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Generating a Million Questions from UIA Databases: Problems, Strategies, Values


Generating a Million Questions from UIA Databases
Preliminary results
Integration into UIA set of databases
Visualization of patterns of questions
Possibilities from this approach
Question of significance?

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Also published in modified form in Statistics, Visualizations and Patterns (Vol 5 of the Yearbook of International Organizations, K G Saur Verlag, 6th edition, 2006/2007, as sections 10.1.1 and 10.1.2). Variant produced as Preliminary Attempt at Generating Questions from UIA Databases: Problems, Strategies, Values (2005)


The experiment described below follows from an initial interest of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI), in support of the questions project of the international nonprofit organization Dropping Knowledge - as clarified during a workshop on the online databases of the Union of International Associations (Saarbrucken, 8 December 2005). Dropping Knowledge subsequently appropirated this information as the basis for establishing an online web facility to enable people worldwide to ask questions and to be exposed to answers -- thereby creating a "Living Library". The categorization of the questions was undertaken using the ontology developed by the UIA (cf Enabling a Living Library, 2006)

The concern here, in contrast, is whether it was possible to generate a Questions database from three long-established UIA databases: World Problems-Issues, Global Strategies-Solutions, and Human Values. These databases are part of the online Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, originally initiated in collaboration with Mankind 2000, whose development was most recently funded by the European Commission. The databases are integrated with others on international organizations, international meetings, biographies and bibliographies (cf Yearbook of International Organizations, International Congress Calendar).

The thousands of problems, strategies and values identified from the documented preoccupations of the network of international organizations (governmental and nongovernmental) provide a relatively objective focus for the generation of questions associated with those preoccupations -- or implicit in them. Clearly a particular interest in this experiment is to determine in what ways the result of generating questions could be meaningful and significant. The work builds on the possibilities of the use of such databases for simulations (cf Simulating a Global Brain: using networks of international organizations, world problems, strategies, and values, 2001).

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