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Re: [ontolog-forum] What is "understanding"

To: "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Sergei Nirenburg <sergei@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2008 18:39:29 -0400
Message-id: <E3665595-4E3E-47F9-AAB0-984F5CA3CBC4@xxxxxxxx>
On Apr 1, 2008, at 5:40 PM, John F. Sowa wrote:    (01)

> Pat,
> There is an enormous amount of information to be decoded from
> any NL text, and no single method, by itself, is sufficient.
>> But after working through that wonderful resource [Roget's],
>> I concluded that deeper text understanding could not be supported
>> by anything less than a logic-based ontology...
> There is no single module that can do everything, not even a
> theorem prover combined with a deeply axiomatized ontology.    (02)

Let me second John's opinions.    (03)

I think that we need to use any source of
heuristics that we can get for the tasks of
NL analysis and generation.    (04)

We have been trying this for a long time. The
latest direction has been reference (not simply
co-reference) resolution work.    (05)

> Please read Minsky's _Society of Mind_    (06)

and The Emotion Machine    (07)

> and my paper about the
> Flexible Modular Framework:
>     http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/arch.htm
>     Architectures for Intelligent Systems
> These approaches can accommodate and integrate a multiplicity
> of methods, including logic, analogy, case-base reasoning,
> statistics, spreading activations, and even WEP.    (08)

I completely agree with John about omnivorousness of processing
methods.    (09)

But don't let's forget knowledge acquisition (ontologies,
fact repositories, lexicons, etc.) and empirical derivation of the best
ways of combining evidence from heuristics obtained
from diverse sources (morphology, syntax, semantics
of text, discourse situation, prior knowledge and
experience).    (010)

This work is still the core of the problem. It's expensive
but seems the only way for those of us who are interested in
fruit that's not hanging low but rather that holds a
promise of a solution to our problem.    (011)

Incidentally, I am not saying that all this acquisition should
be done completely manually. Automating acquisition of
knowledge of the kind we are talking about (that is, not only
knowledge about co-occurrences of textual strings, however
sophisticated) is a very interesting problem. A number of
people are working on this issue. If I may be forgiven for
plugging something I am helping to organize, here
is one relevant workshop announcement:
http://www.coral-lab.org/ICSC08-workshop.htm    (012)

As to WEP, my bad: I haven't read the postings closely and
actually thought that Pat's references to word experts referred
to the old Small and Rieger work...    (013)

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