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Re: [ontolog-forum] Axiomatic ontology

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Cc: Avril Styrman <Avril.Styrman@xxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 30 Jan 2008 17:04:25 -0600
Message-id: <p06230901c3c6b010d398@[]>
At 10:39 PM +0200 1/30/08, Avril Styrman wrote:
>Lainaus Bill Andersen <andersen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>:
>>  To say the web is an "ontology" is nonsense.  What requirements does 
>>  an arbitrary jumble of text need to meet to count as an ontology on 
>>  this view?
>Compare these two ways of expressing the same thing:
>Human is a mammal
><class> Mammal </class>
><class subClassOf:Mammal> Human </class>
>A NL parser can extract the same information (human is
>a mammal) from NL that can also be given in a formal ontology.    (01)

NL parsers cannot extract information. One needs 
also NL semantics. Which of course amounts to an 
ontology. This whole topic of NL understanding 
belongs in AI. One needs a basic acquaintance 
with the subject before forming a useful opinion.    (02)

Your comparison above is childishly simple, and 
does not properly reflect the real problem, which 
has remained intractable for several decades with 
many very clever, highly motivated, people and 
with millions of dollars in funding, trying their 
very best to solve it.    (03)

The Web is NOT an ontology. If you think I am 
wrong, don't argue with me: go ahead and 
implement a tiny fraction of the needed 
functionality, and you will be richer than 
Croesus.    (04)

>E.g. Lotfi Zadeh's Precisiated Natural Language PNL
>is all about using the internet as the source of
>knowledge, and turning it into a formalized form.    (05)

As are many other projects, including IBM's 
multimillion-dollar WebFountain project. None of 
them will ever come remotely close to being able 
to extract coherent structured ontological 
content from free text. The best one can do is to 
'scrape' some approximate shallow, very 
unreliable, propositions and to identify things 
like proper names of people and cities. This is 
of course extremely useful, but it does not come 
anywhere near being able to treat the Web as an 
ontology.    (06)

>This way, the naturally evolving internet contains
>similar sort of information than that what is
>inserted into Cyc by hand.    (07)

No, it does not. If only because the Web does not 
comprise simple declarative sentences of the kind 
found in reading primers.    (08)

Pat    (09)

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