RE: The inevitability of death, or the death of inevitability?

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sat Dec 29 2001 - 19:08:55 MST

Well, of course human communication in formal languages could only be
suggested (by me) as a joke.... Yes, of course, ambiguity allows very
compact communication within a group where there is ample tacit

As for the semantic web, I think it's a fine idea, but I think that, when it
takes off, the semantic
markup is going to mainly be inserted by (initially primitive) AI's, not by

AI's that are costly to operate can read a Web page once and insert semantic

Then, much dumber and cheaper computer programs can interpret the semantic
markups for
the reader... doing a little contextual thinking...

For instance, an AI reading a commercial website can automatically create a
database of price information. A dumber shopping bot can then consult this
database, telling the user if the prices on a given product are sufficiently
cheap for his
budget or not.

This way, the semantic web can work. But I agree, it's not likely to work
if it requires
humans to enter a lot of knowledge in formal languages.

I have supervised a number of educated humans entering knowledge in a formal
(KNOW, a form of higher-order probabilistic term logic used to feed
knowledge into Webmind
sometimes), and I'm well aware of how hard this is even for very smart, very

-- Ben

> Ben Goertzel wrote:
> > Perhaps we should commence communicating only in higher-order
> probabilistic
> > term logic. I think this would work better than XML, which was
> previously proposed
> > on this or the extropians list as a future means of human
> communication ;-)
> Careful... language is ambiguous for a reason: that ambiguity
> yields flexibility. IMO, "the semantic Web" --- i.e., explicit
> encoding of all sorts of knowledge explicitly as XML metadata
> embedded in the Web's hypertext --- is a terrible, unworkable idea.
> We need better tools for extracting "messy" semantics from ambiguous
> languages. So yes, I agree with you: probabilistic logics over
> ambiguous, unstructured data are better tools for exchanging
> *knowledge* than graph structures connecting explicit, structured
> data.
> jb

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