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Category: Thoughts

Thank you Ed

When my former university professor and mentor Ed Leahy discussed the importance of GPS in relation to knowledge work in group chats with people discussing Doug Engelbart’s work I really didn’t understand the relevance to something physical and something purely information based.

Since Ed is someone I greatly respect but this sounded very odd, I had to have a few rounds of thinking about it. The first relevance became work on notion of a time browser and then I kind of forgot about it.

Recently though, the notion of a symbol space http://symbolspace.info has become important in my work and the notion of addressing has become front and centre. This is from Doug’s notions of high-resolution addressing and linking but I think that I also owe a debt of gratitude from Ed and his insistence of the importance of addressing  :-)

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ignorance

The sickness of America at this point is deeply disturbing. At one point the beacon of light for the world and now allowing this horrid man to rule their country. Too many people support this monster.
 
The depth of humanity’s ignorance is profound. We MUST use our laws and culture to build scaffolds to support our virtues and control our darkness.
 
We only have a very brief time here on this earth, let’s spend it growing love, looking outwards, not selfishly looking inwards in fear-breeding hate.
 
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online-conversations.net

Goal

Our goal is to make the world a better place and a core aspect of this is how people relate to each other, truly putting people at the centre of the internet.

Imagine…

Imagine being able to have a discussion with someone on a very different part of the political spectrum from you without acrimony or arguments, just a reasoned debate where you can really learn to understand the person’s hopes and fears and see your common ground.
Imagine being able to have a discussion with an expert in their field and you have access to ask questions as much as you like without the person running out of time or patience.
Imagine being able to have a discussion with someone in a different part of the world or a very different social class but being able to do this from the safety and comfort of your own office or home.
Imagine your great, great grand-children having a discussion with you long after you are gone.
Furthermore, imagine answering questions and having a forum where you can really explain yourself to the world at your own pace.
This what ‘online-conversations.net’ enables. (name up for discussion)

The way it works

You answer questions and the replies you make are video or audio recorded and the resulting recording is put on youtube with a coded name so it can easily and quickly be searched by the system.
You ask questions of a person who has answered questions and they are instantly played back for you.
If the question you ask has not been asked of the person, a notification will be given so that the person can answer the question in the future both for you and for everyone else who will ask the question in the future.

Known Issues

Very few people know how to record video of themselves well so the system and the interface design would need to deal with how to edit out the moment the user clicks on the record/end record button and so on.

Benefits

This can be a way for people to really express themselves in a controlled way, where they are guaranteed to get their position across without being interrupted or having an argument.
It’s one thing to listen or watch a full documentary of someone but something else to be able to ask specific questions and to get immediate answers.
Popular people can have ‘conversations’ with millions without spending more time than if they are talking with only one person.
This can provide very clean citations where the person has stated exactly what they mean.

Future Enhancements

This is a prime opportunity for AI to learn more about each person and to offer possible answers to questions which have not been asked before. The AI which can be developed for this can then be fed questions and answers from people who have not used the system, based on recordings of them or documents written by them.
When the system has enough people answering enough questions, we can do large scale analysis and let the end user do the same, such as allowing for the question: who else says something like this? or is this a common answer? etc….
Users should be able to edit answers into a new type of conversation-document where they can link discussions together and the audience can choose to partake passively or actively.
This could also be a powerful way to check shifting perspectives.
Should we think of building this?
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