Re: Issues with XML and Semantic Web ?
On Tue, 9 Nov 2004 17:05:19 +0530, Garfield <xmlstar@g...> wrote: I'm only going to address one point; > 4) Your thoughts on the adaptability curve for the Ontologies across > Enterprises for the next couple of years and beyond. I'm assuming you're asking about the rate of adoption of ontologies in actual enterprises? If so, this is a very interesting question. First, Ontologies are unlikely to get much traction, IMHO, as long as they are called "ontologies", and one is forced to be conversant with formal semantics, formal logics, etc. in order to use them in an enterprise IT project. Somehow this approach has to be repackaged in a way that rests cleanly on the foundation of semantic web theory/technology, but exposes only those concepts (and terminology) that are accessible to ordinary mortals. Second, somehow the process of building usefully large but consistent enterprise ontologies must be made more feasible. I'm not sure how possible this is in principle (Goëdel had something to say along these lines?) but presumably most enterprises have enough structured information in their glossaries, data dictionaries, business processes, and existing IT operations that can be captured and usefully reasoned about .... given time. Technology can only automate the tedium of humans doing, not take garbage in and spit consistent ontologies out. Will technologies that effectively support what humans need to do to make this happen come onto the market? I see some hopeful signs, but I don't think Protege even comes close to being useful to the kinds of people who will have to do this in the mainstream world. Third, if ontology-building is a top-down approach to supporting semantics, there's a question of whether the bottom-up approach of making sense of things by induction will actually work better. (The eternal induction vs deduction debate ...). See, for example http://www.eetimes.com/article/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=51201131 'Sony Computer Science Laboratory is positioning its "emergent semantics" as a self-organizing alternative to the W3C's Semantic Web'. The bottom-up approaches (e..g. the Google approach to web serarch, the SpamBayes approach to spam filtering) seems to be awfully good at hitting 80:20 points in the real world while the top-down approaches are still research projects. I am personally convinced that the bottom-up approach will continue to rule in massively unstructured domains such as the web and email; I'm not so sure that the top-down ontology building might not be more efficient in situations where there is a lot of semantic structure (e.g. enterprise IT shops) but it just has to be captured and exploited. Nevertheless, both seems quite viable at the moment, and different companies are betting on one, the other, or both. It may be that the rate of adoption of ontologies will be stifled by early successes from the bottom-up approach in real enterprise applications.
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