"The Unfinished Revolution"
Session 9 Tape 1 March 2, 2000
Engelbart: Welcome back to session nine of the "Unfinished Revolution".
Every time I have to say,
this is not my "Unfinished Revolution". It is society's "Unfinished Revolution". So, the sessions
name is bootstrapping in your organization and community. During the course of the previous eight
sessions, we have gone through the cycle of the different parts of the conceptual framework, several
times and talked about bootstrapping. I am going to dip into a little bit more, come up for air, and
we have some very interesting speakers today. Let's get going.
Slide: Session 9 The Unfinished Revolution II
Engelbart: The idea for the terminology of bootstrapping emerged, for
me, way back. So I though it
would be interesting to go back and show you the frame which that introduced. So there was a report
eleven years after I started off on this great jaunt.
Slide: There was an initial, grand, "Bootstrapping Plan"
Engelbart: I had had some support from an air force office of scientific
research to actually do a
study for building a conceptual framework. If I had known at the time what the word paradigm meant,
it hadn't been published yet, I would have said paradigms. That's a thick report; part of it was
published a year and a half later as a chapter in a book. A few years ago, this was put on the web.
It was done in Germany as the first link. There are some errors in there on translation. That was
transferred over as part of Stanford's history site. That doesn't have any diagrams. So, I used the
German ones still. A really admire the graduate student who went out and found that and managed to
do a nice job converting.
Engelbart: So we are going to get some views on that. So, I want to
say thank you Dr. Fredwall. It
was nice for him to do that and communicate with us and say it was accessible.
Slide: Web Page: Research Plan for Activity A
Engelbart: So here's a part of that report. The thing that I am trying
to do is develop the concept
of the bootstrapping as it emerged in there, just to get it clearer. So I said if I start a research
activity and labeled it A-1. I said I would be depending upon the information on the existing
disciplines that are out there in the world and that would provide me the solid lines on information
about psychology and whatever was going on in the world. Also, the outside world would be providing
me with tools and techniques, which I could use to do the research. You know computer programming
and the like. Both of those things were important. The background knowledge I was going to use and
digest, but essentially the things that were going to augment me. So I had the dotted line for that,
in this report we start expanding on that picture. Saying when I got going I would have that product
and the product of our research would be how do you augment yourself through computers. Look, we
would feed that output back which would be knowledge and etc..but it would come back in as
capabilities and technologies I could use to increase our laboratory's efficiency. That was the very
first thing I called bootstrapping just really feedback that if your output is something that can
improve your capability, boy you plow it back and it is really good. The thinking about that really
matured during the writing of this contract until there was a whole framework.
Slide: Web Page cont.
Engelbart: I am starting at the bottom of it cause I couldn't get it
all on the screen. So here is
the D1 and the A2 that we were talking about here. We will unfold this as it goes just to show you
something about an infrastructure in which bootstrapping had quite a few levels of activity. The
total program, that is the title of the report suggested relationship among the major activities
involved in achieving a state of objective, which is essentially boosting human power in the A3 and
E1 boxes. That is very noble. The first box D-1 down there is other disciplines relevant to basic
augmentation research. Psychology, Linguistics, A-I, Computer Science, and automated instructions.
Then that feeds in directly with a dotted line and a solid line back into the actual basic research
that we were going to establish. Then this was the basic augmentation research empirically and total
system oriented. To boost the capabilities on and up the line including itself. By the late 60's, we
were actually doing it.
Slide: Web Page cont
Engelbart: Then the next one was a special application research specifically
to given real world
problems solving tasks. Among the first of these are A4 and U1. So, we explicitly oriented that for
program support, for design. Then by 1974 for field support we had people out there selling
services. We are actually moving up the line here. You have to put it to work in real environments
in order to learn that. You notice by now that you are starting to see more dotted lines. That is
where the intriguing part comes. So then this problem here we never really got going we were always
hoping. That to get an activity going you can not instate critical problems and educate awareness
among those who can initiate solutions.
Slide: Web Page cont.
