Trying to pinpoint where we differ, if at all: (01)
> PC> The need for an FO arises from the need for interoperability.
> Just consider that list of activities mentioned above. People
> don't interoperate with equal facility on all those areas.
> The number of professional football players who are also
> expert chefs, master chess players, and surgeons you would
> trust for a triple bypass operation is rather small.
> The idea that a computer system requires equal semantic coverage
> of a wide range of areas in order to achieve interoperability
> has no basis in reality. Just look at a Swiss Army Knife.
> It's not bad for a quick fix in many cases, but for each
> application, it's better to use a more specialized tool,
> if you have one.
I think I have mentioned on several occasion that there are many, many
computer tasks (and human tasks) that do not require interoperability. So I
take no exception to the points you make above. But since my main focus is
to enable accurate and broad semantic interoperability where the local users
do perceive a benefit in such interoperability, those points do not seem to
me to argue against the solution I have suggested.
Perhaps my use of "broad" conveys a misleading impression? I certainly do
not mean to suggest that it is necessary for all interoperating agents to
interoperate on all issues. As you have mentioned, there are likely to be
many cases where a single agent only needs to interoperate with others on a
very narrow topic - in which case no FO is required. But to take one
example, if one has information one wants to share with others, and is
willing to post it on the internet, and does not know all of the other
agents who might find it useful - then one needs to share it in a language
that all the other agents can understand. If those agents are computers,
then it has to be expressed in a language (format and vocabulary) that those
computers can properly interpret. That would, it seems to me, require an FO
that can be properly interpreted by those other agents; the only alternative
would be to have many specialized ontologies that each provide a proper
interpretation for the community that uses them. This is OK *only* if the
world were composed of agents that only communicate specialized information
with others on a narrow range of issues.
But if you agree that some information from one narrow community of
automatic agents may be of interest to agents in another narrow community,
it would seem essential to provide a common language that can at least
provide the logical specifications of the domain elements in those different
communities, so that they can share information even where no specialized
domain language has been previously defined. That is where I view the FO as
essential, to provide that service to translate from one domain's local
terminology to another domain's, without prior contact between those
The added benefit for a common FO is that, once one has mapped one's
local domain ontology to the FO, it will not be necessary (though it might
be useful, depending on various factors) to create special ontologies for
specific domains: any set of locally specified ontology elements defined
using the FO will be automatically and accurately interpreted by any other
system that can interpret the FO. So even in cases where it is not
necessary, the FO can still make communication easier.
If you think that *every* application that wants to communicate
accurately with *any* other application could do so by a different tactic
with that degree of ease, I would certainly be interested in learning how.
You have derided the cost of the FO project, but I will remind the list
that in the interval of time that we have been discussing this issue, the
best estimates I have seen indicate that well over 100 billion dollars has
been lost in commercially inefficient information transfer in the US alone.
I also suspect that a lot more than the project cost has already been lost
in the hunt for alternatives that will never prove useful. Unless you
assume the probability of success at under 0.01%, the FO project is likely
to be cost-effective; and it can be staged so that the greatest expense is
only incurred after preliminary work indicates a higher likelihood of
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