Saturday, January 04, 2003

Tools will Save Us (again)

Tools Will Save Us "The person being scolded failed to realize why his post was so ironic and deserving of the scolding he got from Mark. I can't believe he failed to realize that the point Mark was making was that if we (i.e. he) can't even create properly machine readable versions of documents for simple formats like HTML and RSS, yet believs that we will somehow magically do this with more complex and confusing technologies like RDF/XML, DAML+OIL, OWL, etc. "

I haven't failed to understand that complexity will cause problems writing tools. In my original response, I linked to something I said in September, "It's a cop out to say that you should only use tools; until the machines write the tools that is."

The barrier to web publishing has never been lower than it is now, this is because of tools overcoming complexity.

Google is the obvious example of a tool overcoming massive complexity. Even Google doesn't always work. But then I end up using Vivisimo which lets me discriminate between the same lexical term by picking the correct semantic term.

Blogger is a bad tool, therefore tools can't save us. Engineers write tools, therefore engineers can't save us. These are very bad arguments, actually they're stupid and dangerous arguments. If that's the only argument that people have against the Semantic Web then please let me sell you some rocks to protect you from tigers. Things still work because of tolerance.

When I say we can categorize lies I was saying that this categorization does not have to depend on AI. All I was saying was that if you don't want to believe a person, site or data between the meta tag then that's what you can do. Maybe you don't need RDF but you'll need something that looks an awful lot like it.

I actually agree mostly with Mark if not the way he's argued his points. What is needed is semantics from the ground up and using HTML is a simple way of doing it, you need semantic applications for everyone indeed this is what the semantic web challenge is about.

Take a look at the TAP demos, like the Eric Miller example. This TAP KB is broad and shallow. However, it could be used to bootstrap a larger shared vocabulary. As Eric has said, "It's not artificial, and it's not intelligent...The conceptual models behind RDF are predicated on work in the digital library community. You can think of this as a common framework that supports thesaurus, taxonomies and classification schemes."

I don't like ad hominem arguments, and this isn't one, but I just had to wonder about the author of metacrap. That article always struck me as satire and made me laugh when I read it. Section 3 is even positive towards the latent semantics used by Google. So I dug around and I came across the author's FOAF which is an RDF vocabulary. He also co-founded OpenCola which is coming close to the every man's semantic web application. His "Disreputable Conduct in a Reputation Network OpenCola Versus the Demons of the Popular Imagination" talks about the kind of categorization and filtering that works and can be applied to the Semantic Web (he even talks about automated bots).
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