Engelbart: This is why I was so tickled to have Gerry Glen come and
tell us about the United Nations
University Millennium Project to study what are the major big challenges to society. That is the
kind of thing that we would really like to do and the next one would say that you would like to get
product development going so that you can actually deliver those systems to wider utilization. If
they ended up in the commercial world actually doing that, the thing is by the time you got in the
commercial world, the research that was supporting the bottom part kind of got lost. So that sort of
vanished and now they are just floating off by the top. They learned a lot still in the commercial
world. Then up here, find the F and you get this thing working and you'll be able to attack the real
problems of society. That was a big goal. That is what is in my mind when we talk about improvement
infrastructure and augmenting large scope parts of society. That is still there and the nice feed
back about dotted lines turning into solid lines, and solid lines turning into dotted lines, the
feedback, are all parts of how the thing can bootstrap. Sometime I am looking forward to having some
people that I can dialogue with cold fellows, if you wish, like graduate students or something that
over the months we can start digging into these things and we can bore down. There is more than I
can hold down and keep track of in my head.
Slide: The "Bootstrapping" Idea
Engelbart: So this bootstrapping idea is a strategic matter. It is how
to get the most improvement
in your organizational capability for unit of expenditure, expenditure in dollars, and people
efforts. Looking at the scale of things as we did early on, we said it is just a huge scale of
problems out there and a huge scale challenge out there to build something on a scale out there that
is going to effect out ability to cope with it. In that feedback picture that I talked about there
are many loops and so that loop back gains in that organizational capability is part of the
strategic thing to think about. We haven't had a chance to dig down into that very much, in our time
with this, but it is a big factor in all of the different little ways you can strategically you can
make choices that do that kind of feedback to help bootstrap.
Slide: Thesis: The Best Bootstrapping
Engelbart: The best bootstrapping is with loops that improve the improvement
infrastructure. We have
been through that before. That is why the serious pursuit of the boosted collective IQ would be such
a dynamite investment for any large organization or significant social institution. For any country
or the world, that just seems to fall into a huge amount of quality, positive feedback to give you
the bootstrapping. Then I ran across things called grand challenges. People would variously list
them out there in the world. As far as I am concerned, the fifteen that Gerry Glenn's group has
isolated is a good set of grand challenges. They are sitting there for the world to take on. How
about noting that this augmenting our collective capability to deal with complex problems could be
classed as a grand challenge.
Slide: Compare With Any of Mankind's Other "Grand Challenges"
Engelbart: That enhances our ability to pursue any and all of the other
grand challenges. In a sense
that should be the grand challenge of all. It takes a little more than to write that down or say it
around the world a few times, but it really is. When is the world going to take after it explicitly?
This is different from saying we are working on e-commerce, or knowledge management in our
environments. It is sort of explicitly how would you go about strategically to say mankind you are
going to...it is sort of like the invention of rioting a long time ago, it is a new sort of way in
which you can externalize your concepts and deal with them. So why not get going, I saved Ted Nelson
for the last. When he gets up he is going to tell you it's all wrong let's get going.
Slide: But With Further Thought
Engelbart: More appealing to say that challenge one of boosting society's
collective IQ, by using
that gain to do number two, boost society's improvement infrastructure. You get a second benefit out
of that the grand challenge of improvement infrastructure. If you can boost two and you apply that
to one, you have better ability to go do your boosted collective IQ because your improvement
infrastructure is better. If you do that better then that can feed back into your improvement
infrastructure that you can improve things better. Which includes improving the collective IQ. The
dynamics like that are there to go after. That's been the plan. How could you beat that multiply
compounding value proposition? That is sitting there as a value proposition, but how do you turn
that into a value proposition that you can talk inside of bigger organizations that really have to
be involved in this before it is really going to work.
Slide: The Purpose of the "Bootstrap Strategy"
Engelbart: I found some interesting slides that we used in classes in
1991-92 in seminars. They said
it so well still, so I am going to pour some of them at you now. It is going to be likely that many
organizations are not going to be able to adapt quickly enough or appropriately enough to survive
the complex and rapid environmental changes that we are just headed for. So, these are rapid
environmental changes that will be continuing phenomena for many decades. The surviving
organizations will have developed an especially energetic and intelligence internal process to plan
and manage their evolution. This is needed a pragmatic global continuing strategy for investing in
evolutionary improvement. That is the kind of bootstrap strategy purpose. Continuing evolutionary
improvement. We come around to that, what we have to do is find an effective evolutionary
environment and get it established. Look at the kind of things that impede that and see if you can
readjust our social structures so we can get going on that kind of bootstrapping. Here is a curve I
put in some years ago.
