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Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Organic Growth of Knowledge

I applaud your efforts and direction, and I wish you tremendous success. I
still see no great use for it. Google is the best thing since sliced bread
for finding information, but it doesn't know about my personal ontology, or
that of science fiction writers.    (01)

In your example of the French Revolution, a search on the words "French
Revolution" would be just as useful. If a paper was somehow marginal to that
subject area, or approached it from a unique angle which did not include
those words, it would be just as likely to be missed by either method.    (02)

Possibly Wolfram's new science has a hint for us. He demonstrates that
mathematical formulae cannot underly reality, because if, as he proposes,
the universe is a simple program, you have to play it through to arrive at a
particular moment. The only way to achieve the perspective of a given point,
is to travel there.    (03)

This is obviously a simplistic account of his work, but it shows that
attempting to anticipate the perspective of a researcher through an ontology
may be ultimately futile. And this is why I use and recommend an approach
which does not ontologize in advance, but provides powerful tools for ad hoc
"fuzzy" searches.    (04)

I believe that so much attention is being paid to processing and
categorizing the information that the user end of the equation is suffering.    (05)

Malcolm Dean
Los Angeles    (06)

----- Original Message -----
From: "Murray Altheim" <m.altheim@open.ac.uk>
To: <ba-ohs-talk@bootstrap.org>
Sent: Thursday, August 15, 2002 10:54 AM
Subject: Re: [ba-ohs-talk] Organic Growth of Knowledge    (07)

> Malcolm Dean wrote:
> > When I use InfoSelect or askSAM, I never have to worry about classifying
> > information. A "neural" search generally finds what I want, just as
> > comes up with your target most of the time. If ontologies are to be
> > and successful, they should be background processes invisible to users,
> > they should be *necessary* to the technical implementation. If they're
> > necessary, (and they are clearly such a failure at the user level), then
> > are we bothering with what is otherwise just an interesting computing
> > problem?
> Malcolm,
> I'm kinda coming at this from a different angle. The Ph.D. project
> I'm tackling here at KMi is designed to produce an authoring system
> that will enable authors to categorize their research materials via
> an "authoring ontology" (and by extension, anyone else trying to
> organize their research materials, references, outlines, etc.).
> So (if I'm successful) I'll have produced something that a selected
> group of people want. It won't be transparent insofar as they will
> be directly interacting with the underlying structures, which must
> be extensible/modifiable by the user/author. For example, an author
> writing about the French revolution (and organizing historical
> information about specific individuals and events) will have rather
> different needs than a science fiction writer (where even spacetime
> might be altered, or at least extended 40,000 years into the future).
> There's two things about this I think notable.
> First, as I think I've mentioned here before, I think ontologies
> must be personal, contextually-based, and ever-changing. I don't
> think I could devise an ontology that would suit just myself as
> an "everyday" or "common-sense" ontology, since the purpose to
> which that ontology might be put changes with every application.
> These ontologies (and the applications that process them) must be
> "lazy" or "fuzzy" in that we humans don't categorize things all
> that accurately, or at least with any sense of permanency.
> Secondly, in the past ontologies have been designed by groups of
> experts in the field of ontology (whatever that means; I've met
> a few people with a philosophical background who find the entire
> field of computer-based "ontologies" rather abhorrent). The idea
> of a universal ontology is likewise abhorrent for all sorts of
> reasons.
> What I'm interested in developing (and in seeing developed) are
> the tools that would allow the development *and sharing* of
> personal ontologies, ontologies that *don't* agree with each other.
> I think I once mentioned this in an OHS meeting at SRI, but I'm
> interested in using ontologies to assist in conflict resolution,
> to eek out the differences in world view. I'd love to see (rather
> than from our computer scientists) the published ontologies of
> our world's religious, political, philosophical, and artistic
> thinkers. I can't honestly imagine it happening, but the middle
> east crisis right now would perhaps benefit from both parties
> going to the trouble of establishing and publishing what they
> think about the world, and in seeing how their views compare.
> The reason I can't imagine it happening is that I don't believe
> people always *want* to expose their views to scrutiny, don't
> always want reasoned discussion. I can't (for example) believe
> the US government would want a reasoned discussion on why it
> still allows the manufacture and sale of land mines within its
> shores.
> If the concept of a DKR is legitimate, it's also legitimate to
> think of a personal DKR, and if we were to develop the tools to
> allow the world's writers (who after all, mostly use computers
> nowadays, even if just word processors) to build upon a base
> ontology, altering it to suit their needs and worldview, and then
> they were to publish those ontologies (heck, why not?) we could
> see how their ideas compared with others and potentially be able
> to discern the rationale behind their books. Someone like Umberto
> Eco, Michael Ondaatje, someone like a modern Tolstoy, we could
> all learn a great deal more if we wanted to dig in.
> Murray
> ......................................................................
> Murray Altheim                  <http://kmi.open.ac.uk/people/murray/>
> Knowledge Media Institute
> The Open University, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK7 6AA, UK
>       If it wants to be a global power and a player in the
>       Atlantic alliance, Europe has to get back into the
>       business of making war. -- Newsweek Magazine, June 3, 2002
>    (08)