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Re: [ba-unrev-talk] Continuation of Doug's Colloquium (New Frontiersin Collective Problem Solving?)


I agree, but why was there no interest concerning the following pointer?

Nevertheless, I believe we need to "improve to improve" our collective problem-solving capabilities (i.e., CODIAK - the COncurrent Design, Integration, and Applied Knowledge), since journalists covering crime-based news and politics are already Weblogging or Blogging "urgent and complex problems" online and syndicating the info in XML to others.

For instance:

1) TalkLeft <Syndicate this site (XML)>, the on-line source for liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news.  TalkLeft was developed by Denver-based criminal defense attorney Jeralyn Merritt as a companion site to CrimeLynx®, the Internet's premier criminal law resource.  TalkLeft is not a neutral site. Our mission is to intelligently and thoroughly examine issues, candidates and legislative initiatives as they pertain to constitutional rights, particularly those of persons accused of crime. Talkleft is intended for the public, journalists covering crime-based news and politics, policy makers and of course, the criminal defense community. <http://www.talkleft.com/about.html>

2) EBlogging At Altercation Today <http://www.msnbc.com/news/752664.asp?cp1=1>

3) Posting URL's In the Comments, etc.

More specifically, a pointer to <http://www.talkleft.com/archives/002001.html#002001> shows how people are using Internet to expose how the IRS commits fraud, but needs OHS technology or at least UC Berkeley's Multivalent Document technology (see: Robust Intra-document Locations <http://www9.org/w9cdrom/312/312.html>) for collaborating on the actual court opinion and factual evidence, including other case studies that are publicly available in the adobe postscript format (.pdf).

"A federal appeals court has ruled the Internal Revenue Service committed fraud and acted deceptively after giving secret deals to two pilots in return for their testimony against 1,300 other pilots who had bought into the same tax shelters."

"The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday overturned a previous ruling against the pilots who were found guilty of tax evasion and were ordered to pay more than $2 billion in penalties.

In order to remedy the IRS misconduct, the court ordered that all the pilots should receive the same deal that one of the pilots received."

The case is CIR v. Dixon and you can access the opinion here.

Posted Sunday :: January 19, 2003 | TrackBack <http://www.talkleft.com/archives/002001.html#002001>
In addition, are saying:

1) "Internet scrambles the political deck by giving capable people who wouldn't otherwise have access to audiences a viable communications medium and by giving people who have common interests and ideology a forum for association."
 2) These kinds of undertakings have the potential for simultaneously making the political process more transparent and holding politicians accountable.
3) Internet also has the potential for making mainline media more accountable."

"Beginning at the first conference, participating researchers have pooled authorities, working papers and the like in electronic format. By May 2002 we had approximately 600 megabytes of material that was in subject, type and contributor folders. I concluded that for it to be usable, the material had to be organized in a usable form. Consequently, since October I've dedicated considerable time to the project.
I began by establishing classifications: Privately produced memoranda, court decisions (particularly U.S. Supreme Court), Statutes at Large, United States Code, Code of Federal Regulations, etc. The key utilization instrument is an annotated Table of Contents that briefly explains the reason for each item included in the authorities. Once we get far enough along with that aspect of the project we will generate a comprehensive subject index.
While it will be impossible to generally distribute the compiled research, we can post the table of contents and index plus a considerable amount of privately generated memoranda. Those doing work in any given area can then download most authorities listed in the table of contents from Internet sources that don't copyright material. For example, recent editions of the Statutes at Large, the United States Code, the Code of Federal Regulations and the Federal Register are available on the Government Printing Office web page. The Internal Revenue Manual, IRS publications and the like are available from the IRS web page; the Treasury Financial Manual is available on the Financial Management Services web page; the Department of Justice web page has the United States Attorney's Manual and sundry other important manuals and publications; the General Accounting Office, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management and others make other important resources available. There are several free and/or inexpensive sources for court decisions.
The index will be constructed to address what is important to the constitutional restoration & tax honesty movements. What is important to us? ...Enduring loss, humiliation and injustice is a trial that tests character; surviving and having to put life back together after traumatic loss is yet another test. But we need survivors rather than casualties as survivors will eventually stem the tide."

Similarly, in context with ba-unrev-talk, I was hoping someone would make comments about the following assertions and conclusion by Prof. Horn:

How knowledge maps can improve public policy discussions
"Very preliminary evaluations show that knowledge maps can contribute significantly to better knowledge management in complex policy discussion and decisions. They:

• show the logical and visual structure of the emerging arguments, viewpoints, empirical data, scenarios, trends, policy options (making communication more effective) and help keep the big picture from being obscured by the details.

