Computer science is, well, science. Getting a computer to successfully perform work has little or nothing to do with emotion, theological dogma, personal opinion, or such. (Although, when you are creating a standard some of the discussions can be emotional, theological, and filled with personal opinion.)
Zeroing in on the Holy Grail of Meaningful Information Exchange summarizes what I have learned and discovered while trying to make digital financial reporting work appropriately. My document was inspired by the introduction to the document Ontology for the Twenty First Century: An Introduction with Recommendations. That document tends to be more oriented to scientific domains. My document tries to explain the same ideas to business professionals.
Here are the bullet points:
- Computers have three strengths
- Information storage
- Information retrieval and processing
- Ubiquitous information distribution
- Computers can be harnessed to perform certain work effectively, if done correctly
- There are major obstacles to harnessing the power of computers
- Business professional idiosyncrasies
- Information technology idiosyncrasies
- Inconsistent domain understanding of and technology's limitation in expressing interconnections
- Computers are dumb beasts
- Computers are tools
- Ontologies are tools
- Philosophy has used ontologies for 2000+ years (not machine-readable)
- Computer science now leverage ontologies (machine-readable)
- Knowledge engineering is, well, engineering
- Technical syntax matters, but not that much
- Software must be usable by business professionals because they own the problem domains
- The holy grail of meaningful information exchange is...
Deliberate, rigorous, clear, logically coherent, consistent, and unambiguous ontologies created by business professionals can make dumb beasts appear to perform magic.