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Re: [ontolog-forum] Semantics for interoperable systems

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:31:42 -0500
Message-id: <54ECC38E.3020403@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Adrian and Kingsley,    (01)

> the system really needs a category other than "controlled English".
> The rather radical design [of Executable English] is intended to avoid
> the brittleness/high-maintenance aspects of more conventional NL systems.    (02)

The term 'controlled NL' is a moving target.  It's impossible to state
necessary and sufficient conditions that distinguish everything called
a CNL from notations that are not called a CNL.  For example,    (03)

By Rolf Schwitter, http://www.aclweb.org/anthology/C10-2128 :
> One way to bridge the gap between a natural language and a formal
> language is the use of a controlled natural language (CNL) that can
> mediate between these languages. CNLs are engineered subsets of
> natural languages whose grammar and vocabulary have been restricted
> in a systematic way in order to reduce both ambiguity and complexity
> of full natural languages.    (04)

This statement covers Aristotle's syllogisms, Weizenbaum's ELIZA
system, all or nearly all NL-like interfaces to computer systems
(including Siri and her friends), and your Executable English.    (05)

Re Siri:  To maximize ease of use, Siri has a very forgiving
front end that tries to interpret anything thrown at it.  But
every Siri response is strictly controlled by a CNL -- with
a vocabulary that can be expanded by looking up words in a
dictionary or by using simple machine-learning techniques.    (06)

> When writing an app, the vocabulary is open, and so to a large
> extent is the syntax.    (07)

That's true of many CNLs.  The templates used to specify the EE
patterns can be recognized by a finite-state grammar.  The pattern
matcher in ELIZA would be sufficient to parse them.    (08)

> Perhaps "uncontrolled English" ?    (09)

That term sounds like 'unrestricted English', which is used for
the kind of English that everybody speaks and/or writes.    (010)

>> The web page on Semantics for Interoperable Systems
>> addresses theoretical issues of logic, ontology, and methodologies.
>> The four section headings indicate the topics:    (011)

> ... It should simply be a case of putting the following to use:
> 1. Identifying Agents using HTTP URIs that resolve to Agent Profile
>    Documents
> 2. Associating Identities with Identity Cards Claims (e.g., Public Key)
>    and Storage Location Preferences using Relations defined in relevant
>    ontologies
> 3. Protocol for Reading and Writing content over an HTTP network.
> 4. Document Content creation using RDF Statements that constrained
>    by Access Controls (based on relations defined in an Ontology)
> 5. Protocol for Reading and Writing content over an HTTP network.    (012)

That is a very useful approach for supporting an important kind
of interoperability.    (013)

But it doesn't meet all requirements for intelligent systems
(as stated by McCarthy), for the Semantic Web (by Tim B-L), for
the 8 challenges for computable logic (by Alan Robinson), or the
"great divide" between computer science and IT (by Joseph Goguen).    (014)

As I keep saying, I don't want to stop anyone from developing useful
systems while the theoreticians are debating "pie in the sky".    (015)

But I wanted to lay out the full range of diverse possibilities,
both theoretical and practical.    (016)

John    (017)

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