What does it take to explain everything to a computer? This is where the ways that we perceive existence (natural-system ontologies) and formalized computing ontologies come into play. What's an ontology? Here are a couple of descriptions:


Ontology is the subject that asks the question What is there?

The answer can be stated in one word: Everything.

 --W. V. O. Quine

Figure 1. Sowa Hexagon

The Sowa Hexagon relates language to the world and to ontologies

John F. Sowa's Hexagon puts language at the center and emphasizes the importance of mental models and logic in the formalization of an ontology. Formalizing real-world and abstract concepts for our buddies the bots effectively involves not only dealing with what exists? as a list of terms, but also by dealing with all of the models and behaviors that Sowa identifies.

Fully-formalized computing ontologies associate terms with formal logic. That's really expensive. Markup, from this perspective, could be considered a semi-formalized ontology.

Figure 2. Formalized ontologies

Formalized ontologies associate behavioral logic directly with terminology

Figure 3. Semi-formalized, markup-based ontologies

Markup formalizes the terminology but not behavioral logic