Topic Maps – Human-oriented Semantics? – A Quibble

Topic Maps – Human-oriented Semantics?

As promised, I have a quibble about the presentation that Lars made this morning. 😉

When talking about topic maps as semantic technology, Lars suggested or at least I heard him suggest, that topic maps help the person inside the Chinese room in John Searle’s famous example.

Lars then proceeded to use an example of a topic map, where the content was written in Japanese.

To show that you could know something about the content or at least relationships between the content, whether you could read it or not.

All of which is true, but my quibble is that such an understanding is on the part of the audience to the presentation and not of the machine/person inside the Chinese room.

Even with a topic map as input, we still don’t know what, if anything, is understood by a person or machine inside the Chinese room.

All we ever know is that we got the correct response to our input.

The presentation elided the transition from the Chinese room to the audience for the presentation. Quite different, at least in my view.

I did not allow that to distract me from an otherwise excellent presentation but I thought I should mention it. 😉

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