Complexity: syntax & semantic web.
Syntax in linguistics (Wikipedia),“is the study of the principles and rules for constructing sentences in natural languages. (…) The term syntax is also used to refer directly to the rules and principles that govern the sentence structure of any individual language”. Also, I would like to refer to this word in terms of syntax to the web. So, I will refer to the problem of syntax on the semantic web which is more connected to logic, artificial formal languages, and computer programming languages.
This week, I’m interested in taking a look at the concept of syntax with reference to George Siemens´s blog post called “Complexifying Dave Snowden, Cognitive Edge, SenseMaker”.
The blog´s post theme had catched my attention because I found a point of connection on the description of Dave´s capabilities described by George Siemens and the functions of semantic web. This is my first point of analysis.
The matters that occur with the problem of significance of the word “power” that Steve Downes objected with accuracy in his blog post´s comment is my second point of reflection.
Firstly, Dave´s linguistic abilities and the SenseMaker Tool functions leads me to the problem of the process of self-signification. I can learn from Steve the “critical” mode on the way he gave his point of view of the concepts.
The way in which George explained Dave´s ability to bring a broad knowledge base to bear on knowledge in complexity and the problem of significance of the use of the term “power” provides an example about the complexity of the problem of syntax and semantics on the Web.
People can easily distinguish the use of language and meaning of terms. Software agents, which generate the traces of metadata on the web, can confuse them.
The project of the semantic web intends to solve this problem with “ontologies” which defines the relationship among terms. Ontology has a taxonomy and a group of inference tools.
With regards to George´s blog post and the significance problem of the word “power” it could appear through the web, due to a codification and classification process. A process made by engineer and design professionals. When searching a word on the web, the machine will need to make inferences and recognize rules in an efficient way.
Is the case of SenseMaker which takes qualitative data (narratives) and adds a quantitative overlay through a process of self-signification.
I wonder, to what extent SenseMaker can recognize even the syntactic and semantic differences between languages, which induce differences corresponding to the representations of reality that make its users?.
This question about culture and language had been suggested by Sapir and Whorf (1) on the 30´s in their “linguistic relativity thesis”. This was developed in another context but, from my point of view, would not be so much that reality is interpreted differently, but encode and classify the words on the experience differently. These differences in coding and classification may be due to cultural features that reproduce the basic form of relationship between the community and the world.
Cultural difference is an important issue because it is not the same as a culture based on modern science-based culture, such as shamanism. Another example is the case of polar and tropical culture. The way the Eskimos designate the states of the snow presents a variety that has no correspondence in tropical languages.
The question is, if the web and the metadata may include on it syntax and semantics the cultural complexity of the common sense, the logic sense, or the “critical literacy” ( in the way Steve did on the comments´s blog post).
Secondly, I was interested in the problem of negotiation of meaning. Steve Downes brought up a good point about significance problem. He expressed his opinions articulated in the form of reasons and he used the terms in a rhetoric way.
He said “When I criticize you for vagueness, I am not criticizing you for certainly, I am criticizing you for imprecision. There are times (…) where you assert support for a proposition that cannot, strictly speaking, be understood”.
In this opinion, he gave his point of view about the objection. He gave more information to understand the aspect of the observation.
After this, Steve gave some examples of the language. In doing so, he reveals the symbolic of the concept of “power” to make reading contextualize.
Afterwards, he said “Clarity is not the same as certainty. You can be quite certain of unclear concepts, and quite uncertain about clear concepts. I am, I confess, rather more likely to fall into the category, and you, I fear, have a tendency to fall into the former”.
Steve had a hermeneutic attitude, by getting into the semantic field of “clarity” and “certainty” and find the meaning by adopting an open and dialogic attitude as an interpreter. He also used the language in a rhetoric way that make me a vague sense of understanding.
I wonder to what extent the semantic web may include the operating rules of language (verbal and iconic) rhetoric, the metaphors, multiple meanings. May Semantic Web include a pragmatic and rhetorical analysis?
In this context, developers, designers and engineers of the semantic web should contribute to an epistemological change and work together to establish common codes based on the concepts developed independently, addressing the sociocultural differences.
How common people from different cultures could collaborate to contribute to this? Wikipedia, Wiki How are examples of media that could help to collaborative work and could let on sharing significance.
We should to learn to read and search data, metadata and statistic information in a new way on the web.If not, take into consideration this reflection:
“Do not put your faith in what statistics say until you have carefully considered what they do not say”. ~William W. Watt
(1) Pescador, José Hierro “Ideas Nonnatas” Cap. V.,p.171, en “Principios de Filosofía del lenguaje”. “Teoría de los signos, Teoría de la Gramática, Epistemología del lenguaje”.Alianza Editorial. Madrid, 1980.
Piscitelli, Alejandro, “El futuro de la red: la web semántica”Cap.11, p. 166 en “Internet, la imprenta del Siglo XXI”, Editorial Gedisa. Barcelona, 2005.
The Impact of Knowledge Society on Knowledge and Education: An Epistemological and Ontological Account. EDD 5229 Liberal Studies in Knowledge Society. Lecture 3