[Top] [All Lists]

Re: [ontolog-forum] Is there something I missed?

To: Pat Hayes <phayes@xxxxxxx>
Cc: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Ed Barkmeyer <edbark@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 02 Feb 2009 14:34:00 -0500
Message-id: <49874AA8.4010401@xxxxxxxx>
I think I have to agree that Pat H is right, unfortunately for Sir Tim 
and the "Semantic Web".    (01)

I wrote:    (02)

>> SemWeb is about creating and using knowledge models
>> to mark up documents (and other resources) in order to improve
>> information searches.    (03)

Pat Hayes wrote:    (04)

> No, really, this isn't accurate. The SWeb is about creating and 
> publishing K.models to be used by software agents on the Web,    (05)

as distinct from software agents that are not "on the Web" (which made 
"Semantic Web technology" a brand new technology in 1995, utterly unlike 
the K-R and K-E work of the previous 20 years).  This is precisely the 
funding hype.  If Pat wants to insist that all knowledge engineering 
after 1995 will be called "Semantic Web technology", he is welcome to do 
that, and I will withdraw my objection.  (But then he has to understand 
that the folks who make UML models in OWL to markup their documents have 
just as much right to expound on "ontologies" as any AI expert.  He 
chose his company.)    (06)

I agree that AI's time has come and that standardization of formal 
languages for certain kinds of reasoning engines is appropriate.  And I 
agree that sharing and reusing ontologies is a great idea, if we can 
figure out how.  But that has little to do with the World Wide Web 
(semantic or otherwise).    (07)

My complaint is that the Web is not necessary to, and in many cases not 
significant to, a major part of the development and application of 
knowledge engineering.  Document and service search is clearly a Web 
idea, and the Web is vital to it, and integrating the Web aspects into 
the languages and reasoning engines that have those purposes is 
critical.  There are other distributed applications of ontologies that 
are designed to use the Web in important ways (software agents 
_integrally_  "on the Web", as distinct from agents that just use 
Internet technologies as a means of moving bits from a known remote 
source), but they are a very small part of the applications of knowledge 
engineering.    (08)

> not 
> primarily as document markup. And performing inference from those 
> knowledge models is central in SWeb thinking.    (09)

Performing certain kinds of inferences from knowledge models is why we 
build 'knowledge models', as distinct from other kinds of models. 
Document search (including service descriptions at some level) needs 
certain kinds of inferences, most of which can be performed by DL 
engines.  Decision-making needs certain kinds of inferences that tend to 
exceed the capabilities of DL reasoners.    (010)

When people use the term 'Semantic Web technologies' to mean both, it 
becomes synonymous with "knowledge engineering technologies", which 
covers a dozen distinguishable reasoning technologies of the last 30 
years.  So if there is a distinction, I would like to know what it is.    (011)

>> Most prior knowledge engineering was aimed at
>> facilitating decision-making by automated means.  Those are different
>> ideas, and there is only some overlap in the requirements on the
>> underlying technologies.  In Mike's own terms, "trusting our business to
>> <a knowledge engineering activity>" is NOT a SemWeb concern.
> Wrong; this is exactly what some people are aiming to do. Nokia phones 
> already trust their business to SWeb knowledge engineering, for (one) 
> example.    (012)

So Nokia phones run some OWL/DL-based app that does something useful? 
They run some K-E app that uses the Web in making decisions?  They run 
some K-E app that talks to Nokia servers, or telcomm servers, to make 
decisions?  What does "trust their business to SWeb knowledge 
engineering" mean?    (013)

When I use a K-E app to assign people and machines to tasks that 
directly affect revenue, I'm trusting my business to that app.  When I 
use a K-E app to help choose a medical treatment, by eliminating ones 
that inferentially don't apply, I'm trusting more than my business to 
that app.  But neither of those apps has any clear relationship to the 
Web.    (014)

> I don't mean here to defend SWeb progress or technologies, only to set 
> the record straight on what the SWeb project is trying to do.    (015)

I did mean to defend OWL/DL, because it is very useful for the purpose 
of document markup and much of the inferencing used in document search. 
  That it may be much less useful for other K-E activities that are 
called "Semantic Web" activities by a broadening of the term is not a 
problem with the technology; it is a problem with creating erroneous 
expectations.    (016)

If the "SWeb project" is now the umbrella for all knowledge engineering 
(which I believe is the case), the class "semantic web technology" has 
no useful common characteristics.  And we all need to understand that 
some "SemWeb technologies" will be perceived as useless or misguided by 
people who have a different KE problem.    (017)

I have watched very intelligent people run around painting their roses 
the funding color of the year for 30 years.  They end up competing with 
a bunch of illiterate moneygrubbers with paper roses, because they won't 
agree to a criterion that would eliminate paper roses, if it might also 
eliminate old wood.  And I believe "semantic Web" is now in that state.    (018)

We are seeing, and will see more, apps that speak to other remote apps 
in their operating environment and use the knowledge thus gained, with 
inferencing technologies, to make decisions about working cooperatively 
toward shared and diverse goals.  These things have nothing to do with 
the Web per se, and they need standards to know what constructs mean 
("semantics"), but they have everything to do with knowledge sharing and 
decision making.  And we are inventing terms like SmartCars and 
SmartGrid and SmartBuilding to describe these technologies.  They may 
document their XML schemas using OWL information models, but the 
decision technologies are rules engines -- classical k-e with modern 
communications and processing speeds.  Their apostles do not call them 
"semantic Web" technologies; they have no need to.    (019)

-Ed    (020)

Edward J. Barkmeyer                        Email: edbark@xxxxxxxx
National Institute of Standards & Technology
Manufacturing Systems Integration Division
100 Bureau Drive, Stop 8263                Tel: +1 301-975-3528
Gaithersburg, MD 20899-8263                FAX: +1 301-975-4694    (021)

"The opinions expressed above do not reflect consensus of NIST,
  and have not been reviewed by any Government authority."    (022)

Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/  
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/  
Unsubscribe: mailto:ontolog-forum-leave@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/ 
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J
To Post: mailto:ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx    (023)

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>