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Re: [ontac-forum] Our prayers have been answered.

To: ONTAC-WG General Discussion <ontac-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 02 Dec 2005 16:22:36 -0500
Message-id: <4390BB1C.4020002@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Barry, Rick, Gary, et al.,    (01)

I browsed through Azmat A's 1717-page tome,
(but I spared the trees by not printing it out):    (02)

    http://www.encyclopedic-intelligence.com/    (03)

And I agree with the implication of Barry's ironic
comment that our prayers have not been answered.
I also sympathize with Gary's point:    (04)

GBC> These types of encyclopedic ontology efforts
 > that pop up suggest we need to be concerned about
 > ontology consumer protection.  Perhaps, as develop
 > better criteria to judge these candidates we can
 > launch an effort, say at  NIST to develop some
 > standards by which we judge these candidates.    (05)

Yes, but are there *any* upper ontologies that we
could recommend to consumers?    (06)

The system Matthew West has been proposing is one of
the few that has been tested on some large applications
but so far, people who have developed other ontologies
aren't showing any enthusiasm for adopting its upper
ontology in place of their own.    (07)

I would like to recall the issues I raised in my paper
on the Challenge of Knowledge Soup:    (08)

    http://www.jfsowa.com/pubs/challenge.pdf    (09)

After 21 years of effort by Cyc and other groups,
the claim that a large ontology is necessary or
sufficient for successful applications is very
much in doubt.    (010)

So we have to ask some serious questions:    (011)

  1. Aside from axioms, which could be added to
     Azmat's ontology if anyone wanted to do so,
     what features make any of the current proposals
     better or worse than Azmat's upper level plus
     some suitable axioms?    (012)

  2. Is a one-size-fits-all upper ontology essential
     or even desirable to support interoperability?    (013)

  3. If there is a need for a single upper ontology,
     by what criteria could we judge which, if any,
     of the current proposals are worthy candidates?    (014)

  4. Are there any observable weaknesses in the
     currently implemented systems that demonstrate
     which aspects of an upper ontology should not
     be considered for a universal upper ontology?    (015)

  5. Are there are real success stories in the current
     systems that demonstrate which aspects should be
     considered universally desirable?    (016)

  6. Is interoperability fundamentally task dependent?
     If so, would a fixed upper ontology be a blessing
     or a handicap?    (017)

  7. What techniques or methodologies could enable systems
     with different upper ontologies to interoperate at
     a task-dependent level?    (018)

I'm sure there are many other questions that could be
raised, but these are some that should be addressed
before we make any decisions about which, if any, upper
ontology to give the "Good Ontology Seal of Approval".    (019)

John Sowa    (020)

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