For knowledge

author: Jérôme Euzenat, INRIA Grenoble Rhône-Alpes
published: Dec. 10, 2019,   recorded: October 2019,   views: 13


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A large range of animals are able to learn from their environment, but human beings are special among them because they can articulate knowledge and they can communicate it. Written expression and communication have allowed to get rid of time and space in knowledge transmission. They allow learning directly from elaborated knowledge instead of by experience. These key features have led the creation of whole cultures, providing a selective advantage to the species. The worldwide web facilitating cultural exchange is a culminating point in this story, so far.

Hence, the idea of a semantic web allowing machines to have a grasp on this knowledge is a tremendous idea. Alas, after twenty years, the semantic web field is mostly focused on data, even when it is made of so-called knowledge graphs. Of course, there are schemata and vocabularies, but they are only a simple kind of knowledge. Although data may be open, knowledge eventually learnt by machines is very often not disclosed nor prone to communication. This brings us down the knowledge evolution ladder.

The grand goal of formally expressing knowledge on the web must be rehabilitated. We do not need knowledge cast in stone for ever, but knowledge that can seamlessly evolve; we do not need to build one single knowledge source, but encourage diversity which is source of disputation and robustness; we do not need consistent knowledge at the web scale, but local theories that can be combined. We will discuss in particular how knowledge can be made live and evolve by taking inspiration from cultural evolution and evolutionary epistemology.

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