Re: [unrev-II] Towards a DKR

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Wed Jan 19 2000 - 14:18:51 PST

From: Eric Armstrong <>

Jack Park wrote:

> > Needless to say, it is important to be able to remove superfluous
> information from a knowledge repository.
> To which I inquire: how shall that be done?
> Eric's comment is bound to raise the libertarian hackels on some
> folks.
> Indeed, Jon Katz is raising them over at on the subject
> of flaming and so forth.

This is clearly a critical question. The section further on talks about
the reduction process necessarily differs depending on whether one has
an "abstract knowledge mathematics" available.

If so, then it may be possible to produce some reductions automatically.

Others can be accompanied by proofs, which can be checked (possibly
automatically, but at least manually).

That would be ideal, to my mind. But the real world suggests that we
aren't going to have such a thing anytime soon. (However, I suggest
that we will need it to manage the explosion of information and problems

in the next century.)

Given that we have a natural language system, then, the reduction must
occur by a process of "subsuming". In that process, the original
messages never go away -- they are subsumed by a reduction.
When the reduction is posted, the original messages are linked to it.
Those most likely to disagree with the reduction will be those who
posted some of the originals -- or at least read and understood them.
That may cause a series of replies and counter-replies, which will
themselves be replaced by a (hopefully more accurate reduction).

As an example, a moment ago I sent this message:
> Jon Winters wrote:
> > Buckminster Fuller had a bunch of ideas about self contained
> > communities.
> Now *there's* a guy who had ideas to burn.
> Any references spring to mind?

Ideally, Jan will reply with a couple of references on community
building. Maybe even some links. That is information we should
save at a high level in the knowledge hierarchy.

But note that *my* message is entirely superfluous. The first line
makes a general statement that contains no useful content. The
information it contains ("Fuller is good") would be better captured
in an Amazon-style rating of the various books and messages
that are contained in the repository.

[Side note: I claim that Amazon's most significant "value add" in
  online retailing is the opinion-gathering they provide. When I
  go to that site, I get reviews by people all over the world.
  I've rarely gone wrong by relying on the reviews.]

The second line of the message asks for useful information, but
delivers none. Clearly, my message is a sterling candidate for
reduction -- so that we boil out the noise and let the important
information float to the top.

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