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   Re: [xml-dev] XML/RDF

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11/8/2002 5:56:20 PM, Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net> wrote:

>It is quite possible that the Semantic Web technologies will be found to 
>have some fatal flaw, but it won't because the inventors neglected to 
>consider obvious questions like these.

The Web is *full* of what were once considered
"fatal flaws", but it just keeps going and going and going.  I'm
feeling like the semantic web is waiting and waiting and waiting.
TimBL's been beating the drum for a long time now ... where's the parade?

I know the questions are being asked, but are the answers helping people
to do real work more productively than they could without SW technologies?
FWIW, every time I think that the time has come for me to take RDF, OWL, 
etc. more seriously and I look into its use for some specific problem in
my life, I come away underwhelmed.  I  solicited testimonials 
from people who have had the opposite experience ... and have gotten mainly
plugs from SW stakeholders.  

The only real "aha!" experience I've had on xml-dev when 
this permathread reappears was once when Jonathan Borden
explained how a controlled vocabulary such as SNOMED in which the 
cross-cutting hierarchical relationships among medical terms can
be put to productive use in querying and analyzing data.
(which was inspired by http://www.openhealth.org/talks/XMLBioInformatics.ppt)

If the kind of thing Dr. Borden is talking about is the 'semantic web',
I'm hip! (although I don't work a field that has spent the last couple
of centuries getting its vocabulary straight, sigh).  But if it's
stuff like this (quoted from TimBL et al's SciAm article):

"At the doctor's office, Lucy instructed her Semantic Web agent
 through her handheld Web browser. The agent promptly retrieved 
information about Mom's prescribed treatment from the doctor's 
agent, looked up several lists of providers, and checked for 
the ones in-plan for Mom's insurance within a 20-mile radius 
of her home and with a rating of excellent or very good on 
trusted rating services. It then began trying to find a match 
between available appointment times (supplied by the agents of 
individual providers through their Web sites) and Pete's and 
Lucy's busy schedules.  "

then I expect to cash in my Enron stock at a profit in order to
buy one of those SW-enabled PDAs Real Soon Now :-)



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