Shirky: The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview

Shirky: The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview

Clay Shirky tears up the Semantic Web as appropriate only for an imaginary world where syllogistic reasoning matters.

Syllogisms sound stilted in part because they traffic in absurd absolutes. Consider this gem from Dodgson:

– No interesting poems are unpopular among people of real taste
– No modern poetry is free from affectation
– All your poems are on the subject of soap-bubbles
– No affected poetry is popular among people of real taste
– No ancient poetry is on the subject of soap-bubbles

This, of course, allows you to conclude that all your poems are bad.

This 5-line syllogism is the best critique of the Semantic Web ever published, as its illustrates the kind of world we would have to live in for this form of reasoning to work, a world where language is merely math done with words. Actual human expression must take into account the ambiguities of the real world, where people, even those with real taste, disagree about what is interesting or affected, and where no poets, even the most uninteresting, write all their poems about soap bubbles.

I agree with him about logic and the real world, but I’d like to hear from, oh, James Stewart if he’s reading, who is a fan of RDF and suchlike semantic things, to see what he thinks of Shirky’s overall critique.

You there James? :)

Ads Probably Not Going to Ping Very Loud In The End

Here via here via the aggregator in the WordPress dashboard —

Chitika has been enjoying a lot of buzz around publishers cause they report very very high earnings compared to, say, Adsense. Turns out that those reports might be just a tad exaggerated. Turns out they have a monthly “auditing” process which decimates the earnings they report to you in the monthly reports. Other similar advertisers audit results to remove obvious click spamming, but usually this means a single digit percentage decrease, not the disappearance of the vast bulk of the reported income.

I kinda figured something like that was up, but I didn’t realize the extent of it. Ah well. Might bust it back down to just Adsense.

UPDATE: JenSense points out that she’s never heard of anyone actually receiving money from Chitika, and that they have a little out clause in the contract that says that they don’t have to pay you till their clients pay them. Huh.

Apparently the audit discounts not only obvious click fraud but innocent curiosity clicks — whatever that means.

So Chitika perhaps falls into the “too good to be true” category. We’ll see.

Never Hurts To Ask

We’re tight on funds this month. If y’all know of somebody who needs some quick work done in a programming, web design, or illustration capacity that I could do in the evenings or weekends this month, could you hook me up with them? I have done some Javascript work before, and put together a Perl shopping cart, in the past few months, as well as done some illustrations for indie roleplaying games… I know me some PHP, Ruby, and Python too. Just in case somebody happens to be reading this and looking for somebody to do something like that. This would be a good time.

And if I don’t get any response, I’m gonna have to go for the full-screen Flash-based interstitial ads. I hear there’s a good return on those these days. ;)

(Update: we’re not as bad off this month as I thought. It’d still be fun to bring in some extra $ though. )