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Keep up the good work.


Thanks for writing this.

Ivan Handler

Another take on this is that Shirky is right but, depending on how things evolve, he comments are probably irrelevant.

The problem with AI (where the ideas behind the semantic web ultimately originate) is that attempts to find universal mechanical solutions to the problem of intelligence are probably doomed. On the other hand, this does not mean that specific problems can not be tackled. The real implication is that the ability to extend a solution in one problem domain to other domains is limited.

In that case, as specific problems are solved using semantic technology, the utility of the technology will grow. The fact that it may not be universal in the sense that the Star Trek computer was is a minor point at best. Businesses need better ways to solve problems faster. I believe that proper use of semantic technology has the potential to be very useful.

Once you leave the realm of complete generality the need to restrict one's deductive technique to syllogisms also evaporates (though I am far from clear that that restriction is justifiable in the first place). Based on a model of the domain, semantics (or ontologies) can be used in ways that take advantage of assumptions of structure that are true throughout the domain. If this is starting to sound like computer programming, it should since that is all we can ever do with computers to start with. Semantic technology allows us to apply techniques we understand to a new class of data, it can not allow us to do anything you can not do with a computer...

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