RE: Tomorrow is a new day

From: Stephen Reed (
Date: Fri Nov 05 2004 - 15:52:28 MST

On Fri, 5 Nov 2004, Ben Goertzel wrote:

> Our tentative conclusion was that the style in which Cyc represents
> knowledge is highly awkward when compared with natural language and also
> with natural representations for quantitative data patterns. In principle
> one can do automated reasoning to link Cyc knowledge in with knowledge
> acquired through these other mechanisms, but it's much harder than it needs
> to be, because of the various choices made in designing the Cyc
> representational style.

> So, my hypothesis is that formally encoding knowledge in a style designed
> without careful attention to both natural language and perception/action, is
> not a very good idea. The different parts of the mind are highly
> interdependent and each component needs to be thought of in terms of its
> relationship with the others. In the case of Cyc, abstract declarative
> knowledge and crisp inference on such knowledge was thought of basically in
> isolation from all other aspects of mind, which seems to have resulted in a
> knowledge base that is at best highly awkward to integrate into a coherent
> overall mind-framework. I think this is the reason why not much practical
> use has resulted from Cyc so far -- rather than the reason being that Cyc
> hasn't yet reached some magical "critical size."

Agreed that Cyc is not designed using the human mind as a model. Rather
Cyc uses a philosophical approach (e.g. James Allen's time relations,
Davidson's approach to representing events). I hope that the impedance
match between Cyc's vocabulary and English will be improved after the
import of WordNet 2.0, opening a wide door for practial applications in
the field of text knowledge management.

[My statements are my own opinions and not those of Cycorp.]


Stephen L. Reed                  phone:  512.342.4036
Cycorp, Suite 100                  fax:  512.342.4040
3721 Executive Center Drive      email:
Austin, TX 78731                   web:
         download OpenCyc at

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.5 : Wed Jul 17 2013 - 04:00:50 MDT