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[ontolog-forum] Distributed Knowledge?

To: <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Sean Barker" <sean.barker@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 19:31:17 +0100
Message-id: <24DBD79CABE2477DB9AC2A30262C7D1E@PackardDesk>
Distributed Knowledge?    (01)

1) The interpretation of (some) natural language requires knowledge of what 
is being spoken about, and not just grammar and the meaning of individual 
words - compare the meaning of "flies" between "Fruit flies like a banana" 
and "Time flies like an arrow". Here the knowledge used might be of the 
habits of Drosophila or the analogies for time.    (02)

2) As a working definition, knowledge is information used intelligently, and 
intelligence is inference moderated by knowledge. (To avoid non-circularity, 
one might say something like knowledge and intelligence are two aspects of 
the same thing, or that knowledge and intelligence are emergent properties 
of the combination of inference and information.)    (03)

3) If one to read Pierce naively, one might assume that the sign <b>is</b> 
the information that is used to invoke the interpretant sign. Perhaps better 
that the sign is the trigger for inference and that inference uses knowledge 
intelligently to generate the interpretant sign (otherwise how would I 
understand the difference between 'Fruit flies' and 'Time flies')    (04)

4) Situation awareness is a measure of how well a person understands a 
situation. A typical human factors analysis identifies three levels of 
situation awareness: perception, comprehension and projection.
- perception: I see a man with a sword and he is waving it
- comprehension: the man is preparing to use the sword
- projection: in the near future, the man will attack me.
The transition from one level to the next depends on (background) knowledge 
and intelligence of the person.    (05)

5) The OASIS-fp6 project developed a message - the Tactical Situation Object 
(TSO) to share situation awareness for the emergency services across 
European borders. Part of the function of the message is to describe the 
situation through a code or codes (this allows automatic translation into 
different languages). Analysis of existing codes showed that all code 
systems were service and nationality specific, with only limited 
commonality. It was suggested that this was because the code reflected an 
analysis of the situation by the organisation creating the codes. That is, 
the code encodes the comprehension level of situation awareness. For 
example, a fire in a thatched cottage requires the same response from an 
ambulance as a fire in any other domestic building, but for the fire 
service, this escalates the incident from a two pump to a six pump (i.e. 
major) fire since the roof is flammable. For example, a fire in an 
automotive in a forest in Spain in summer ranks as potentially a major 
incident since it may spread to the forest.    (06)

 It is not practical to create a single, unified set of event codes at the 
comprehension level for all the services in all nations for all 
circumstances - even if there was agreement on the set of codes needed, it 
would require each service to understand how the other services evaluated 
the incident, and without the data (in the TSO) they based their evaluation 
on, this would not be possible.    (07)

 Therefore the event code was replaced by a set of five event-factor codes 
(scale, type, actor, location-type and environment-type) at the perception 
level - i.e. they could be elicited from an untrained observer. This will 
allow each service to generate their own comprehension level code, according 
to their own procedures.    (08)

6) The implication is that the TSO transmits only the information relating 
to perception, and does not transmit the knowledge and intelligence to 
convert the perception level information into comprehension level 
information. Conversely, to transmitted comprehension level codes that are 
to be understood in the same way, either
a) the recipient must have the same knowledge and intelligence as the 
sender, or
b) the information and inference rules of the sender must be sent along with 
the codes.    (09)

On the semantic web, to share common understanding between different 
cultures (national cultures, business cultures, youth/greybeard cultures, 
etc.) requires either
a) we restrict ontologies to the perception level, or
b) we need to ensure that the recipient has the same knowledge base and 
intelligent processing that the sender has, since otherwise they will infer 
different facts from the same information, and thereby have a different 
understanding of the situation.    (010)

Note: in b, the interpretation  of "same" as "identical" is probably too 
strong, but I don't know the extent to which it can be weakened. However, in 
practice, I would guess that (a) is the only practicable option.    (011)

One might also observe that to base everything on a single, comprehensive 
ontology, one would need to be omniscient.     (012)

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