Slide: Weigh the Cost to Develop A Given Proficiency
Engelbart: If you have some brand new capability enhancing augmentation
system. You bring it in and
it is going to cost you for time. It will probably drop your productivity and capability, etc..and
then slowly work its way up until it does its thing. During all of that time, you are spending money
and getting it installed and built up to get it going, so it is fairly expensive. What you have to
do is trade off that expense for the gain in capability. Here is what has really been happening all
the time in the computer world, purvey, and gooey and everything else so it is easy to learn and you
get up there quickly.
Slide: Which System Would You Buy?
Engelbart: We say hey, look there are things like that, you really need
to find out what capability
gains are possible, and then judge whether the expense of getting to that is worth the gain. Some
kind of operatory thing that is fixed by people paradigm of how thing are going to work and
particularly by the turn of automating your office work. Which would nail it there. This is the kind
of thing I think Ted and I both have been doing for several years, just fuming and flapping out
hands and saying there really are different things that can be tried. They are not the kind of ways
that you are used to working, reading, talking, and interacting with people. Those all built up
around the means we had for communicating and externalizing our symbols at the time. We take that as
the natural human way because that is how we adapted to the technology and the means at the time. We
are freed from that now so we can back up and learn some different things. That's just a very
When in the world you are trying to tell someone something important
that they could be doing, if
they don't see that there really is potential like that. They shrug their shoulders and wonder why
you are flapping your hands and say that it is already taken care of it, the market is taking care
of it. It is very critically important that somehow we starting being able to start demonstrate the
new capabilities that are there in an environment that is significant to people.
Slide: In the Groupware Market
Engelbart: Now this is a term now they are already talking GroupWare.
The web was not out there. The
user organization community must become more proactive. This is something that I have said before.
Unless the user organizations really start figuring out where they need to go and start actively
assessing it, and making plans for boosting that. They are going to say that we are already buying
the best from you know who. You say that there is more that they can do. They say what do you mean
the marketplace is what takes care of that isn't it? The market place won't know how to take care of
it unless the users, the consumers that are end user organizations, aren't really proactively
looking ahead to say where do they want to go? Where can they go? They are not going to be doing
that unless they invest in looking out ahead. This is the kind of problem. If they stay not
investing in extending their site and understanding then they are going to be walking along like
this. Some day some of them are going to start looking out there and making plans that are going to
be different and the short sighted ones are going to be those who suffer for it. All we have to do
is get some long term ones started. I think what I will do is, I have quite a train of some of these
things that I would like to deliver to you but we can stop in-between and sort of introduce some of
our speakers and let them have a discussion about their particular point of view. One point of view
that is really interesting is majors and how you get quality out there and how you get people to
move along with tools that have standards in them. I am going to introduce Allen Brown. He is
president CEO of Open Group. He will tell you who that is.
Slide: Driving Towards Interoperability
Brown: Good Afternoon. Let me just tell you the Open Group is a non-profit
consortion. It brings
large supplies of IT products and services face to face with a large number of major user
organizations. If we want to talk about grand challenges, the grand challenge is enabling the
suppliers to deliver products to their users. Interoperability is really the grand challenge in IT.
I am going to start out by what it is not. In IT we hadn't got as far as the railroad industry, I
think it is fair to say.
Slide: This is Not the Railroad Industry
Brown: In the railroad industry what they discovered long ago is that
if all of the tracks were the
same gauge, all of the couplings worked the same way you got a lot further. In IT, it is difficult
to do that. What you do in the railroads, is if you want to go from a to b and a to c. Once upon a
time if the tracks didn't join up you had to get off of the train, get on to another train and move
along. That still happens a heck of a lot of time now. You might be comforted to know that the
department of the defense, when they were looking at ways in which they could have end to end
service when they were looking at the ways to deliver the information to the war fighter in the U.S.
