Standards are coming! Standards are coming!!
Message-id: <>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 92 14:22:07 EST
Subject: Standards are coming!  Standards are coming!!

There is a major difference between standards that enable everybody
to do things better or more easily than they could without them and
standards that are equally onerous for everyone.

Peter Karp's recent note is an excellent statement of the advantages
of standards, and it expresses the reasons why we are trying to
establish a set of good, nonrestrictive standards.

Following is the complete concluding paragraph from my earlier note:

> Those people who are still afraid that standards might cramp their
> style have a right to be concerned.  But we must realize that standards
> are coming, and there are only two alternatives:
>  1. A clean, logic-based standard that could serve as a neutral interface
>     between systems based on any kind of reasoning techniques, including
>     neural networks, fuzzy logic, or some super nonmonotonic method.
>  2. Another half-vast standard like SQL that is full of ad hoc
>     excrescences and limitations.
> A logic-based standard would not impose a limitation on anyone's
> creativity in developing new kinds of reasoning styles.  On the contrary,
> it would enable software developers to provide a platform of basic
> reasoning modules.  Then creative researchers could build new kinds of
> reasoning techniques on top of them that could combine the basic knowledge
> in wild and wonderful ways.  Without standards, there is so much dog work
> required to do the basic stuff that it is very hard to do anything
> really interesting on top of it.

I believe that alternative #2, which is what will happen to us if we
bury our heads in the sand and hope that standards will go away, would
be a very cramping and unfortunate outcome.  Alternative #1, for which
many people including me have been working very hard, would be helpful
to everyone in the AI community as well as database, communications,
CIM, CASE tools, O-O programming systems, etc.

If you can think of any kind of research program that could possibly
be harmed by alternative #1, please let us all know.

John Sowa