|From:||Frank Guerino <Frank.Guerino@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>|
|Date:||Sat, 15 Sep 2007 21:54:26 -0400|
Being a leader of an enterprise that offers pretty advanced semantic web solutions, I figured I’d step in and contribute. Your statement “From what I understand, the problem has to do with the structural limitations of procedural system applications.” is not something I agree with.
We find that the issues is not the existing systems but the existing data. People build systems “around” data. We find that the world is loaded with lots of system designers and implementers but very few data designers and implementers. The systems that exist are a symptom of bad data. We, as humans, want to believe that we can throw out an essay, on the web, and that some system will auto-magically read that essay, break it up into it’s relevant pieces, categorize things, make associations, file it all away, and allow for recall, at any time, in any way... just like the brain. However, if you break down how the brain works, it is much smarter than the humans that throw out content. From the split second that information is brought into the brain, from any and all working senses, the brain “instantly” starts to break it down, categorize it, correlate it, store it, etc. The brain instantly breaks things down into neatly organized and highly definable “pieces” that fit into spatial and temporal relationships. This is why you can recall many things that are “red” when you think of the color “red”. The brain makes the effort to neatly file bits and pieces of the bigger picture, at the time of creation, within the brain.
Humans, don’t follow this practice with the data we create. For example, we write very long bodies of work that are contained within constructs we call “narratives, stories, essays, etc.”. These are very coarse constructs have very limited descriptive metadata about what is contained within them. The brain, on the other hand, does not store things in such coarse constructs. It stores things in very “fine”, “small” constructs that have very precise meanings because of the relationships that are bound to any one construct.
For semantic web to work properly, humans will have to change the way we think about and work with data/information/knowledge. Things like natural language processors, correlation engines, etc. are currently being explored to solve problems very different ways than the brain solves them. There is a very high probability that they will not solve the “semantic” problem in our lifetimes. However, there are a few enterprises out there that get what the real problem is. Even the Semantic Web standards, such as RDF and WOL (OWL) cater to a whole new way of dealing with data that is radically different than the way we do so, today.
We have proven all of this to ourselves and our customers, both, in our research and in our implementation. Because we focus on data, we can easily build a system around the data that works far more like the brain than any other system we’ve seen. We naturally create data, relationships and meaning as people work, which allows the effective and powerful reuse and understanding of data, later, when it’s needed by different people, at different times, under different contexts. This is not to say that we’ve achieved anything close to what the brain does or how it does it. There are no systems we know of that have. We’ve simply achieved some pretty different and impressive things, all because of changing how we think of and work with data.
So, in summary, if we want to get to a truly semantic web, my experience tells me that we shouldn’t be focused on changing the systems that exist. Instead, we really need to be focused on changing how we publish and work with data. If we do not, the systems that exist will continue to exist and grow to solve the data problems at hand. They are a symptom of the problem, not the problem or the solution for that matter. If we change how with work with data, new systems will evolve to appropriately deal with these new approaches. These new systems will be very different than those we see and are accustomed to, today.
NOTE: I agree very much with your last paragraph. My post is not to diminish your point but simply to point out that our experience tells us that data is the primary issue, not the systems that work with the data.
Anyhow, I hope this helps.
Frank Guerino, CEO
On-Demand Knowledge Management
On 9/15/07 8:44 PM, "Dennis L. Thomas" <DLThomas@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
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