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Re: [ontolog-forum] Reality and semantics. [Was: Thing and Class]

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Rich Cooper" <rich@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 19 Sep 2008 16:35:16 -0700
Message-id: <20080919233527.28051138CE6@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
============================================  ===========================
PH>> By and large, its the people who build the best robots or the
 >> best NL-comprehension software who also tend to write the best
 >> academic papers.    (01)

JFS>I agree.  But that is because the people who build the best robots
and NLP systems are forced to understand the distinctions and
*synthesize* them.  The ones who compartmentalize those topics
(logic, ontology, and epistemology) in separate academic fields
are rarely the ones who make significant breakthroughs.
============================================  ===========================    (02)

This seems like a gross over generalization based on a circular definition
of what is "best".  If by "best", you mean work that supports papers, then I
find that an untenable definition.  People who build working robots that are
widely sold and used (iRobot, industrial robots, Aibo ...) are NOT those who
write papers about their creations.  I think this set of robots is more
qualified to be judged "best".  Academic paper writers usually build toys
which they use to explore some infinitesimal part of the technology, and
their toys almost NEVER get used in any real world situation.      (03)

The Predator, MQ-8B Fire Scout, RQ-2 Pioneer, the various cruise missiles
and other successful military robots are not written about by academics, but
are widely used in today's military theaters.  These robots save lives.  I
think that qualifies as a much better definition of "best".      (04)

In NLP, the published papers are also about tiny aspects of the automated
language comprehension problem, such as discourse analysis methods.  Those
projects almost NEVER result in widely used software.  The best voice
recognition software (Dragon Naturally Speaking) is not an academic project,
but a commercial success.      (05)

The main reason I left academia was that most research projects are
constrained by tight funding, narrow scope, and bureaucracy costs
outweighing the funding spent on the actual work.  Publishing is the main
payoff for academics who want tenure.  The results of their research are
very much secondary.  I don't consider that environment "best".      (06)

So the implied definition of "best" in this context is highly questionable.    (07)

-Rich    (08)

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