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

From: Jeff Bone (
Date: Sat Dec 29 2001 - 23:57:28 MST

Ben Goertzel wrote:

> Well, I tried to explain this, but apparently I was not clear enough.

My apologies, I've apparently been trying to make my point a bit too subtly.
IMO, the process you describe --- using *any* tools to turn unstructured data
into structured data --- is dangerous and counterproductive. Ontologies are
inherently brittle, static things, and require lots of care and feeding. Using
expensive tools to turn unstructure into structure *today* just leads to more
noise and cost tomorrow. I don't dispute that this can and will happen ---
indeed, *is* happening. My point is it isn't a good thing, even temporarily.

Consider: over 90% of the lifetime cost of storing data isn't in the storage
media / hardware, it's in the operational and support --- i.e., information
management --- costs. And the interesting (and counterintuitive) thing is that
structured data has *much* higher lifetime TCO than unstructured data.
Unfortunately, we're going to spend a whole lot of effort to create additional
(and brittle) structured (and metastructured) information that will ultimately
be "noise." I wish all that effort --- and all the "cheaper, dumber tools"
effort to extract value from that dubious process --- was instead spent on other
more useful things like:

Good, useful tools for dealing with unstructured data needn't be costly. :-)


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