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

From: Ben Goertzel (
Date: Sun Dec 30 2001 - 00:46:11 MST

Well, I think you're dead wrong, but you may be unconvinceable..

I'll try one more time though.

Take for example the domain of bioinformatics.

There is a lot of useful information out there, in research papers.

Suppose I have a software system that runs on 200GB of RAM and a Linux
cluster, that can extract information from
these papers and store it in databases (examples: protein-protein
interaction data, signal transduction pathways,

Then, biologists who cannot afford my software system, can nevertheless
automatically access the data from these
papers, *without having to pay research assistants to read all the papers.*

What's your alternative? Just to glibly say "Make your fancy software
system cheaper so everyone can use it?" Maybe
it's not that easy...

I don't feel you're being practical at all

Of course, maybe practicality is out of place on an SL4 list, but I guess
I've been polluted by 4 years in industry ;p


> -----Original Message-----
> From: []On Behalf
> Of Jeff Bone
> Sent: Saturday, December 29, 2001 11:57 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: The inevitability of death, or the death of inevitability?
> 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. :-)
> jb

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