• enable presuppositions to surface and be carried along with the debate or made a subject of the debate (enabling a richer discourse to take place without getting off track).

• allow more rapid analysis of the subject matter by committees and policy makers

• help structure the flow of complex discussions (so that meetings are more productive and less time consuming), enabling rapid integration of diverse points of view.

• increase an appreciation for the complexity of the issues the group is addressing, permitting faster learning by experts and the general public.

• are visually appealing, colorful, and incorporate useful metaphors and images that encapsulate values and attitudes.

• enable participants who have missed meetings to catch up quickly.

• increase the chance of participants talking to each other, not past each other, bringing faster consensus in meetings.

• help participants to keep working on the problems using the Web while separated by geographical distance."

"I am convinced that the knowledge maps I’ve described can make a substantial contribution to a worrying condition of present day America -- the fact that more and more people feel left out of democratic public debate to the point of giving up on it. Too many people lack the ability to follow what are often highly arcane and complex discussions.

The life of our republic would be very different if, for the next generation, some foundations use the knowledge map methodology to make informed deliberation available to all Americans."

If you missed the pointer, then please review some of these interesting (CODIAK) topics at the following URLs:

Knowledge Mapping for Complex Social Messes ( A presentation to the "Foundations in the Knowledge Economy" at the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, July 16, 2001)

Social Messes

"They’ve been called “wicked problems.” (by Horst Rittle) They’ve been called “ill-structured problems.” (by Ian Mitroff) I call them “social messes.” (after Russell Ackoff, who simply refers to them as “messes”) What they are not is merely problems. Problems have solutions. Messes do not have straightforward solutions. Social messes

• are more than complicated and complex. They are ambiguous.

• contain considerable uncertainty – even as to what the conditions are, let alone what the appropriate actions might be

• are bounded by great constraints and are tightly interconnected, economically, socially, politically, technologically

• are seen differently from different points of view, and quite different worldviews

• contain many value conflicts

• are often a-logical or illogical

They are the messes of drugs and gangs and ethnic conflict and international crime syndicates, messes that have strong links to civil wars in Columbia and the international small arms trade and globalization and the rapid advance of technology. They are also the more local messes, such as a couple I have been working on."

They will be visual. Here are some examples.
< http://www.macrovu.com/CCTHowItWork1.html >

Think Link, Invent, Implement, and Collaborate! Think Open! Think Change! Think Big! (Keynote Speech Honoring Douglas Engelbart on Doug Engelbart Day in the state of Oregon, at Oregon State University, January 24, 2002)

Beginning to Conceptualize the Human Cognome Project

< http://www.stanford.edu/~rhorn/artclTrapsOfFormalLogic.html >

Using Argumentation Analysis to Examine History and Status of a Major Debate in Artificial Intelligence and Philosophy
(Downloadable Figure 1 .) (Downloadable Figure 2.)


"Our project has been designing and developing highly visual "cognitive maps" that facilitate the management and navigation through major public policy issues. These maps have benefits for policy analysts and decision makers similar to those of geographic maps. They provide patterned abstractions of policy landscapes that permit the decision makers and their advisors to consider which roads to take within the wider policy context. Like the hundreds of different projections of maps (e.g. polar or Mercator), they provide different ways of viewing issues and their backgrounds. They enable policy makers to drill down to the appropriate level of detail. In short they provide an invaluable information management tool. These maps can be displayed both on paper and on web browsers."
Smart Sensors, Collaborative Sensemaking

So, instead of calling our effort the "Continuation of Doug's Colloquium", let's just simply call it "New Frontiers in Collective Problem Solving (i.e., CODIAK - the COncurrent Design, Integration, and Applied Knowledge [of Shaping Code])."

Other examples:

"This article addresses how society shapes code. The term "code," as we use it, consists of the hardware and software components of information technologies. Code is increasingly being sought as a regulatory mechanism in conjunction with or as an alternative to law for addressing societal concerns such as crime, privacy, intellectual property protection, and revitalizing democratic discourse. This article analyzes how various societal institutions, that create code differentially, influence the technical and social characteristics of the code that is developed by them. The article also provides recommendations on how society can intervene and proactively shape the development of code to vindicate societal concerns and preferences." ...

