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Re: [ontolog-forum] IBM Watson on Jeopardy

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: Ron Wheeler <rwheeler@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2011 12:30:45 -0500
Message-id: <4D5966C5.6080905@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
On 14/02/2011 12:10 PM, Ed Barkmeyer wrote:
> Ron Wheeler wrote:
>> I suspect that the impact of Watson on Ontology as a field can be
>> negative or positive.
>> It shows that you can get answers to questions using data that is much
>> less structured than the traditional languages used for ontology research.
>> It raises the question about what is a "good enough" process. Does it
>> have to always produce the right answer? Does it have to be a repeatable
>> process that is subject to proof?
>> If a Watson was available on a "per Question" basis and only cost a few
>> cents per answer, how many companies or governments would use it?
> Now we are finally coming to the question we really need to worry about
> and are afraid to ask:
>    What is the impact of Watson on ontology research and NLP research?
> In particular, what will be the impact on the traditional funding
> sources for that research?
> Yes, Watson is a tremendous accomplishment.  What problem does it solve?
> I don't think the Biomedical information systems folk have much to gain
> from Watson technology, and as a consequence, their ontological research
> folk have little to fear.  I
Unless they fail to take into account Watson and answer the question 
that you asked below and perhaps.
"How is my proposed project going to incorporate the advances made 
possible or demonstrated by Watson to achieve a better outcome than was 
thought possible with just ontological technology and concepts?"    (01)

IBM doing this on Jeopardy has made sure that the entire family of each 
person in charge of determining funding will be asking at the diner 
table "Daddy or Mommy, how does that new project you are working on 
funding take advantage of "Watson" technology?"    (02)

Great marketing.    (03)

>   do think, however, that every undirected
> research program in 'natural language processing' will in the future
> have to distinguish itself from Watson's capabilities, especially when
> John insists that a fair amount of that capability can be brought to
> bear with a 20-processor server.  It won't suffice to talk about
> 'specialized knowledge', because that is just a matter of identifying
> the useful source material.  Research justification will have to talk
> about the special characteristics of that knowledge or the questions to
> be asked, or about the accuracy requirements, or some such.
> In so many words, I think we can all agree that "the real Semantic Web"
> is going to be based on natural language processing -- a combination of
> smart algorithms and brute force -- and Watson is the demonstration that
> its time is now.  The question is going to be:  What are you doing that
> is importantly different, and why?
> In your next NSF proposal, or FP7/8 proposal, or your next pitch to your
> sponsor, be prepared to answer that question.
> -Ed
>    (04)

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