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Re: [ontolog-forum] Constructs, primitives, terms

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sat, 17 Mar 2012 08:45:11 -0500
Message-id: <4F649567.3000203@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Paul,    (01)

I love the WWW and all the wondrous things it has supported.    (02)

I love URIs as they have been defined by the WWW and the way
that they are upward compatible with all the unique identifiers
that anybody and everybody else has defined.    (03)

I love the vision of the Semantic Web that Tim Berners-Lee presented
in his original talk to the W3C in 1994 and in his book that came out
a few years later.    (04)

I also love the wealth of R & D on semantic systems from 1950 to 2000.
That includes AI, computational linguistics, DB conceptual schema,
logic programming, deductive databases, software specification,
software engineering, and related areas of computer science.    (05)

But I am disappointed by two things: (1) the tiny amount of the R & D
on semantic systems that has gone into the Semantic Web, and (2) the
glacially slooooow rate of acceptance of the SW tools.    (06)

> It requires people to think, observe, analyze, experiment, test,
> and rework. All activities that are well supported by SW technologies
> and ready-to-hand mainstream IT tools.    (07)

Please note what R. V. Guha, the *inventor* of RDF, said in the Ontolog
seminar he presented in 2011:  "Somehow RDF never took off."    (08)

Guha was working as an associate director at Cyc, which was and still
is the largest AI knowledge base on the planet.  But he realized that
the Cyc language (CycL) was too complicated for most people, and he
wanted to develop something simpler.  He left Cyc and went to Apple,
where he developed a notation based on triples as the predecessor
to RDF.  But Apple didn't see any use for it.  So he left Apple and
went to Netscape where he collaborated with Tim Bray to develop RDF.    (09)

RDF didn't help Netscape stay in business.   Nokia poured millions
of euros into R & D on the SW, but Apple beat them with the iPhone,
which doesn't use any SW technology.    (010)

After Guha left Netscape, he went to IBM Research, when IBM management
thought that the SW looked promising.  But instead of building their
natural language software on top of the SW, IBM used XML to develop
a more efficient represenation called UIMA, which they used to build
the Watson system for answering Jeopardy questions.    (011)

Then Guha went to Google, where he has been working on schema.org
and the Google software as an alternative to the SW tools.    (012)

I haven't given up on Tim B-L's vision, but after 18 years, it's
time to rethink the strategy for implementing it.  I suggest that
the W3C take a hard look at what Apple, IBM, and Google did.    (013)

John    (014)

PS:  I still have a bunch of IBM stock that I accumulated in my 30
years at IBM.  It more than doubled in value in the past 5 years,
despite a big dip in 2008.  That's not bad, but Google went up
by more than 3.6 times, and Apple went up by a factor of 6.    (015)

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