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Re: [ontolog-forum] Next steps in using ontologies as standards

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 23 Jan 2009 22:41:22 -0600
Message-id: <F841EA55-B177-4E2A-AE16-78E5D66B0EAB@xxxxxxx>
On Jan 23, 2009, at 1:22 PM, Azamat wrote:    (01)

> Ian,
> The referential model of meaning had its use when semantics was in  
> the stage
> of conception. Today, the extensional models are largely irrelevant  
> to the
> challenges of the complex world.
> There is a hot topic in neuroscience called "mind reading" with  
> fMRI, aiming
> to use neuroimaging techniques to read the brain activation patterns  
> by
> detecting blood flow in the brain areas. Recently, it was widely  
> published
> that the technique of neural information processing affords reading  
> your
> thoughts and intentions by means of scanners:
> http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/12/31/60minutes/main4694713_page2.shtml 
> .
> Such a poor alchemy comes from two main reasons: bad ontology and  
> defective
> semantics.    (02)

I take it that your point here is to hold this work up to ridicule (as  
"poor alchemy"), and blame the error on bad ontology. But you should  
check your sources more carefully. First, this is a CBS news item, not  
a scientific report. Second, even this uses scare quotes and is chock  
full of warnings that all this is in the future, at best. And third,  
the actual work cited is not 'mind reading' but the ability to detect,  
from MRI scans, whether or not a scene has been seen previously. And  
in fact, this can be detected from an MRI scan, as recognition of a  
visual scene is accompanied by characteristic activity in certain  
brain areas. THis hot topic is not called "mind reading", it is called  
MRI research, and it is producing some very interesting data on brain  
functioning in various cognitive and perceptual states. No ontological  
confusion is involved.    (03)

PatH    (04)

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