On 7/9/12 11:05 PM, John F Sowa wrote:
> Leo and Kingsley,
> I'm responding to both of your notes because they address two aspects
> of a disease that I believe has been destroying the Semantic Web.
> In short, the Semantic Web is first and foremost an engineering problem,
> but it has been infected by certain scientists who forced the engineers
> to adopt inappropriate solutions to their problems -- or even worse,
> to ignore certain important kinds of problems.
>> Motik, Boris. 2005. On the Properties of Metamodeling in OWL.
>> In: 4th Int. Semantic Web Conf. (ISWC 2005).
> I attended a talk by Boris Motik, and I spoke with him. He is very good
> at what he does. This paper demonstrates his technical ability. But
> like nearly all of the DL theoreticians, he knows nothing about how to
> develop applications or what practitioners would ever find useful.
> He is very good at proving theorems about decidability, but nobody has
> shown that restricting a language to make it decidable is useful for
> any purpose whatsoever. Restricting a language cannot solve anything
> faster. It only makes certain kinds of problems impossible to state.
> Cyc has had far more experience in working on actual problems than
> any of the DL theoreticians ever dreamed of. And they have *never*
> found decidability to be a problem. Bob MacGregor developed the widely
> used LOOM and PowerLoom systems, which combined a DL with a rule-based
> system and with bindings to programming languages and databases.
> MacGregor worked with users who actually used his systems to develop
> major applications. And he said that *none* of the users ever asked
> for decidability, but they all asked for more expressive power.
> The net result is that the "Decidability Thought Police" purged
> MacGregor from their community.
> Decidability is the single worst disease that has destroyed the
> usefulness of the SW. When I look at Motik's paper, I see disease.
> There is nothing in that paper that is of the slightest value for
> any practical application of any kind. It makes me angry that
> those people have been destroying what might have been a very
> useful development, if they had left the SW to the engineers.
>>> Note that Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft abandoned URIs.
>> If that's true, they are making a *serious mistake*. Basically,
>> they are veering away from the point you made earlier:
>> "The big advance was the instant, universal, world-wide
>> availability of data everywhere."
> Let me clarify. It is extremely valuable to have URIs for
> "named entities" such as people, places, things, and documents.
> The technology for detecting named entities in documents and
> annotating them with the appropriate URIs has become quite
> successful, and I strongly recommend continuing it.
> But the idea of assigning a unique URI to every word sense of
> every word is impossible. Not even a professional lexicographer
> can do that reliably, and the exercise would be worse than useless. (01)
Yes, I agree with that point. I see URIs as power data object
identifiers. Then from the Linked Data perspective, you get the
additional benefit of said URIs resolving to resources bearing
> Furthermore, science has found it extremely valuable to continue
> using the same words -- even though their meanings change from
> one theory to another. All the major words in physics change
> their definitions as you go from Newtonian mathematics to
> relativity, quantum mechanics, string theory, etc: mass, energy,
> momentum, force, position, velocity, acceleration, light,
> charge, heat, etc.
> But physicists continue to use the same words throughout every
> change of theory. It would be worse than useless to change
> their words (or annotate them) each time they change anything
> in their theories.
> I have more examples about the diseases that scientists have
> inflicted on the SW. But this is enough for now. (02)
Yes, I agree :-) (03)
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