I added this short history lesson to the wiki. (01)
ohn F. Sowa wrote:
> That is a very good question:
> > Is our work producing benefits after all these years?
> > Positive examples would be useful to discuss before we
> > self destruct on these issues.
> We have very few positive examples, but lots of negative ones.
> Since the definition of an expert is "somebody who knows
> everything that doesn't work," we have lots of experts.
> There were three large projects that were started in the 1980s:
> 1. Cyc began in 1984, soaked up about 70 million dollars of
> research funding by about 2004, and still takes in more
> money from research grants than income from applications.
> 2. The Japan Electronic Dictionary Project (EDR) began in the
> late 1980s, spent quite a few billion yen to define 410,000
> concepts with mappings to English and Japanese, was liquidated
> in 2002, but still has a few people around to collect $20K
> from the few people who are willing to pay for their product.
> 3. WordNet was supported by research grants to George Miller and
> his group at Princeton. This is the most widely used product,
> largely because the price is right -- free.
> There were also projects that centered around mailing lists such
> as this one. The archives for all of them are on the WWW.
> - The Shared Reusable Knowledge Base (SRKB) project was started in
> 1991 by the Stanford Knowledge Systems Lab with all the usual
> suspects. Various things came out of it such as reports, some
> miscellaneous software, and the KIF (Knowledge Interchange
> Format). Mike Genesereth (the primary author of the KIF report)
> and I collaborated with the X3H4 committee to develop parallel
> ANSI standards for KIF and conceptual graphs. After many fits
> and (re)starts, this project finally led to the ISO standard
> for Common Logic 16 years later.
> - The Ad Hoc ANSI Committee (a working group of X3T2) met for a
> few years in the late 1990s. Klaus Tschirra, one of the five
> original founders of SAP, attended one of the meetings and
> invited a bunch of the participants to a one-week workshop in
> Heidelberg in 1998 to develop a foundation for a common ontology.
> - The IEEE working group on a Standard Upper Ontology was
> started in 2000 and still exists as an inactive email list.
> Some things that came out of that project include SUMO and IFF.
> There were also projects to develop universal languages for
> logic and ontology in the 17th and 18th centuries. An example
> is Leibniz's Universal Characteristic, which encoded primitive
> concepts as prime numbers and compound concepts as products of
> primes. Many other prominent philosophers were involved, among
> them, Descartes, Kant, and many lesser lights. As Leibniz said,
> The art of ranking things in genera and species is of no
> small importance and very much assists our judgment as well
> as our memory. You know how much it matters in botany, not
> to mention animals and other substances, or again moral and
> notional entities as some call them. Order largely depends
> on it, and many good authors write in such a way that their
> whole account could be divided and subdivided according to
> a procedure related to genera and species. This helps one
> not merely to retain things, but also to find them. And
> those who have laid out all sorts of notions under certain
> headings or categories have done something very useful.
> In 1787, Kant defined his 12 upper-level categories and made
> the following pronouncement:
> If one has the original and primitive concepts, it is easy to
> add the derivative and subsidiary, and thus give a complete
> picture of the family tree of the pure understanding. Since
> at present, I am concerned not with the completeness of the
> system, but only with the principles to be followed, I leave
> this supplementary work for another occasion. It can easily
> be carried out with the aid of the ontological manuals.
> 222 years later, we're still waiting for somebody to complete
> this easy task.
> If anyone wants to try, I wish them luck.
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