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

To: <pcmurray2000@xxxxxxxxx>, "[ontolog-forum] " <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "Christopher Spottiswoode" <cms@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Wed, 2 Nov 2011 12:44:56 +0200
Message-id: <BBEF55EEEFC84D14AA0923E898710054@klaptop>

Phil,    (01)

+1 on your entire approach in your 5 points below.    (02)

Interestingly, this is how Tim Berners-Lee once put it rather neatly (in
a now dated though still comparable context):    (03)

> The job of classifying all human output is a never-ending one, and
> merges with the job of creating it.    (04)

That was in
no longer online but now copied here:
http://georgenorth.net/~george/Thesis/News/www&HTMLCreator.html.    (05)

I had approvingly quoted it in 1997, here:
http://jeffsutherland.org/oopsla97/SpottiswoodeByndBO.html#CAUTION, and
in a context still relevant and supporting your position.    (06)

Likewise, I second your agreement with John's points below.    (07)

Thank you.    (08)

Christopher    (09)

You had written on Friday, October 28, 2011 3:21 PM in response to John
Sowa:    (010)

> John --
> 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.    (011)

> 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.
> But since we agree on those points, it's clear that I have not made my
> assertions understood.
> Let me try to restate my assertions in a somewhat different way,
> addressing the requirement that we "analyze real problems":
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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.
> 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 (b) appropriate rewards for the work
> performed. That deconstruction should redefine job roles and use
> computer applications more appropriately.
> 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.
> Phil    (012)

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