2 thoughts on “Key Verbs: Actions in Taxonomies

  1. This is another insightful post about a very important topic that few are paying attention to yet. And thank you for the mention!

    I agree that just as computational access to nouns using NER and knowledge graph references has revolutionized access to content through ranking, topic clustering, etc., so too will computational access to verbs enable entirely new ways to access, organize and use content, including for managing tasks and handling situations.

    But I also think that the ‘rise of verbs’ is a much bigger deal than that, because ‘nouns+verbs’ are much more powerful than the sum of their parts. Computational access to ‘nouns+verbs’ enables the direct encoding of coarse meaning as data, and therefore has the potential to *replace* content (or maybe to *be* content), not merely to organize it. Meaning-as-data will be very crude when compared to language (at first) and won’t compete directly with language-based content, but it will probably be very useful nonetheless. Even the prospect of offering ‘understanding’ as a data product is a possibility – Structured Stories is a very crude attempt at this.

    I like to think of this concept as a ‘computational pidgin’. A pidgin is not nearly as powerful as a full-featured language, but it is immensely more powerful than just pointing at objects and making sounds, or than making charade-like pantomimes of activity.

    1. Thanks for your comments David. I agree, we are at the early stages of using verbs as metadata or as data. I can imagine in the future natural language capabilities will become better and be able to match verb and noun information.

      From a content strategy perspective, sections and articles, rather than individual sentences, are units of meaning that are most frequently tracked. My focus in the article was to explore practical solutions that address larger chunks of content for their underlying meaning.

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