That they found that some where between issuing the command the instruction arriving at the point of
delivery, there was someone in the middle transcribing information from one machine to another. It
is not quite there. The reason is the customers don't buy the platforms. They don't buy the
underling stuff so much. They buy a solution to a problem, and the solution drives the decision of
the application, and the decision of the application drives the decision of the platform. The
suppliers would all want to be your number one solution provider. So, they would like very much to
differentiate their products. Not only on quality, speed, and service, but also on features that
gives you better service, but also give you an issue of lack of interoperability. So, I say with the
train example. If you would like to get from A to B, if that is problem B and you would like to get
from B to C and it was problem C, you would think that you could add them together and you would get
the whole journey. So, you would think that solution A is solution B+C. In the IT world,
unfortunately in order to get from there to there it obviously doesn't work. So, you get people
called system integrators, who actually make quite a good living at fixing the problem. What you
have with integrating competing solutions in IT is a lot of work to make it work.
Slide: The Interoperability Barriers
Brown: Now for a large organization. If you think of a user organization
like a bank or retailer, or
aircraft manufacture, there are certain barriers that this causes them. The time barrier, for any
organization, the time to market new products and services is a big issue. They all want to provide,
all user organizations, their IT departments, all want to provide better products, services, and
tools to their end users. Either to make them more productive, or to make them more competitive.
Time is a big issue. There is time in instillation, there is time in training, and if you are
dealing with multiple different operating systems, interoperability with a human is an issue that
you have to address as well. Obviously integration, if you are going to have to make two things work
together that were not designed to work together, you have an implementation problem. If you have
two different technologies that need to be supported, you need two different skills in the work
force to support them for the rest of their natural life. Risk in terms of the operational risk,
what I mean by that is if you are trying to run a business, but things don't work together but you
have got to implement them and make them work, when you make things join together you have some
custom built parts in the middle. There is a risk that you may not be able to provide service as you
would want to. Obviously although many of the products individually have superb security devices,
when you have to join them together, what you find in the joins is this is the gap where people can
Slide: Economics of Interoperability
Brown: What I wanted to do with this matrix is look at some of the economics
and where it comes from. I would suggest to you that anything on the right hand side of this matrix
is not a particularly high profit area to play in for any of the suppliers. They don't want to do a
lot of innovation if there is low interoperability. There is not an awful lot of issue of being in
the fragmented box. Although initially, there may be profits of products that don't interoperate,
sooner or later you get found out. For example, there are standards around today where products all
allegedly conform to the standard, and yet they don't interoperate. There is a big issue on market
take up there. What we have got things that have been around for a while in the generic sense, we
have high interoperability. Everyone can use it, it is easy and put in, but the innovation is low is
relatively stable, it can move on. There is not a lot of profit in generic commodity type products.
If you get into a monopoly type situation. There is reason that you are going to profit because you
own that space, but the innovation is low. Where you get a lot of activity and competitors all
fighting out, there are huge opportunities for profit is when the innovation is high and the
interoperability is high. The railroad business discovered that by having interoperability, the
market expanded and therefore they could all make more money. The telecom sectors have discovered
this. So, by having greater interoperability, everyone can make more money, and the market grows. It
is where the market is being constrained, either by low interoperability or though the monopoly
cases that you hold things back. So we are very much looking for enabling dramatic and dynamic
market growth through the combination of high innovation and high interoperability. That, of course,
is a very big challenge.
Slide: Getting It
Brown: Now how do we get the communication between the customers and
the suppliers? The customers
know the problem that they are trying to fix, so they know that in their organization there is an
integration issue. The suppliers know that if they are going to change their products, rather than
their competitors changing their products, someone has got to pay for it. What happens out there is
most of the big customers, whether it is the banks or the defense department, can get any of the big
suppliers to come to them any time that they want. In fact, some of them have a problem keeping them
away. When you have a one on one discussion, between a customer and supplier, the conversation is
very much on the product benefits and specific features of a specific product. It is not on how it
interoperates with their competitor's products. So the focus in one on one discussion is very much
on improving a product with in it's own boundaries. In order to have discussion on interoperability,
you have to have a many to many relationship. You need many suppliers that the customers are talking
to at the same time; some of the focus is not on the individual products, but on the joins. On the
integration, on the interoperability. You need many customers. If there is not, perhaps there is no
market. So, you have to have both. Now if you go through all of that, and you have a large number of
customers, and a large number of suppliers, to come together and agree on a standard. You can
specify a product and the suppliers will say we are ok, we have a market position here we can move
on. Others will swallow hard, spend some money, and get there. The point of getting a standard where
everyone agrees on a specification isn't necessarily the end of the line. First of all, you can
agree on a standard, but there may not be any products that arrive, at least for a long time.
