Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Keeping track of Context in Life and on the Web 

The Sun BabelFish Blog : Weblog: "Decontextualised information is useful, and on the web more so that in other places, but it is not without drawbacks.
Decontextualising information makes it a lot longer. I can say 'This house is big', but if I wanted to decontexualise it properly I would have to give information as to where the house is located, at what time of the house's existence this was the case, and in relation to what the predicate big was applicable.
Also, surprisingly, complete decontextualisation of information in fact looses some information. So if I give you a map of the Paris underground when you ask me where you are, you will have all the information you need, but one essential piece will be missing, your relation to the map: where you currently are, your context. If you call the talking clock, you want to know the time now, not the time it was at the time it was that time, which would be completely uninformative.
Finally deciding on the best framework for decontextualising all data, what some seem to call an upper ontology, is work in progress, and it is quite possible that there may never be a final one, as such work itself takes place in a context, which may be the object of future assertions. In any case we always have Gödel's incompleteness theoremto take account of, which says that there can be no final compelete theory of anything."


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