Regarding Point 3 from John "...it requires great effort for people to
write with precision" (01)
Many forms of writing are very precise. Patent claims, architectural
specifications, legal documents are only three examples. Every word is
neccessary or it is removed. Ambiguities do not stay around very long
because sooner or later there is a conflict and the need for a
determination and explicit interpretation. Interpretations are also
documented and cite what they are based on creating even richer
records over time. (02)
A computer doesn't need to bark at such writers, the documents going
out into the world already have the power to do that. Words with
unusually high impact are usually reflected by a dollar amount, a time
difference, or some real world evidence that can also be used to help
pin down exact interpretations. (03)
In my opinion, carefully prepared language in documents that already
adhere to disciplined standards make sense "ontologize" first -
because order is already imposed by the information itself being
exchanged and documented - or written and read. (04)
On 2/20/07, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
> Duane, Debbie, Pat, et al.,
> That is true of every natural language:
> DN> I may not have worded it correctly, but the key point is
> > that in certain languages, some words become "favorites" which
> > I interpreted to mean they "carried more weight" than others.
> > Some words in a sentence actually modify the context of the
> > other words in the sentence.
> Different languages put different emphasis on different features,
> but they all treat some words as more significant than others.
> Telegraph style or the jargon used in instant messaging shows
> how much can be deleted while still retaining some measure of
> DN> This makes it very difficult to nail down the semantics of
> > any one word in an ontology, dictionary or other lexicon.
> Almost every word in every sentence in every natural language
> can get professional linguists, logicians, and philosophers
> bogged down in endless wrangling over what it means.
> DMacP> The point is more the relationship between reader and
> > writer. Whether these are multiple people or multiple computers.
> > A preferred or required sequence of understanding.
> For special purposes, a small group of people (or intelligent
> agents) can work out conventions for pinning down the meanings
> of various words.
> PH> The moral to draw is that human languages are a poor model
> > for ontology languages, which have to be used by poor dumb
> > uncultured computers with no wise humans to help them.
> I agree to a certain extent, but with qualifications:
> 1. Humans are so good at interpreting NLs that other humans
> can become very lazy in their modes of expression.
> 2. Computers are much better than humans in *detecting*
> ambiguities, but they are much worse in determining what
> to do about them.
> 3. Therefore, it requires great effort for people to write
> with precision in their native language. It can be done,
> but only when a computer is present to bark at them whenever
> they make the inevitable errors or ambiguities.
> 4. Consequently, training in a less tolerant language, such
> as symbolic logic or a programming language, is necessary
> to help people see how much work needs to be done to state
> everything with the utmost of precision.
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