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   RE: [xml-dev] Beyond Ontologies

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From: Didier PH Martin [mailto:martind@netfolder.com]

>I think that the web is more deterministic than it seems to be a first

Or that up to now, it has been largely self-determining, and by that 
I mean, active intelligence in the form of humans is determining what 
it's ontologies are, and that by dynamic use as you go on to describe.

>For instance, why some sites have more traffic than others?
>Simply, because they are better positioned in search engines like

Usually because they have information of interest to some community. 
I rank that by my experiment with allowing my song "Sam (for Liz)" 
to be offered from free at www.bewitched.net.  This has dimensions 
in that the name of the site is obvious, but also that the people 
who own it are extremely well connected to the producer and cast 
of the show.  So the content they offer is timely and is rare. 
In other words, the dimensions that determine the quality of the 
site are both dimensions of the web as a system and what it wants, 
and of the users and what they want.  In combination, one gets a 
compelling site.  What metric do I get?  A continuous stream of 
mail about the song from that site despite the fact that it is 
also posted at mp3.com.  One might think that mp3.com being a 
music site would engender more mail, but it doesn't.  The majority 
of mail I get from there is from other members asking me to cross 
link or to sell me services.  I know the site gets a lot of 
traffic because it feeds back to me at a higher rate despite the 
fact that a song on that site is simply just another piece of content.

>Why are they better positioned because their site is structured
>in some ways that search engines like and moreover a lot of other well
>ranked sites cite them (Google is a citation based classification
>system). However, this brings some interesting perspective on the
>semantic web.

On the other hand, I wrote a paper on Information Ecosystems that 
was posted two years ago by a company in New York.  When I google 
that term, I get back approximately a half million hits and my 
paper is at the top.  I have trouble believing that the paper 
in pdf format gets that many citations.  So other metrics besides 
citation are in play.

>a) Attractors (site having a lot of traffic) are associated to some
>keyphrases (a main theme and some related concept - see how adsense is
>working). Thus we can model the attractor in relation to ontologies by
>associating to a topic/class/object/keyphrase a set of sites.

Yes.  Emergent topic maps.

>b) some people connected on the web propagate
>keyphrases/brands/concepts. These connectors act as gate keepers or as

They are opinion leaders in some cases and that is one of the dangers 
of the system.  It propagates opinion which can take on a life of its 
own.  In the Enterprise Engineering papers, I warned about 'superstitious 
acquisition', the danger of using citation because it can be only rumor 
backed up by a cult of personality.  Still, let's take a simpler example. 
Because we know that XML-Dev is reasonably well read, it would be
to see stats on how many hits on the search engines the terminology of 
chaos and complexity theory recorded this week.   We see the bottom up 
driving of ontological creation, and if automated, these are what 
Costello should be looking at.

>c) it is obvious that up to now, ontologies were restricted to some
>domain but not to the web at large. When knowledge is highly codified it
>is most of the time structured with ontology. When it is mostly tacit,
>nada, no ontology, just behavior and hidden knowledge in the brain of

There is research that claims the brain does schematize and even if these 
aren't publicly documented, it uses these inner schemas to frame searches 
and to react to the environment.  That is the core of some of the thinking 
that went into HumanML.  In that design, the entire system of communicating 
entities are semiotes processing signs and emitting signs, and the
is a semiote as well.  The diagram I posted the other day makes that point. 
It is feedback-mediated adaptation writ very large.   So in effect, the use 
of the web modifies its ontologies and modifies these internal ontologies. 

In Beyond the Book Metaphor (1990), I wrote this preface:

"The progressive evolution of life is characterized by the ability to
and master increasingly higher levels of information.  This integrated
becomes knowledge which we apply to control our environment and solve the
which confront us. ... The effectiveness of this representation directly and

profoundly affects our evolution as a culture, a society, and finally as a
species." [1]

Feedback mediated adaptation is key to this concept.  We change the
and it offers new opportunities for change.  As a result, we change.  That
much more important than the web.  It is a tool, but

"As we are a society of toolmakers, the effect of the loop between
of knowledge and control of our environment can be seen in the means and
by which we perceive, communicate, and implement the requirements for new
tools." [1]

>d) Search engine are the real semantic web and they connect URI with
>words. More and more as demonstrated with the "~" operator (in Google)
>or with Adsense, they possess the concept of association or related
>concept to a theme. Search engines own the semantic web and ontologies.

To some extent, yes, but the search engine is just an engine.  It is 
the feedback loop that creates the ontologies bottom up and then 
the direction those ontologies give to the direction of a search 
that is the nonlinear dynamic power.  Look for the intelligent selector. 
One can do this with agents, yes, but so far, we are doing it with 
our own gray matter.  The web is indeed an amplifier, and its signal 
processing clearly demonstrates the effects of controlled feedback, 
and that is directed evolution if not a top down hierarchy as such. 
In fact, a top down directed evolution is precisely what I fear about
a so-called, semantic web.

"Clearly the non-optimized linear motions of our past cannot control 
the complex competitive environment confronting us at the close of 
the twentieth century.  To survive, we must move beyond knowledge 
as represented in books into an integrated form that results from 
closing the loops between command, communication, and control 
of intelligence.  This knowledge will take form in new products 
that help us solve problems and direct our evolution." [1]


[1] ref:  Beyond The Book Metaphor - Len Bullard, GE Aircraft Engines


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