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Actually, there might be ground to do something around that idea; an open
From my point of view, either you decompose using analytic tools or you
synthetise. You can find these ideas around science history, depending on
which period your look at... A book like the Zen Art of Motorcycle
Maintenance tells you about these things.
Google does try to synthetise; after all this is the goal of a search engine
Agents is an idea b/c they do learn and creates complex interaction.
Ontologies and a more synthetic views are 2 differents POV for the same
thing but they're not used the same... What would be the third way?
Using both at the same times? (apprehending reality in a multiplex way where
something could be both Black and white)?
Just an idea thought :=)
De : Chiusano Joseph [mailto:email@example.com]
Envoye : vendredi 3 octobre 2003 15:26
A : Roger L. Costello
Cc : firstname.lastname@example.org
Objet : Re: [xml-dev] Reductionist vs Holistic Semantics
The critical problem is how to create a tool which provides semantics in
a holistic fashion *for computers*. Would someone care to take a stab
at characterizing the nature of such a tool?
I attended an excellent presentation by your colleague Leo Obrst Wed.
evening, and your quote "Everything affects everything else, and you
have to understand the whole web of interactions." reminds me of one
aspect that we discussed at the presentation: The aspect of agents
learning new behaviors through interactions over time.
So I would offer that this is one characteristic of such a tool.
Booz | Allen | Hamilton
"Roger L. Costello" wrote:
> Hi Folks,
> Reading  this morning stimulated some thoughts ...
> "The reductionist approach [involves] dissecting the world into the
> smallest and simplest pieces you can. You look for the solution of some
> more or less idealized set of problems, somewhat divorced from the real
> world, and constrained sufficiently so that you can find a solution."
> As I read this it occurred to me that the RDFS and OWL approach is
> reductionist. That is, you take the existing world, break it up into
> pieces, and then document the relationship of those pieces. This
> documentation of relationships constitutes the "semantics" of those
> For example, consider the camera domain. An OWL ontology will break up
> this domain into pieces such as Camera, SLR, aperture, f-stop, etc. And
> then it will relate those piece like this:
> - SRL is a type of Camera
> - aperture is synonymous with f-stop
> But is it reasonable to treat semantics with such a sterilized,
> laboratory approach?
> "The real world demands ... a more holistic approach. Everything
> affects everything else, and you have to understand the whole web of
> I will argue here that semantics must be approached from a holistic
> approach (i.e., a complex systems approach).
> Consider the Camera example above. Is aperture really synonymous with
> f-stop? I have received many emails from physicists telling me that it
> is not. (Characterisitic of a true reductionist I ignored their
> objections saying that such differences were inconsequential/noise.)
> Yet, if I walk into a camera store the salesperson will use the terms
> aperture and f-stop interchangeably. The lesson that I learn from this
> is that the semantics of aperture and f-stop are quite interconnected
> with, and impacted by other domains such as optics, physics,
> mathematics, and the economy.
> There may be untility to treating semantics with a sterilized,
> laboratory approach. Certainly if this was the 17th century, where
> computers weren't available, then such a static, taxonomy-like approach
> would be acceptable. But in today's dynamic, computer-driven world
> surely we can do better ... much better.
> I believe that Didier and Mike Champion made mention of Google as tool
> which provides semantics in a holistic fashion. I found their
> statements extremely enlightening I totally agree with them. Yes, I
> think that Google is the best semantics tool today.
> While Google provides semantics in a holistic fashion, it is more or
> less semantics for eyeballs, i.e., the results it returns is intended
> for humans to process. The critical problem is how to create a tool
> which provides semantics in a holistic fashion *for computers*. Would
> someone care to take a stab at characterizing the nature of such a tool?
>  Complexity by M. Mitchell Waldrop, p. 60-61
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