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Re: [ontolog-forum] What do ontologies have to do with meaning?

To: cassidy@xxxxxxxxx, "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Mike Brenner <mikeb@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 05 Jun 2004 15:38:06 -0400
Message-id: <40C2211E.A81A2BAE@xxxxxxxxx>
Hi Pat,    (01)

I agree completely.     (02)

It may even happen sooner than when we get robots with that power.
It is happening now with all sorts of planning tools which
have a human in the loop to approve the actions and/or
the falsification from those planning tools. Thus the
"robot" is the combination of the sensors, network,
planning software, human trainers, and human decision
makers.    (03)

Mike    (04)

Patrick Cassidy wrote:
> Mike --
>    As I mentioned, we are dealing with very practical,
> not philosophical issues.  There are two kinds of
> things computers can do for us: interpret and act on
> communications, and perform robotic activities.
>    In dealing with the interpretation of communications or
> input data that a person created, a stationary computer
> will only need to be able to determine what was in the
> mind of the creator of the document or data in order to
> respond appropriately.  That is the issue I discussed in my
> reply.  These representations will generally include the context
> and of course they commonly refer to physical situations in the
> world, and will include things that can only be partially defined.
> But the only physical contacts that our desk computers have is
> with the peripherals from which they will get information and
> to which they will transmit information.  The conceptual structures
> in the ontology will include information on how interactions
> with those peripherals relate to the conceptual structures
> (e.g., get an invoice, find the amount due, print a check.)
> Other than the peripherals, the computers we are concerned
> with at present do not interact directly with the external
> world, only with representations of the external world
> that people create based on the representations in
> our minds.  In this case the "true meaning" is indeed
> what was intended by the person creating the communication.
>     Certainly, deciding how best to represent physical entities
> in abstract conceptual structures is a very relevant
> issue, even if if were possible to divorce it from simply
> trying to reproduce the way people have already represented those
> physical things in their minds.  But after many years of debate
> it should be quite clear that the only objective way to know what
> manner of encoding is better than another is to see how applications
> using that encoding perform on real tasks.  It won't be
> resolved by debating at a workshop.  It's been tried.
>     Only when we get to robotics or interpretation of
> physical sensor information will it be necessary for the
> computer to form its own model of the external physical
> world, rather than depending on the model encoded in its
> own ontology and in the minds of those agents with which
> it is in communication.  Robotic agents with those kinds of
> sensory/motion capabilities will then need some
> ability to form models of the external world based on
> input from its sensors, and it will be in a position to
> experimentally verify or falsify theories and models of
> the external world.  Then you get into the question of how
> to determine whether the conceptual structures faithfully represent
> the physical objects and processes. This is an interesting topic,
> but it is not necessary to address those issues when
> dealing with information-processing tasks such as
> the interpretation of communications.  There are research
> projects in which the creation and verification of models
> of physical situations are investigated in the context
> of robot action.  We aren't dealing with those at present.
>       For this group at this point we do not
> anticipate that our computers will contradict us when
> we make assertions about the external world, unless
> there is some logical inconsistency in our assertions.
> The information we give to the computer will be taken
> as fact, and if we specify the context it will be
> recorded as fact in a particular context. The computer
> only needs to be able to determine what conceptual structures
> we had in mind when creating a communication, and
> consult the specifications of its program to determine
> what decisions need to be made based on those conceptual
> structures.  So, for this purpose, yes, there are physical
> forms that are referenced by these conceptual structures, but
> the non-robotic computer has no possible way of contradicting
> the models and conceptual structures in the mind of the
> communicators, so the philosophical question of the
> relation of those structures to those physical entities they
> represent does not arise in our communication programs.
>      As I mentioned, our goals at this point are very
> practical.  But the ability to encode and decode
> conceptual structures in the form of a communication
> will not be in any way contradictory to the goals
> of a robotic/sensor system that may need to create
> and verify internal models of the external world.  The
> two can interact when the time to do so is at hand.
> For our present purposes, we trust that the person
> encoding the model of the external world has done a
> competent job, for whatever purposes the encoding
> was done (which purpose will also be part of
> the encoding).   Whether the program works as intended
> is the only way I know of to determine if the
> encoding was done properly.
>      Pat
> Mike Brenner wrote:
> > I would like to become familiar with ontology tools
> > capable of expressing more than simple "literal" meaning.
> >
> > I would like a "true meaning", by which I mean
> > a clustering of information showing how the literal meaning
> > maps to the multiple contexts. That mapping
> > includes constraints, dependencies, and effects
> > from partially defined and partially related chains of symbols.
> >
> > Thus, I don't see meaning as related to conceptual forms in
> > the mind of the reader, but rather to physical forms which
> > are the context in which the communication takes place.
> >
> > Mike Brenner
> >
> >
> --
> =============================================
> Patrick Cassidy
> MICRA, Inc.                      || (908) 561-3416
> 735 Belvidere Ave.               || (908) 668-5252 (if no answer above)
> Plainfield, NJ 07062-2054
> internet:   cassidy@xxxxxxxxx
> =============================================
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