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RE: NPR, Godel, Semantic Web

Title: RE: NPR, Godel, Semantic Web

> -----Original Message-----
> From: C. M. Sperberg-McQueen [mailto:cmsmcq@acm.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, May 08, 2001 3:16 PM
> To: John Cowan
> Cc: xml-dev@lists.xml.org
> Subject: Re: NPR, Godel, Semantic Web
> On the other hand, I think on consideration I disagree with the NPR
> commentator --


> If the Semantic
> Web improves the ability of software to work together and to make
> correct or defensible inferences from data, it may improve things.

I'm coming to more or less the same conclusion.  But I think that the fact that the NPR commentator saw fit to specifically mention the Semantic Web initiative may indicate that TimBL and Co. are seriously over-hyping its potential, and this is being perceived as hubris by those who have a keen understanding of how many so-far unsolveable problems must be addressed to make the SW vision a reality.

Speaking of "hubris", Britannica.com defines it as  an "overweening presumption suggesting impious disregard of the limits governing human action in an orderly universe. It is the sin to which the great and gifted are most susceptible."  One might argue that Goedel deflated the hubris of Russell and Whitehead's program to to derive all of mathematics from logic ("great and gifted" people though they were); it's not a great leap to see Berners-Lee among the "great and gifted" also susceptible to the sin of hubris.