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Disappointed, rather than anything else...

My friend Jim Hendler is pissed off because of something Clay Shirky wrote a long time ago and other people keep quoting. Stuff keeps getting attributed to Jim, Tim B-L, and me that we never said (something to the effect that Semantic Web would be about an idealistically organized world, a small number of "official" top-level ontologies, etc.). We have been, in fact, promoting the opposite.

Shirky's naïve, uniformed and downright erroneous interpretation of the Semantic Web keeps popping up. I just feel it is time to put it to rest. In the past, I have already commented on it (in a blog article that was really about something else) so I won't do it anymore.

I am just mostly disappointed now. I was pissed off like Jim is now, but what disappoints me is that people would rely on hearsay. If you want to quote me, or attribute some ideas to me, read what I have written and published.

Notice that the Artificial Intelligence community had some perhaps idealistic (and unrealistic) ideas and dreams in the past (some decades ago, mind you). Not only do I believe that idealism is warranted, sometimes, to inspire people to develop new things, but the AI community has also progressed from those ideas. We have learned many things, just like (I hope) other research communities do. I am disappointed about (and offended by) the idea that we would still be dwelling in the past.

Posted by ora at 08:33


Hello Ora, I can see why you'd both be upset. Clay Shirky winds lots of people up. It would be nice if the semantic web debate focused more on facts and evidence rather than opinion and beliefs, see Burn semantic web, burn!

Posted by: Duncan Hull at November 30, 2007 11:38 AM