Slide: So You Think You Have A Standard
Brown: If you look back at the drivers of the web, some of the underlying
standards were around for
an awful long time before products came out that started driving the market forward. Sometimes we
will get to an issue of a standard there, and then we will wait for the market to decide. There are
two issues with that. The market can't decide if there is nothing to buy. The other is the market
isn't always that smart. I think if the market was smart we might have Beta-max, not VHS, or we
might have Apple rather than something else. That is one issue. The next one is that if we spend a
long time getting to the standard, perhaps the market has moved on anyways and there are other
alternatives. So the one concern that suppliers legitimately have is that if they have gone through
all the time troubling expense of finding ways to interoperate with their competitors, does anyone
care when they have got there?
In some areas we find that everyone can claim to conform to the standard.
Many of them sincerely
believe that they do. Unfortunately they can claim to conform to the standard, but still not
interoperate. The reason for that is just like legislation. No law maker can write something that is
sufficiently clear that everyone can get it straight off without some case study, with out it being
tested in the courts. It is similarly difficult for everyone to go and implement a standard or a
specification in exactly the same way, and know that it is going to interoperate when they come out
and meet their competitors. How do you know that it conforms? As a buyer there are a number of ways
you can do it. You can either trust the guy that says my products conform, you can trust me I'm the
salesman. Or you could ask for proof of tests, or you can ask for a guarantee. What we prefer is
that it is tested to give the suppliers and indication that products conform, but that they
guarantee that they interoperate. That is a challenge. Supposing that you got that far, how can you
tell that they interoperate, until you have got a problem. So how do they get fixed? The last one is
that there are lots of standards out there, and maybe the standards don't interoperate. Let's have a
look at some of the process. What we try and do is reflect some of the customers need with the
Slide: The Dual Loop Process
Brown: All the customer need is very simple. They need products from
their suppliers that
interoperate. All the suppliers need to do is agree. That is not too straightforward. We have a
sense of a requirement coming from the customers to the suppliers. In normal product development
that wouldn't be a direct one to one relationship. You would go through some type of product
management. The suppliers would work diligently on getting a specification delivered. Once they got
a specification they would look for how we assure that the products will conform. There is some
testing. The testing only serves to give the supplier an indicator that their products conform, so
that they have the confidence to step up to a market that says we guarantee that our products
conform. We will stand by that guarantee and fix it if there is a problem. Finally, we are concerned
with procurement, to make sure that if we have gone all the way through that loop, people are
actually going to buy the products at the end of the day.
Slide: The Industry Model
Brown: This is how consortia comes together in the learning process
if you will to try and get to
this. Very often suppliers create and promote consortia. Very few consortia like the Open Group have
customer members, so the consortia go out to advise, inform, and instruct the customers. At the end
of the day we see that there is a loop between the suppliers that provide the products and the
customers that buy them. There has got to be a process in the middle. Whether it is us as a
consortia or a partner as a consortia, what happens is there is an outsourcing between the
management and the certification process to an organization, such as ourselves. Who would also deal
with bringing together the customer requirements and build the test software so that at the end of
the day, you can certify that the products conform and provide the guarantee that the customers are
Slide: The Interoperability Payoff
Brown: Finally just let me just leave you with these thoughts. The pay
off for interoperability for
the customers are overcoming the barriers that I talked about earlier. There is a time, cost, and
the risk. What the suppliers get out of it is greater market growth. To be able to position
themselves for that Makita growth in being involved at every stage of the development process.
Rather than differentiating market, they differentiate in ways that can benefit the customer, by
providing better quality, faster service, better price, or features and benefits above the basic
level that we have agreed on the standard. Thanks.
