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Re: [ontolog-forum] SME (subject matter experts) and Ontology developeme

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: John F Sowa <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 15 Mar 2015 11:27:49 -0400
Message-id: <5505A4F5.8000305@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Dear Matthew, Tom, and Chris,    (01)

> How can we design tools and methodologies that could help lesser
> mortals with smaller budgets achieve good results?    (02)

> I think the methodologies exist. The key is to take what I would call
> an evidence based approach. This means not simply taking an SME's word as
> law, but seeking evidence (in documentation, data, the real world) that
> this is the case.    (03)

> SMEs generally do not know what they are talking about.    (04)

I agree with both of you.  Good methodologies exist.  But they require
a highly skilled KE to drag the expertise out of the SMEs.  For the
future, I believe that we can and should develop *automated* or at
least *semi-automated* tools that can help extract the underlying
assumptions from anyone -- even a SME.    (05)

> Another pertinent, though maybe controversial, point is Searle's
> that one becomes an expert only when one can no longer introspect
> the expertise. In other words, lack of awareness is a mark of expertise.    (06)

Searle should have known better.  In his book on the structure
of scientific revolutions, Kuhn showed that scientists become much
more analytic (introspective or philosophical) when a paradigm shift
is occurring.  The clearest example is the breakdown in classical
physics at the beginning of the 20th century:  Plank, Einstein,
Bohr, Heisenberg, Schrodinger, and Dirac became very philosophical
in those days.    (07)

Richard Feynman belonged to the next generation.  He systematized
the philosophy and the lessons learned in his series of textbooks.
Even professional physicists enjoyed reading those "introductory"
books.    (08)

The same kind of paradigm shift occurred in "the heroic age of
civil engineering" in the late 19th century.  That's when bridge
building shifted from wood and stone to cast iron, steel, and
concrete.    (09)

During that shift, carpenters who built wood trestles, replaced
the wood beams with cast iron.  But wood is strong in both tension
and compression.  Cast iron is stronger in compression, but it's
weak and brittle in tension.   The lessons were learned when
heavily laden coal trains crossed bridges.  Many lives were lost
and many megatons of coal were dumped in valleys.    (010)

You can see the difference in the journals of civil engineering
during that transition.  The explanations of the assumptions and
underlying principles were much clearer in the late 19th c than
in the "more professional" journals of the 20th c.    (011)

Today, sailors and aviators know much less about their craft
than they used to.  Sailors who crossed an ocean in a sailing
ship understood the wind, waves, and currents much better than
those who crossed in a steamship.    (012)

Pilots who fly with GPS and autopilot know much less than those
who learned to fly without those aids.  The passengers who flew
with Captain Sully Sullenberger were lucky to have an old-timer
in control.    (013)

John    (014)

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