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Re: [ontolog-forum] IBM Watson on Jeopardy

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Simon Spero <ses@xxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 11:27:08 -0500
Message-id: <AANLkTim3Gdcv0j8z7X+HBug+1Ex8R6MwasNEJFg7Ch-R@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 1:55 AM, John F. Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:

But a top-down, monolithic, detailed, universal ontology of everything is not only impossible to achieve, it would be a disaster, if anybody tried to enforce it on everything.

I'm not sure that Cyc is necessarily the best example of a top-down and monolithic ontology; a lot of the more detailed areas show clear signs of middle out development driven by specific projects. The basic idea of  microtheories at makes a start towards enabling modularity; it's the presence of the gigantic macrotheories where everything seems to depend on everything else that makes it hard to figure out.  

IBM didn't pour millions of dollars into developing Watson just as a stunt.  It is excellent advertising, and I'm sure they have plans to reap hardware, software, and consulting sales worth many, many times more than they spent on developing it.

I'm not even sure IBM spent a huge amount of money developing Watson specifically; it seems more like a well chosen test case to bring together projects that were already underway, with that little bit of extra motivation that comes from doing something that is just barely possible. 

 From what I could see from the web site, there doesn't seem to have been that much custom hardware developed (no POWER8 sneak-peek, and no new Cell;  I would expect that a lot of the hardware development was for DARPA). 


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