Just a note in response to some of John Sowa's remarks about Gellish: (01)
[JS] >> The goals are important, and I believe that Andries has put
>> together an impressive system of interrelated ideas.
>> I believe that Gellish contains a lot of good material that is worth
>> My major concern is that it is YASS -- Yet Another Semantic Structure
>> that is designed to solve all the world's problems -- but ONLY IF
>> the entire world swallows it whole and converts everything to it overnight.
>> The biggest YASS of all is Cyc, which had one person millennium of
>> work invested in it as of 2010. Cyc is very impressive. It has
>> implemented many things very well, and Doug is better able to explain
>> those than I am. But as we have seen, it still has not been swallowed whole. (02)
I agree with this assessment. Just building a reasonable semantic structure
is, based on experience, unlikely to lead to its wide adoption, no matter how
technically capable or sophisticated. (03)
[JS] >> Meanwhile, much less tightly organized things such as Linked Open
>> Data have had a much faster uptake with a much looser organization.
>> The question of how to combine ideas from LOD with any of the many
>> YASSes is still an unanswered research issue. (04)
Yes again. I have made my analysis in this forum on several occasions, and
will repeat it here in this context.
(1) an ontology (or any other semantic structure) intended for interoperability
among systems must be agreed to explicitly by all of those who want to (or
should) use it;
(2) the best way to get buy-in is to make it possible for those who use it to
modify it to their purposes without creating the kind of ambiguity and synonymy
found in natural languages; (current semantic web efforts have too little
control to avoid those problems)
(3) the best way to allow such universal applicability is to focus the common
semantic language on those primitives that are required to logically specify
the meanings of all of the terms in the domain languages, and to keep a public
inventory of those logical specifications.
(4) such an inventory of primitives will constitute a foundation ontology that
will represent a set of basic concepts sufficient to logically specify the
meanings of almost all terms in any domain ontology;
(5) any missing primitives required for new domains can be added;
(6) logically inconsistent theories can be represented **as theories** -- i.e.,
not as part of the fundamental "belief" system of the foundation ontology.
(7) focusing on the primitive concept representations keeps the learning curve
as shallow as possible by keeping the number of elements to be learned to the
smallest set that will do the job. (05)
In effect, a common ontology is a language and a language is not usually
imposed from above, but developed by agreement among the users, based on common
usage. The problem with a logical language for interoperability is to avoid
ambiguity and synonymy, an absolute plague when every person or small community
tries to do their own thing (as with human languages) (06)
The problem is how to develop a community that will agree to such a common
ontology, and build applications demonstrating that the ontology will in fact
serve to enable accurate interoperability. "let a thousand flowers bloom"
results in a thousand isolated flowers blooming in a thousand isolated gardens.
Any of several large organizations could probably create the critical mass
of users for some primitives-based foundation ontology: Microsoft, Google,
Oracle, IBM, or a large government agency - in the US, Europe, or perhaps China? (07)
I hope I live to see the day. (08)
Message Archives: http://ontolog.cim3.net/forum/ontolog-forum/
Config Subscr: http://ontolog.cim3.net/mailman/listinfo/ontolog-forum/
Shared Files: http://ontolog.cim3.net/file/
Community Wiki: http://ontolog.cim3.net/wiki/
To join: http://ontolog.cim3.net/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?WikiHomePage#nid1J (011)