Thursday, November 27, 2003

On Ontologies and Gnomes

The AI gnomes of Zurich "McDermott ends with a zinger:

It's annoying that Shirky indulges in the usual practice of blaming AI for every attempt by someone to tackle a very hard problem. The image, I suppose, is of AI gnomes huddled in Zurich plotting the next attempt to --- what? inflict hype on the world? AI tantalizes people all by itself; no gnomes are required. Researchers in the field try as hard as they can to work on narrow problems, with technical definitions. Reading papers by AI people can be a pretty boring experience. Nonetheless, journalists, military funding agencies, and recently the World-Wide Web Consortium, are routinely gripped by visions of what computers should be able to do with just a tiny advance beyond today's technology, and off we go again. Perhaps Mr. Shirky has a proposal for stopping such visions from sweeping through the population."

The entry links to a paper which lists the things that the Semantic Web "violates" wirth respect to traditional assumptions about AI. Including lack of referential integrity, variety in quality, diversity and no single authority. As noted, these are the same problems with human intelligence too.

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