, with consequences, eventually with impact on people's
>>What are the ambitions of the semantic web? 
>>Sorry if this is old hat, but I am not sure that the SW community even 
>>agree what "semantic" means.
>It's about shared impact on our lives, shared experience -- which we're
>quite familiar with from the web.  The web works because web addresses
>are effective ways to refer for sharable experiences.
>Earlier, Hans wrote:
>>What I see happening is that 
>>everybody can and often does invent instances of owl:Class and 
>>owl:ObjectProperty on-the-fly, and then seems to expect that DL will be 
>>the band-aid that solves all integration problems. In order to assist 
>>the reasoners all sorts of qualifications are added (re OWL1.1), but to 
>>me it seems that when this is done, actually a (rather private) data 
>>model is created again.
>>The thing puzzling me is how the SW community can see what I cannot see, 
>>and that is how on earth you can achieve what your Activity Statement 
>>says, without such a standard generic data model and derived standard 
>>reference data (taxonomy and ontology). But perhaps not many SW-ers 
>>bother about the need of universal integration, and are happily 
>>operating within their own subdomain, such as FOAF.
>The missing trick, I think, is the "Web" part of "Semantic Web".  The
>idea is that whenever you invent an owl:Class or owl:ObjectProperty or
>whatever, you put it on the web.  (That's why its name is a URI,
>although I recognize there are still some huge practical and theoretical
>problems with this vision.)  And then, in theory, the basic social
>forces which give us a few good web pages about any subject -- and make
>the web useful -- also push toward reuse, maintenance, and improvement
>of core ontology elements.
>   -- Sandro
Received on Monday, 5 March 2007 16:27:26 UTC

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