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Re: [ontolog-forum] Foundation ontology, CYC, and Mapping

To: "'[ontolog-forum] '" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Patrick Cassidy" <pat@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 31 Jan 2010 14:24:38 -0500
Message-id: <0a9401caa2ab$077536b0$165fa410$@com>
Just a few points:
[JS] > I would love to see Pat and Ronald collaborate to determine how
> Ronald's "ontological dependencies" could be reconciled with Pat's
> "foundational ontology" in some realistic goals for future systems.
  I am happy to collaborate with any others who share the same goals, but my
reading of Ron's paper suggests that our goals are too different.  In
particular, I disagree with the statement form Ron's "Philosophy" paper:    (01)

[RS ("Philosophy" paper)] "But by always translating one lot of signs into
another lot, we never bridge the gap between sign and reality. We must
discard the almost religious desire for purity, put our heads above the wall
separating the technical from the human aspects of information systems, and
embrace the untidiness of human beings who alone can link signs to reality."    (02)

[PC] The stability and objectivity of the concept representations in a
Foundation Ontology of the type I believe is needed for accurate general
semantic interoperability are largely based **in the short term** (as Ron
asserts) on careful logical specification and careful documentation, using
words whose senses are marked so as to remove as much as possible any
ambiguity for the human interpreters.  For the purpose of documentation for
human understanding, a defining vocabulary based on the Longman defining
vocabulary, with marked senses for each word, would be one method.  Examples
of usage of terms in programs would also help programmers and ontologists
avoid misinterpretation.  But *even now* the machines already have some
means of grounding meaning independent of human interpreters, by using
sensors and robotic capabilities (with feedback) so that the machines can
test whether the internal symbols actually represent what it can itself
verify about the world.  An important current sensor is the ability to fetch
and inspect web pages.  In spite of the chaos of the web, there are still
many possible assertions that just don't appear in the billions of pages.
The machines will also be able to distinguish more authoritative from less
authoritative web pages by algorithms using reliability measures.  And **in
the long run** the goal is to provide even more effective human-independent
grounding of meanings by increasing the effectiveness of machine perception
and robotic capabilities; sophisticated visual perception will probably be
necessary.  For the near future, I feel certain that a serious effort to
both logically specify and linguistically define the FO terms precisely will
result in few misinterpretations, and allow the stable meanings that are
required for accurate general semantic interoperability.    (03)

If in fact the approach of a carefully defined set of logical elements of
the kind available in CYC will not suffice for this purpose, that will have
to be demonstrated by a *public* set of trials so that the reasons for the
failure can be understood.  Anecdotal stories of someone trying something
and failing are quite useless as evidence; the tell us nothing about what
works and what doesn't, and why.  They are, of course, amusing.    (04)

Pat    (05)

Patrick Cassidy
cell: 908-565-4053
cassidy@xxxxxxxxx    (06)

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