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Re: "maybe even in the fact that you use words as all," (sic)

From: Tab Atkins Jr. <jackalmage@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2008 12:10:50 -0500
Message-ID: <dd0fbad0807171010u3aa217c6kbe942d0ddbeee0b3@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd)" <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk>
Cc: "Brad Kemper" <brkemper@comcast.net>, "Jonathan Chetwynd" <j.chetwynd@btinternet.com>, "Bert Bos" <bert@w3.org>, www-svg <www-svg@w3.org>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
On Thu, Jul 17, 2008 at 11:52 AM, Philip TAYLOR (Ret'd) <P.Taylor@rhul.ac.uk>

> If a person can only communicate in simple pictures, like Koko the gorilla,
> then they have special needs that they could only be expected to be served
> by special Web sites, not the mainstream. (Koko knew some sign language too,
> but that would be more equivalent to spoken language, and thus not
> relevant.)
> Not sure I agree there : it would be nice to
> think that we might some day be able to transform
> XML into whatever medium is most appropriate to
> each individual, rather than requiring special
> sites for special needs.

While a wonderful dream, you're effectively asking for machine translation
into a vastly varying medium, while machine translation between ordinary
languages is still an extremely imperfect process.  No amount of xml or
tagging will do this appropriately even if you *could* convince authors to
integrate it into their markup (which they won't, in general, as even a
flawed effort would require a massive expenditure of effort to achieve
anything close to reasonable); you need strong AI that can read and
understand a document by itself and then intelligently translate it into
another medium.

So, in order to do this right, we need strong AI, and once we have strong
AI, we don't need to expend extra effort on doing this.  So the correct
course of action is to do nothing in this regard and instead fund AI
researchers.  ^_^

We can still try to improve our accessibility, of course, in ways that
*don't* require enormous expenditures of effort to achieve something useful
(that's one part of semantic markup, after all), but not in the directions
that you're discussing.

Received on Thursday, 17 July 2008 17:11:31 UTC

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