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Re: [ontolog-forum] Amazon vs. IBM: Big Blue meets match in battle for t

To: "[ontolog-forum]" <ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: Paul Tyson <phtyson@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Thu, 25 Jul 2013 00:15:32 -0500
Message-id: <1374729332.6028.77.camel@tristan>
On Wed, 2013-07-24 at 11:08 -0400, John F Sowa wrote:    (01)

> Google, Apple, Microsoft, IBM, Amazon, and other major vendors don't
> use the DAML technology.  That is a sign that we should consider it
> a small subset of what humanity needs.
>     (02)

I've always considered these sorts of statements from you as non
sequiturs, but it wasn't until you added the bit about serving human
needs that it became clear why. You've previously advanced the argument
in slightly different forms, like: "all the big guys are doing it (JSON,
schema.org), so we should too" and "none of the big guys are doing it
(RDF, OWL), so we shouldn't either". Let's look at some of those needs
and see who's serving the lion's share of them.    (03)

I haven't reviewed the recent SEC filings of those companies, but let me
make some wild guesses at where their major revenue streams originate:
web search and ad placement; online activity tracking and data
aggregation; online leisure, entertainment, and recreation; mobile
application development (primarily in support of preceding streams);
mass consumer marketing and merchandising; personal and enterprise
packaged software development and services in support thereof; and
lately, software as a service.    (04)

Now let's look at a few of the many things they *don't* directly engage
in, and judge--by size and importance--the range human needs for which
you say their (the aforementioned big guys') exemplary service commands
our respectful attention: public utilities, energy production &
distribution; aerospace and defense; construction, big and small; mining
and materials processing; automobile manufacturing; heavy equipment
manufacturing; pharmaceuticals; medical technology; health care.    (05)

You might make a slender argument that packaged commercial software is
essential for all the other companies to run their businesses. And since
none of the big software vendors are rolling out RDF and OWL tools for
their customers in these real "brick and mortar" industries, those
technologies are flawed or useless. The position is weak on several
counts, but I will only pursue one line here. That would be like saying,
20 years ago, that "the principles of generalized markup for documents
are useless (or wrong-headed) because none of the major word processing
software vendors support it". News flash: toay's commercial software
thrives on vendor lock-in, by which the software vendors collect a toll
not just for letting you inscribe your intellectual property in some
persistent form, but for each and every use of your intellectual
property. Why would any profit-minded company develop applications that
would give individuals and organizations greater control over their
intellectual property, and the freedom to create and process it
according to their own needs? There is no more mystery to this than to
the slow (or nonexistent) commercial support for SGML, XML, HTML, STEP,
and any other standard that threatened to give information owners
greater control of their intellectual property.    (06)

So, just what is it you think we (as individuals and enterprises) can
learn from Google, Amazon, Microsoft, IBM, etc. about taking control of
our own information resources and designing our information management
systems to "augment our intellect" (as Doug Engelbart would put it) to
meet the many real needs of humanity (as opposed to the ephemera of
social networking and consumerism)?    (07)

--Paul    (08)

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