John and PatH
Your arguments to take a gradual approach, look for small demos and
eventually try to get broad agreement via the semantic web is based solidly
on the notion that a very gradual approach is a low-cost solution. It's
not. The economic losses due to failure to implement a base for semantic
interoperability are enormous and mounting every day. Just because such
losses do not show up as a line item on someone's budget doesn't mean they
are not real. The direct method of funding a consortium to develop and test
an FO is in fact the cheapest method, when the savings due to more rapid
implementation of semantic interoperability are factored in. Even with a
very pessimistic estimate of the likely effectiveness of the consortium
approach, it is still cost-effective. (01)
We are now living through one of the disasters that the "let the market take
its course" attitude can produce. Some well-considered pro-active effort
can save a lot of money in the long run. If you have any qualms about
specific parts of the FO proposal, suggest modifications. But to imagine
that the current kind and rate of effort will achieve semantic
interoperability without a coordinated effort to get agreement on some major
part of an FO is merely an act of faith with no evidence to support it. (02)
If we must take some course to a goal based on faith, taking the shortest
course seems to me to be the best bet. (03)
> -----Original Message-----
> From: ontolog-forum-bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx [mailto:ontolog-forum-
> bounces@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of John F. Sowa
> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 2009 11:14 AM
> To: [ontolog-forum]
> Subject: Re: [ontolog-forum] standard ontology
> Pat (C and H),
> PH> You have not demonstrated, or even AFAIK convincingly argued,
> > that the FO will be able do any of these things, either. I fail
> > to see how an ontology of any kind can achieve interoperability
> > or translation all by itself. The FO as you have described it
> > will be an ontology, not a universal semantic Swiss Army Knife.
> I very strongly agree.
> PC>> Developing a modest application on my own would not in any
> >> way advance the goal of semantic interoperability.
> PH> If the application demonstrated such interoperability, of
> > course it would. Why not just set out to do that? The Army
> > will probably support you for a couple of years, which should
> > be time enough for a convincing demo.
> Again, I agree with Pat Hayes. You should either do it yourself
> or find success stories that have been achieved with Cyc, SUMO,
> or other ontologies.
> If you can't find success stories with other upper ontologies
> that have actually been implemented, nobody is going to believe
> your claims about some nonexistent FO.
> PH> I am not convinced, nor will I admit, that your proposed FO
> > consortium would be able to do anything useful at all. It would
> > be too large, too loosely organized, and would not have a clear
> > aim or purpose.
> Pat and I were involved with the Shared Reusable Knowledge Base
> (SRKB) effort, the ontology group that met in Heidelberg, Germany,
> the SUO, the ontolog forum, etc. Every one of those projects
> strongly supports Pat's conclusions, which I strongly agree with.
> PH> I don't recognize that there are things the FO could do that
> > Cyc can't.
> Since the FO doesn't exist, Pat C can claim wonders for it, but
> the current evidence supports Pat H.
> PC> OK, fine, but when you express skepticism toward a proposal
> > for a direct process to achieve semantic interoperability, could
> > you at least have the decency, when you do that, to admit that
> > you don't have any suggestions for an alternative with a better
> > chance of achieving that goal in our lifetimes, if ever?
> Pat H did have a good proposal:
> PH> ... the best, perhaps the only, way to achieve it is via
> > some version of the semantic web. Maybe not using current SWeb
> > technology, but based on the overall concept of distributed
> > syndication and open publication of ontologies. No centrally
> > administered project, no matter how large, can hope to achieve
> > the potential scope of a Web-based effort.
> That is very similar to the registry/repository approach that I
> recommended. I also added the recommendation for metadata with
> each ontology that would exhibit its relationships to other
> ontologies in a generalization hierarchy.
> If it is possible to have a better FO than Cyc or OpenCyc,
> a promising way to achieve it is through evolution by means
> of many people working on the hierarchy. A major advantage
> of such an approach is that we can start very quickly with
> a registry hosted on Peter Yim's web site or the IEEE site.
> In fact, OpenCyc and SUMO can be placed on that site, and
> people can begin by "voting with their feet".
> The start-up cost is minimal, and we don't have to depend
> on selling a multimillion dollar project to skeptical
> agencies or investors.
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