Engelbart: What I hope to do as we get a little dialogue here is at
least two people here, and Jeff
are involved in this kind of thing. What is the connection between the process he has been
describing and the open way that the knowledge containers are going to show and carry our knowledge
in new ways? They have to be open and interoperatable. I just had a dramatic experience in the
parting with Donald Douglas is that the engineers pointed out to me how many suppliers were involved
in close interaction with the actual two thousand people, and Donald Douglas who designed and
manufactured the thing. There was six thousand companies involved, and they said a big air transport
would be thirteen or more thousand. Those all have to interchange and do critical kinds of knowledge
and design specks and actual product and testing materials. The kind of ways in which all of the
hyper media in the future are going to be able to connect with that and help the dialogue go on are
just dramatic. That just convinced me that there needed to be something like that. Anything from our
Audience: It seems to me that there are a number of different approaches
in trying to improve
various parts of organizational IQs and Allan had touched upon one. In terms of his consortion
model, he is looking at the suppliers on the one hand and the customers on the other hand. In our
case is the software productivity model. Our funders or the suppliers, if you will, are really the
customers. So, we really have that loop if you will, in terms of the improvement process. The other
part that really strikes me is if you want to relate it to the models that have been discussed in
this group, my understanding is that Allan touched upon a group of suppliers that typically fall
into the space of dual suppliers or infrastructure suppliers. In order to improve the organizational
IQ we need other parts or aspects to be improved, such as processes and frameworks. There are
various organizations that are trying to wrestle with these various aspects, and at some point they
need to come together.
Audience: I spent a large part of my career in consumer electronics.
You mentioned the example of
Beta-Max. I would say that the industry really learned from that. Generally now they do form
standards because they do want that big market. I would suggest MPG 2, MPG 4. There are a lot of
examples of that where the industry got together and established an industry standard. They want a
world standard now. I would just suggest as far as the Web, and the kinds of market that are
available worldwide are going to force people into this mode than the other.
Brown: I agree with that. I think that it is inevitable that people
will move into that mode. Where
we are in the software side. The platform side. It is taking longer to get there because there are a
lot of people that are looking to trying to establish a differentiated position constantly.
Audience: An example of the so called multi-media, where we have Macromedia
Director, we have Flash,
we have Power Point, we have QuickTime, and we have the World Wide Web. The interoperatability level
is very slight, at it will probably remain so. Things can be exported; things can be transformed,
like you create little women the video game. It is no longer very much what you started with. I
think with mission critical applications and area where there is a well-defined thing that you
should do, like a rocket reaching the moon; it is possible to agree on standards. I think the
prospect will be much bleaker in the media area.
Engelbart: Unbelievable. I just got a message on my computer, saying
that there is some kind of blip
I should reboot.
Brown: While you are doing that, I just want to mention that a topic
that the Department of Defense
brought up at our conference in January. They are trying to implement object technology. There is an
existing standard for object technology. Nothing conforms to it.
Audience: Will you tell us what that is?
Brown: No. The standard is 2.1 standard.
Audience: Which is one of many.
Brown: We are trying to work with the standards body that is responsible
for that. To try and help
the industry get to the point where orbs from different manufactures really interoperate and enable
the DOD to what it is they want to do. The issue for them is that if we cannot get to
interoperability. They will get to have two choices. One is buy nothing and go some place else. The
other is to single source. For any large organization, single sourcing....buying all of your pencils
from one place is a big deal...but buying mission critical application infrastructure is a
significant step. The same is true of security and certificates of security. The same problem, lack
of interoperatability. What do we do? Do we go some place else and try and figure out a different
way of doing it? Do we single source, or do we work with the suppliers to understand how they and
everyone in the market can benefit, and we can get interoperatable products delivered and everything
will grow and more innovation will follow.
Audience: The League of Nations was an endeavor to settle international
issues peacefully, and
trying to settle standards peacefully may run into the same historical eventuality.
