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Re: [ontolog-forum] Looking forward at the past

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 07 Oct 2008 17:27:15 -0400
Message-id: <48EBD433.9000503@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Pat,    (01)

You have made statements like that for a long time, but I fail
to see any evidence for that claim:    (02)

PC> I believe that the best prospect for achieving semantic
> interoperability among a very wide number of users is for the
> users to agree on using the same common foundation ontology
> that is open to inclusion of elements from any source, mediated
> by a technical committee that is also open for membership.
> The structure of that ontology, and the content of the most
> basic ('primitive') concept representations will have to be
> agreed to by the users.    (03)

For example, I may achieve "semantic interoperability" with
a plumber, a dentist, a clerk at the supermarket, a waiter
at a restaurant, and a contractor who makes some repairs to
my house.    (04)

But in each case, the agreement is on specific task-oriented
details.  There is never any need for the six of us to agree
on a foundational ontology.  Instead, the agreement is always
on very low-level task-oriented details that are different
for each pair of interactions.    (05)

Sometimes, I successfully interoperate with people whose knowledge
of English is limited to a tiny subset that covers that task.  For
most of our common purposes, that subset is adequate.  But if an
exception occurs, we may need to call a supervisor to mediate.    (06)

The issues most important for interoperability of two agents
X and Y are limited to a very narrow *intersection* of the
knowledge that X and Y have.  If agent X interacts with Y and Z,
X may use different intersections with each of them that have
very little in common.    (07)

For the plumber, dentist, clerk, waiter, and contractor, that
common intersection includes dollars, cents, counting, and the
basic knowledge of the physical world that I share with my cat.
When I interact with Amazon.com, you can even omit the physical
world.    (08)

John    (09)

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