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I would say that there is no
basis for the web in implicit or tacit ontologies. There are people
who have habituated themselves to certain sign/signified relationships
and the web is a means of amplifying the speed of that habit forming
Hummm, if you look at this through the perspective of behaviorism yes you
are right. If you look at this through the lenses of cognition, there is a
mental model and a tacit ontology in their mind. Keywords people are typing
reflect their view of the world. Recently I came across this through a
site's log. Some people used "green tea weight loss" others used herbal
weight loss". You can notice here that some are using a more general term
than the others. Statistically, we can notice that about these keywords are
closer or farther than the concept they are searching for. What we can do
though is constructing a working model of this tacit ontology in order to
find what are the different keywords related to a particular concept and how
far from the concept they are. We may use possibility theory to formalize
such distance. Then, to process this we can encode it in a language able to
express this type of relation. They are not judgment call if their thinking
is right or wrong, this is simply an a posteriori model.
That relationship exists because people are creating it and then we
are automating a discovery of what they created.
Or Saussurean semiotics.
Yes from a certain perspective you are right. Reality is multi-facetted.
Again, this is not a revolution. It is just more of the same kind
of thing the marketing companies have done to us and with us via other
media since cave painting. They infer the sign/signfier relationship,
then manipulate the presentation to manipulate the behaviors of the
OK if the term revolution is too strong for you, let's forget it. However,
if we have the possibility to process concepts emerging from facts created
by people _and_ automated agents like search engine, we have reached a new
level of computing. I agree with you, though, that in the last 20 years AI
hasn't delivered on the initial promises. Not because these systems doesn't
work (just look at the results of Oncocyn, mycin and other similar systems)
but more because they are costly to build.
These are made. You are making the Platonic error of assuming these
are real in the sense of 'from nothing'. They are an output from a
feedback mediated system in which the humans are the initiating source.
Yes they are made and are expression of some internal process called
cognition. Who told you that I am making the platonic error of assuming
these are real? Certainly not me! I just said "there exist a corpus of
relations between >keyphrases/topics/themes/concepts". These things are
mental constructs nothing more nothing less. There is noting in this
statement that says that it existed before human beings. Simply that we can
observe, deduct, infer that there exist a corpus or relationship. And I do
not know if these are the result of a feedback loop.
We can automate the heck out of it. How predictive is it?
Sorry, I do not know yet how predictive it is, since I am only at the
beginning of studying this phenomenon. I can only hope this research can
lead to a predictive model. Note that I said model not platonic certainties
A University of Pennsylvania study published a fascinating study.
When it comes to predicting conflict outcomes, role playing games
(RPGs) beat game theory and statistical analysis three to one. For
those who look at the semantic web and say, "so but so what", I look
at it and say, "what a rich mine for feeding RPGs!" and realize that
in combination with distributed online game systems (which, folks,
are a generation or two beyond distributed hypertext or hypermedia depending
on your particular semantic community), this is an incredible area
of innovation for commercial companies. Keep the wetware productive.
Blogs are just people thinking out loud. Online gaming is people
behaving together. It is community building, socialization,
and a very powerful means to predict and influence behavior. Use
the semantic web technology to feed metadata (situation semantics)
to a massive RPG and you have a very powerful and influential web
Probably in that context and that purpose. But I doubt this method could be
useful when two sources on the web state something differently about the
same concept. Role playing won't help. We need another way to resolve the
issue. Science is using a certain process to resolve this kind of issues.
Can we automated that? Several proposals are on the table. OWL and RDF and
the official semantic web technologies coming from W3 do not help. Is there
a way to do it efficiently and economically? The question is open.
This said, I agree with you that role playing games are very useful to
uncover the other side motives. Being in the shoes of the other parties has
always been the basis of any negotiation process. Does it help to discover
the truth? Not necessarily. Does it help to convince or influence? Probably.
Does it help to find what statement between the following two is closer to
reality? I doubt.
a) The earth is revolving around the sun
b) The sun is revolving around the earth.
This is precisely what an active agent would have to resolve in the real
world semantic web: conflicting statement about the same reality. Is it
possible to imagine a mechanism that would help provide a solution to this
issue? I do not know, I am just exploring....
Yes, and that is a feedback loop. The ontology is emerging from the
'what others are saying' because an ontology without a community of
discourse is just a blog without context. The machine can extract
a faux ontology, but it requires agreement to become anything of interest.
Usually a feedback loop modifies the behavior or state of an entity. To be
less fuzzy and more precise, what is modified? Is this the ranking you are
talking about? Do you mean that the resource ---> concept/class relationship
is changed because of the number of links? Is this really a feedback loop?
The nonlinear systems effects that Roger is looking for are not in the
web itself although it maps them much the way one maps nonlinear equations
in n-dimensional graphics. The web is not fractal; it maps fractal
behaviors. They are a result of the active interface between the
humans who create information and the humans who consume information
and then create more information. The result is a drift in semantics
which do have attractors, but which are mathematically, a lattice of
theories. The semantic web can be a means to equalize, tune or
otherwise filter the signal being amplified, but it isn't the source,
and if presented as that, that is a power grab by those who wish
to control that signal.
I do not know if the semantic web will be the source. I can only, with a
certain probability, state that if more and more data/information is
published, we'll need to know what is behind it. What is the meaning of,
what is the mental model behind this data? For instance, how can I know,
without having certain knowledge of its country of origin what could help me
understand without errors the following statements?
a) Joe is using rubbers (If this is slang I have a complete different
b) Joe is a chemist (completely a different meaning if the source of this
statement is from England or from the USA)
As there is more than one English (or more than one French or more than one
Portuguese) there is more than one language. If English and American do not
agree on the same meaning for the same words(Ex: chemist) or French from
France and French from Quebec not agreeing on the same meaning for a
particular word (Ex: poudrerie), imagine the potential confusion between
totally different language and cultures. Can ontologies help? This is
precisely what I am exploring....
Didier PH Martin