Invited Talk: "Goodbye to True: Advancing Semantics Beyond the Black and White" by Chris Welty

The set-theoretic notion of truth proposed by Tarski is the basis of most work in machine semantics and probably has its roots in the work and influence of Aristotle. We take it for granted that the world can be described, not in shades of grey, but in terms of statements and propositions that are either true or false - and it seems most of western science stands on the same principle. This assumption at the core of our training as scientists should be questioned, because it stands in direct opposition to our human experience. Is there any statement that can be made that can actually be reduced to true or false? Only, it seems, in the artificial human-created realms of mathematics, games, and logic. We have been investigating a different mode of truth, inspired by results in Crowdsourcing, which allows for a high dimension notion of semantic interpretation that makes true and false look like a childish simplifying assumption.

Dr. Chris Welty is a Sr. Research Scientist at Google in New York, and an Endowed Professor of Cognitive Systems at the VU University, Amsterdam. His main area of interest is using structured semantic information to improve semantic processing of unstructured information, such as using freebase to help improve web search. His latest work is on using crowdsourcing to form a new theory of truth based on diversity of perspectives.

Before Google, Dr. Welty was a member of the technical leadership team for IBM's Watson - the question answering computer that destroyed the all-time best Jeopardy! champions in a widely televised contest. He appeared on the broadcast, discussing the technology behind Watson, as well as many articles in the popular and scientific press. His proudest moment was being interviewed for about the project. He is a recipient of the AAAI Feigenbaum Prize for his work.

Welty was one of the first to call attention to the new paradigm of Cognitive Computing that is emerging in computation, and previously has played a seminal role in the development of the Semantic Web and Ontologies, and co-developed OntoClean, the first formal methodology for evaluating ontologies. He is on the editorial board of AI Magazine, the Journal of Applied Ontology, the Journal of Web Semantics, and the Semantic Web Journal.