"Imagistic reasoning is a new paradigm for understanding sensory data and controlling environment based on the construction, interpretation, and manipulation of image-like, analog representations of physical systems. The reasoning is primarily perceptual and only secondarily symbolic. In the past decade, we have built several imagistic reasoners that perform at an expert level on scientific problems that defy current analytical methods, including helping us solve open problems. We hypothesize that much of scientific reasoning is imagistic and that this reasoning is best automated by imagistic algorithms. The classical artificial intelligence architecture---a central deductive reasoner operating on symbolic predicates delivered by low-level perceptual preprocessors---is unsuitable for these tasks. Imagistic reasoners are faster and more efficient because they trade many inferences for sensing and action. Their behavior is easier to understand and debug because they deal directly with geometric structures and their interactions."

F. Zhao and C. Bailey-Kellogg, ``Intelligent Simulation.'' AAAI Tutorial Forum, 1998. Slides handout (2 per page).

"I have been developing ontologies, algorithms, and programming tools to support reasoning about distributed data arising from many data mining and control applications. Together with Chris Bailey-Kellogg, Ken Yip, Xingang Huang, and Ivan Ordonez, I have developed the Spatial Aggregation Language (SAL) and have applied it to applications such as distributed control optimization, weather data analysis, and spatio-temporal diffusion-reaction pattern analysis. SAL 1.2, a MATLAB-like rapid prototyping tool (C++ libs, interpretive environment) for scientific data mining and control applications, is available to the research community and has been used by a group of Stanford students for class projects in CS329 that I taught in Fall 1998."

UC Berkeley's CITRIS project, including some info on another related wireless SensIT project at UCSD/UCLA, etc.
< http://www.cs.berkeley.edu/~demmel/CITRIS_FCM_110602/Demmel_FCM_110602_Overview.ppt >
< http://dtsn.darpa.mil/ixo/sensit/index.htm >
< http://dtsn.darpa.mil/ixo/sensit%2Easp >

[ ...]. "Networked micro sensors technology is a key technology for the future. Cheap, smart devices with multiple on-board sensors, networked through wireless links and the Internet, deployable in large numbers, provide unprecedented opportunities for instrumenting and controlling to our advantage homes, cities, the environment, and indeed, the battlefield.

For the military, DoD, and national security, networked micro-sensors are a technology opportunity for a broad spectrum of applications and generating new capabilities, for reconnaissance, for surveillance, and for tactical applications. Smart disposable micro sensors can be deployed across the board, on ground and in the air, on bodies and buildings, on vehicles and under water, all networked to detect and track threats, winged and wheeled vehicles, personnel, and chem-bio agents, and for weapons targeting and area denial.

The emphasis of the SensIT program is on "Information Technology" that enables these capabilities. That is to develop software that embodies algorithms and information processing for distributed micro-sensor networks. Each sensor node will have embedded processing capability, and will potentially have multiple on board sensors such as acoustic, seismic, IR, magnetic, imaging, micro-radars, etc. There will also be storage, wireless links to neighboring nodes, location and positioning knowledge through GPS or other local positioning algorithms."

TinyOS :: Operating System support for sensor tiny networked sensors
TOSSIM :: TinyOS mote simulator
Mate :: A virtual machine for TinyOS motes
TinyDB :: A query processing system designed to extract info from a network of TinyOS sensors
NesC :: Custom compiler support for TinyOS
Great Duck Island :: Employing motes for habitat monitoring in sensitive wildlife habitats

CITRIS: Closing in on Smart Dust (fine-grain distributed sensorwebs)

"Since the inception of the Smart Dust project roughly four years ago, some progress has been made toward the realization of a fully autonomous cubic millimeter sensor node. The smallest mote currently displaces roughly ten cubic millimeters, and contains an oscillator, digital controller, light sensor, analog to digital converter, optical transmitter, optical receiver, and multiple solar power supplies. Details of this sensor node will be presented, as well as the current plans to shrink its size while increasing its capabilities."


New conference suggestion: " The PARC Smart Matter Diagnostics and Collaborative Sensemaking Project"

April 22-23, 2003
Palo Alto Research Center (PARC)
Palo Alto, California, USA

"Imagine a world in which we live where smart roads would be able to tell us when they need repair and which is the best direction to get to the Giants game, smart factories would stock up just enough inventory, ...  The rapid advances in micro-electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) and lower-power wireless networking have enabled a new generation of tiny, cheap, networked sensors that can be "sprayed" on roads, across machines, and on walls. However, these massively distributed sensor networks must overcome a set of technological hurdles before they become widely deployable.  Keeping up with the constant onslaught of sensory data from say 100,000 sensors is akin to drinking from a fire hose.

The PARC Smart Matter Diagnostics and Collaborative Sensemaking Project studies the fundamental problems of distilling high-level, human-interpretable knowledge from distributed heterogeneous sensor signals in a rapid and scalable manner.  We are developing powerful algorithms and software systems to enable a wide range of applications, from sensor-rich health monitoring of electro-mechanical equipment to human-aware environments that leverage sensors to support synergistic interactions with the physical world."

