Points of agreement (Re: KR standards and shared KB workshop)Robert Neches <email@example.com>
Cc: Gruber@sumex-aim.stanford.edu, SRKB@isi.edu, firstname.lastname@example.org
Subject: Points of agreement (Re: KR standards and shared KB workshop)
In-reply-to: Your message of Thu, 21 Mar 91 15:37:00 -0800.
Date: Thu, 21 Mar 91 18:12:38 PST
From: Robert Neches <email@example.com>
You made a number of points where I, personally, agree more than I disagree.
>Im sorry, but I have to say
>what I said to Mike G. the other day: to suggest that there should be a
>Standard ontology for natural language and common sense is nothing short
>of irresponsible for anyone competent in AI.
Well, I certainly don't support the aspersions against those who think
otherwise. However, I do agree that we are not going to get a consensus
standard ontology for anything particularly broad very soon.
>more worried about WG1, which could easily settle on some kind of
>industrial 'standard' and seriously damage progress in these difficult
>and potentially very rewarding areas.
Again, without buying the tone and phrasing, I agree with the content.
I think it would be a bad thing if this meeting, or any series of meetings,
was to try to define an "official" domain-specific ontology.
AT THIS POINT, YOU -- AND ANY OTHER READERS -- MAY WANT TO KNOW HOW THE HELL
THE GUY COORDINATING THE KR STANDARDS EFFORT CAN BE AGREEING WITH YOU ON
Well, my personal view is that shared ontologies are possible with today's
knowledge representation technology -- but they will *evolve* rather than
being legislated. That is, standard shared ontologies will emerge out of a
marketplace -- people will use and refine ones that seem useful, and they
will become more useful in the process. I think they'll start small and
specific, rather than broad and general.
Thus, the only successful "standard" ontologies will be *de facto standards*.
I don't think it will happen by fiat.
I view our mission in the SRKB group as trying to see if we can get a
marketplace process started. Any work on content of ontologies is for the
purpose of seeding the process with some initial entries -- not as trying to
legislate the outcomes. (This is a personal opinion, about which reasonable
people can certainly differ.)
For that reason, I'm particularly in agreement when you say things like...
>Look, Im all in favour of creating large Kbases, and I see the
>desirability of making existing ones accessible for use by others.
>Maybe we should think of ways of doing this, including such things as
>what might be called ontological documentation
...My hope is that precisely the things we'll start talking about this weekend
are questions like this suggestion raises. What does someone need to know
about an ontology if they're going to try to reuse it? How can we help a
prospective user understand it, work within the spirit of its intended use,
etc? When an ontology doesn't fit, what gets done about it? In general, what
does it take to support a group that's trying to build and use a shared
>Am I completely off your wavelength, or do we really disagree this much?
It will be interesting to find out.
>Anyway, I will be wellbehaved on Sunday: my private goal is to find out
>from the horses' mouths what people think about this stuff. Who knows,
>maybe I can be converted.
I look forward to meeting you this weekend.
> * What are the barriers to knowledge sharing?
>The worst one is mutual incomprehension.
Actually, I find the worst one is when people fall asleep while I'm talking. :-)