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Mike Champion wrote:
> No dispute, no fear. I don't have any axes to grind for or against
> the SW, just a hard-won skepticism about anything that talks
> about "meaning" in the context of software, and anything that seems to
> assume that there are technological fixes to conceptual problems that
> have bedeviled great minds for centuries.
I think you're ascribing a naiveté to the semantic web advocates that I
do not detect when I actually talk to them. I admit I felt as you did
before I talked to people who were familiar with the technology.
In particular, SemWeb people use the words "meaning" and "semantics" to
mean something precise and not something vague as it does in usual speech.
"Machine understandable documents does not imply some magical artificial
intelligence allowing machines to comprehend human speech, rather it
relies solely on the machine's ability to solve well defined problems by
performing well defined operations on well defined data."
"The Semantic Web is a mesh of information linked up in such a way as to
be easily processable by machines, on a global scale."
"You can think of it as being an efficient way of representing data on
the World Wide Web, or as a globally linked database."
Nothing there sounds farfetched to me.
> I'm sorry if I come across as overly hostile about RDF/ontoloties/etc.
> I just have a bad reaction to scenarios such as the one at the beginning
> of the Scientific American Article that both the SW and
> the Web Services advocates seem to love.
And yet you're criticizing the Semantic Web and chairing the Web
Services Architecture Group. ;)
> The technology challenges required to make something like this work are
> non-trivial, but utterly BORING compared to the
> challenges of getting vendors to build
> truly interoperable systems, getting doctors to invest in unproven
> technology, getting insurance companies to share information that
> they consider proprietary, getting someone in any industry to
> rate as less than "excellent" anyone with access to a
> lawyer, and defeating those who would "game" the system to benefit
> themselves. Not to mention the little detail of finding a business
> model to actually pay for all this.
Fair enough. But don't you think that as a technologist you have the
ability and responsibility to evaluate the technology separate from the