 - John

Henry K van Eyken wrote:

Thanks. Besides, as you mentioned, when we talk about extending the
colloquium we talk about an activity that is organizationally, legally 
unrelated to the Bootstrap/Stanford effort.

Maybe we can get back to brass tacks. 

One urgent, complex problem is what stance to take with respect to Iraq.
And w.r.t. Mugabe. And w.r.t. Kim Jong II. And w.r.t. methods used in
interrogating Al Quaeda prisoners. Etc., etc.

I believe that, if we wish to maintain a democratic society, the road
toward solving this problem is through a better informed public and
that, moreover, this public needs standards and means for better
evaluating and formulating a stance for action on that information. 

While improving public education (through improving instruction and
journalism) is an obvious path to follow, mere "meatware" is not enough.
We urgently need digital augmentation for individuals and groups. We
also need a communal acceptance of standards for conduct, i.e. a great
deal of commonality in moral stance. The Iraq situation demonstrates
that as does the not unrelated Israel-Palestinian conflict. Moral
stance, therefore, is something that bears on digital augmentation.

For a period of time, I was looking at programs for conferences, mostly
those listed on the site of the ACM. While I found quite a bit about
(morally blind, people excluding) artificial intelligence, I can't
remember seeing anything about digital augmentation of the human
intellect, which from an academic point of view and by its very nature
need be a multidisciplinary subject; and from a societal point of view
calls for informed citizens fully aware about what may or may not be
decided in the digital domain; and what direction science and technology
will permit digital augmentation to take.

I said, "from an academic point of view." Academe cannot stand apart
from the world it functions in; it is merely its servant even when its
role is to lead. I see Fleabyte (intended as a continuation of the
colloquium) as the public counterpart of academe as well as of
governance in the domain of digital augmentation. As a means to
stimulate and maintain control. A checking of its contents page will
show this is the range we have been working in. 

I had hoped that a forum of intellectuals originally dedicated to
extending Doug's vision would be responsive to the above issue. The
question now is whether this is still the case. And, if so, shouldn't
thought be given to how to make digital augmentation a useful instrument
for enhancing (saving??) a democratic mode for living together on a
small planet? 


On Fri, 2003-01-24 at 03:18, Peter P. Yim wrote:
Ref. Paul's cautionary message of 22-Jan-03

1. It might be worth revisiting (i) the scope of the colloquium, and (ii)
the intent of the "permission to use" statement.

(i) The colloquium was offered as a Stanford University professional
education course. The course description says,
     See http://scpd.stanford.edu/SOL/courses/proEd/EC/
Course Name:
     Engelbart Colloquium at Stanford
     An In-Depth Look at "The Unfinished Revolution"

Faculty:  Douglas C. Engelbart, Ph.D.

This colloquium will offer professionals and executives a rare opportunity
to listen to and learn from visionary Doug Engelbart as he talks about his
life's work, creative process, and his concerns and vision for the future.

To help refresh everyone's memory, I have brought up, from the archives, the
original colloquium page from the Bootstrap website (dated around early
March 2000) where the public information on the colloquium is posted. That
and the course pages on the Stanford would have been the main source of
public information about the colloquium.  I have it, now, at
A lots of the links don't work any more, but it clearly explains what the
colloquium was about. I'm going to leave that page there for the next couple
of weeks in case people want to look at it.

Based on the above descriptions, developing the OHS or any other system,
obviously does not fall within the scope of this Stanford course. I,
therefore, suggest that we stop talking about system development as if it
were a colloquium activity, and even less so, an extended activity (because
it is out of scope.)

(ii) The intent of putting a "permission to use" statement in place was to
facilitate the boradcast, webcast, taping and the subsequent publication of
the colloquium content into courseware, a book or something in that vein.
The indemnification clause (which, actually is fairly standard) is there to
make sure that participants are responsible for their own acts.

If someone had spoken during the colloquium (since dialog was a feature)
and, either intentionally or unintentionally, divulged his/her employer's
trade secrets, and the employer sues -- neither Bootstrap Institute nor
Stanford University would want to be (nor should they be) involved. This is
the type of situation the indemnity clause was there for. It does take a
long stretch to get from this to interpreting it as being akin to "asking
volunteers to absorb liability."

2. All this discussion is interesting, but the real issue is -- is there a
real and appreciable risk and threat, to the extent that we should stop
certain pursuits because of it. I guess each of us will have to answer that
for himself or herself. I don't believe a legal professional, that we pay
some money to, could do it for us.