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Re: [ontolog-forum] Some Grand Challenge proposal ironies

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Phil Murray <pcmurray2000@xxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 09:21:11 -0400
Message-id: <4EAAAC47.3010207@xxxxxxxxx>
John --    (01)

John F. Sowa wrote:
> On 10/27/2011 3:26 PM, Phil Murray wrote:
>> Would it be fair to say that part of the USPTO "mess" -- exacerbated by
>> sheer volume of patents -- is that the meaning expressed in the
>> processes of research, writing, and evaluation of patents is not
>> formalized?
> Given the fact that people who are trying to demonstrate that their
> invention is novel, they have a strong incentive to use terminology
> that is different from anything in common use.
Absolutely true, and an excellent point. In fact, this bad habit is 
characteristic of academia in general.
A couple years ago, one of the top people at the Marine Biology Lab in 
Woods Hole
complained to me that this bad habit was one of the factors limiting 
adoption of new/novel
commercial and governmental solutions emerging from his field.
>
> You can try to propose some standardized terminology, but it's
> doubtful that inventors and patent attorneys will be eager
> to adopt it.
Again, absolutely true, and an excellent point. Such new and seemingly 
onerous burdens
would, indeed, be met with resistance by inventors and patent attorneys. 
There's no
obvious benefit, and in practice we all resist even such simple tasks as 
tagging our own
research in ways that make it easy to retrieve.    (02)

But since we agree on those points, it's clear that I have not made my 
assertions understood.    (03)

Let me try to restate my assertions in a somewhat different way, 
addressing the requirement that
we "analyze real problems":    (04)

1. Better retrieval of documents and better automatic summarization of 
documents have
benefits, but those benefits are marginal compared with explicit 
representations of
of changing, day-to-day knowledge -- for example, graphic maps of arguments
supporting a particular economic position or business choice.    (05)

2. The "semantic community" has developed practices, tools, and 
resources that are applicable
to (but not sufficient to fully address) such requirements. The semantic 
community
tends to focus instead on the problems of "big data" using big 
applications in big organizations.    (06)

3. The "real problem" is that we are over-reacting to the superabundance 
of information instead
of developing new ways of creating value. You cannot  and do not -- act 
on words. You act
on meaning. Value is created by individuals and people working with each 
other, not by
aggregating the surface characteristics of large amounts of information --
a practice which more closely resembles the complex financial 
derivatives that caused us so
much trouble recently.    (07)

4. Current "mind-mapping," "idea-mapping," and "personal information 
management" tools don't
solve the "real problem" either -- in part because (a) lacking a 
thoughtful, coherent model for the
resources they are used to create, they throw roadblocks in the path of 
incremental formalization
of ideas, and in part because (b) they make the assumption that the 
seemingly simple activities of
research, construction and evaluation of knowledge resources, and 
communication of that value
can be performed with simple applications used by individuals primarily 
in isolation. They
cannot. These critical activities require massive, well-designed 
applications that support the
process and actually reward those who use them instead of imposing 
burdens on them.    (08)

5. Our current model for creation of value needs to be tossed out. We 
need to deconstruct what
actually happens in knowledge work -- in the form of making ideas 
explicit, evaluating those
ideas, and integrating those ideas into a reusable, organizational 
infrastructure -- appropriately
in order to meet the goals of (a) substantively improved methods of 
creation of value and
and (b) appropriate rewards for the work performed. That deconstruction 
should redefine
job roles and use computer applications more appropriately.    (09)

I understand if members of the KR/ontology engineering community feel 
that these goals are
inappropriate or beyond the purview of that community. But I think a 
major opportunity is
being wasted.    (010)

Phil    (011)



-- ---------------------
The Semantic Advantage
Turning Information into Assets
phil.murray@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
401-247-7899
Blog: http://semanticadvantage.wordpress.com
Web site: http://www.semanticadvantage.com    (012)

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