Wednesday, October 20, 2004

the paradox of Wikipedia and Open Mind

I ran across this quote from Larry Sanger, one of the co-founders of Wikipedia, about Wikipedia:

It must be full of a bunch of crank submissions, vandalism, and plain old sophomoric stupidity. But it's not. It's not half bad. In places, and increasingly, it's of very high quality. And that's even more paradoxical.

Our Open Mind Common Sense project was greeted with similar skepticism by many in the AI community. I remember a meeting at IBM two years back where I described how we were trying to build a tool that would let members of the general public collaborate to build a commonsense knowledge base. I should have brought some asbestos underwear! The audience, largely members of the mainstream knowledge representation and logical AI community, was livid at the possibility that we might be able to use facts expressed in natural language contributed by the untrained masses. Some of their concerns were valid, but I was astounded at the level of conservatism they demonstrated. I'm happy to say that since then we've had quite a bit of success using the data collected by our Open Mind project.

It's great to see the success of Wikipedia, which confirms that it's possible to create a useful knowledge base from the contributions of a great many people, and especially, that it's possible to manage the vandalism and to some extent the disagreements. I now wish we had been even more courageous with Open Mind, by allowing people to edit and repair each other's contributions. I was worried about vandalism, but perhaps the problem would never have been as severe as we feared, and perhaps we would have developed strategies to deal with such problems.

6 Comments:

Blogger Bob Mottram said...

It is somewhat counterintuitive that these things have succeded. I also expected that wikipedia would end up full of graffiti, but actually it has turned out to be one of the best online encyclopedias. I did a couple of entries, one about Grey Walter and the other about Hans Berger.

Perhaps there could be some semantic tags added to wikipedia, so that it could be integrated with large scale knowledge databases such as openmind.

December 19, 2004 at 5:06 PM  
Blogger Bayle Shanks said...

> I now wish we had been even more courageous with Open Mind, by allowing people to edit and repair each other's contributions.

You say that as if it's too late. You or someone else can always fork the database snapshot into "unedited" and "edited" versions. Open the "edited" version to public editing; someone could create a nice web interface, or in the meantime just take the worse-is-better approach and use wiki software on the raw text (arbitrarily divided into pages, of course; I think omcsraw.txt is a little big for one wiki page :) ). The last thing to do would be to create a pipeline so that new entries to the unedited version are also added as new entries to the edited version.

February 1, 2005 at 9:04 PM  
Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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November 6, 2005 at 10:55 PM  
Blogger Roberto Iza Valdes said...

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November 26, 2005 at 4:29 PM  
Blogger iza roberto iza said...

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August 15, 2007 at 3:30 PM  
Blogger portal0001 said...

was he whacked? "People were livid".

November 4, 2009 at 12:48 AM  

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