RE: RDF, the "semantic web", and the nadir of AI (was RE: Realist icprop
<warning>If you are reading this when you should be coding, you are guilty of defrauding your company. Shut up and go back to work.</warning> I don't disagree with your sketch of the interactive web. But it is interactive now. Semantic? I don't think so. Could use more annotations or meta information? Sure. Systems that gather information on the actions of the user and feed these back into the system to say, generate a user interface or alter information such as navigation, are tactical, the so called, Type C production systems. These are also the basis for the Class 4 and 5 IETM systems that use pre and post conditions to choose nodes and diagnose faults. This is where the web is already at depending on just how hard a site developer wants to work at it. For example, the pornography industry works very hard at it and shares information extensively. DoubleClick works. Whatever your tastes are, they are busily trying to get new and different content to satisfy them. Caveat emptor. Steve Newcomb has a good comment on such systems: "Don't put anything on the web that that you wouldn't want to see on the front page of the New York Times or have your minister read to the congregation in the Sunday morning service." You must understand policy and apply it well. For that reason, the governments of the world are involved and will increase their involvement in the web business. You get to trust elected officials or company officials or hackers. Consider the subtext of the new credit card commercials in which people shopping online are dropped into a basement hell made up of unshaven stinky young programmers taunting the shopper about how they are smart enough to steal and the shopper isn't smart enough to stop them. The shopper holds up the magic card, and poof, all the stinky people vanish to replaced by the shining white light of professional commerce. You can see the zeitgeist forming. Yes, it is a stereotype, and yes, it is sticking. By clickstream mechanics, form-filling, full-text analysis, annotation and so forth, a great deal of information can be aggregated and inferences made. Inferences backed up with confidence weights etc are all part of the AI legacy that we understand and yes, are applying to web systems. No problem. A coarse transaction that can be stored and restored enables this to work just fine. We can do all of that. Yet another old tech becomes new again. That's good. I've seen semantic network systems, neural networks, rule-based forward and backward chaining for expert systems, and the whole bit that was AI before it went out of vogue. If someone creates services based on these and improves capabilities, they may improve the products. That the entire future of the web will be based on these is doubtful. That the future of the successful business is and will continue to be reliable services with high quality is not in doubt. If RDF, topic maps, and XLinks can increase this reliability and quality, then they will play a role in that future. Put all of that in the context of an n-tier architecture (presentation layer, workflow layer, business objects, database) and we can easily talk requirements and get results. As you say, "once we have the data, we can do anything with it". On the other hand, others will do unto you as well with their data. The realism of the proposals to the W3C must be their basis in promoting not just advanced, but demonstrably useful services. That may be what TimBL means by "does socially useful things". It is meaningful because it means something to the user. The word is not the thing, as the linguists tell us. Be sure your policies promote trust. The essence is stable cooperating systems, alliances, not complexity as a barrier to competition. Discoverable services must have clear, simple, reliable interfaces. Len http://www.mp3.com/LenBullard Ekam sat.h, Vipraah bahudhaa vadanti. Daamyata. Datta. Dayadhvam.h
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