Audience: The only thing I have to say about that is that I experienced
several standards in the
area of media that have been successful. So, I have examples that it is possible to do this. To do
it at a very high level of achievement and come up with an excellent standard. I think that there
are models out there like the MPG 3 group and others that you can build on when the market is big
enough, and when the player in the market have decided after hurting themselves badly enough several
times after going after large markets, that it is a better root.
Audience: As with MPG, sometimes the players' decisions may hurt them as in MP3.
Engelbart: I should apologize to everybody, I invited Ted.
Ted: You knew what you were getting in to.
Engelbart: I have known him for many years and we have agreed that we will stay friends anyway.
Audience: I have a colleague that did a contract for a military general
at one of the services. They
told them go find out why this years version of this did not work with last years. He started doing
an order through the system. The programmers are doing a good job, the designers are doing a good
job, until someone higher up in the organization took him aside and said that if we made it
competitive to what we made last year we wouldn't be selling as many this year. Some of the answers
have nothing to do with single sourcing. There is manipulation going on to preserve the market.
Engelbart: I think that we will get on with that. There are several
things about the standards. One
of them is unless the user organizations get more pro-active; they are going to get tugged around.
The other is that when we get into this thing of collective IQ, and things like that, where your
exchanging knowledge and the vocabulary, dialogue that goes on between you, really gets to be
essentially like what is the control of the evolution of our vocabulary and our dictionaries under
control of somebody who got a paten on the word. You couldn't use it unless you got an ok with that.
You say when we are getting into that domain, the drift of what has happened in the world into the
language, thinking, and communicating, it is hard to believe that society in order to get smarter
will put up with that.
Audience: It seems to me that with the rate of change increasing now
we need to stop looking at
objects and specific insights and start creating a language of flows of processes. One where insight
is a constant flow of discovery.
Engelbart: That is part of the evolution that I really see need to be
done. You have to evolve the
environment so that the way in which we think and work with our heads can evolve effectively. We
will open up something else by introducing Kurt Carlson who is the president and CEO of Stanford
Research Institute. He is going to speak.
Carlson: Thank you, Doug. I want to talk about the value proposition
and how I think about Doug's
ideas and how we apply some of them at SRI. I am going to make some very simple concepts and I hope
it doesn't offend anyone. I want to do it to make a contrast so that when I can cross some of those
things with Doug's thoughts we will see a difference. I hope that you will bear with me on this.
Slide: What's the Value Proposition?
Slide: Einstein Quote
Carlson: Einstein was once asked what is the most powerful force in
the universe, and he said
compound interest. He may or may not have said that but compound interest is still an amazing thing.
This is the central theme and concept behind my talk today. Here is a simple characture of what it
means to build a product. Some one has a tool, and they build a product. That is good, and
historically people have worried about quality at the same time. This is pretty much the mindset.
Get the product out and you are done.
Slide: Simple Product Model
Carlson: What Doug is talking about is a knowledge accumulation model.
Slide: Knowledge Accumulation Model
Carlson: You have a product and in some sense it become a tool, Tool
1, that essentially becomes a
second product, Product 2. That product can be used as a tool to make a third product. Keep this
process going. You will recognize that as being an equation that says that the next thing that I
produce is equal to what I have now, times fractions 1+k, and if k is bigger than one it basically
derives a difference equation for an exponential. So the goal of all this is to in fact create
exponential performance improvements. Some well known exponentials, Mores Law is a classic version
of this where the power of computers doubles every two months. Medcalf's law is a different kind of
law but it is also an exponential that says the value of a network goes up as the square of the
number of connections. That was not true before we had the Internet back when we had radio and
television; it was a linear model. Every time you added another consumer that value proposition went
up by one. This case when you add another proposition it goes up by n squared. So, it is
fundamentally different from what we had. It is not the radio, it is not television, and it is
something different. These are powerful forces, as Einstein suggested we pay attention to. Now these
ideas have been around for a long time.
Slide: Millions of Years Ago
Carlson: Here is my simple characture of what the job was a long time
ago. You pick berries, raise
kids, hunt, you pick berries, raise kids, hunt. That is a different kind of recursive process, but
pretty fundamental. Never the less, even though people were doing this they were still on this kind
of exponential improvement curve, even though I say we were on the tail of series part of the curve
that was linear. At least it seemed linear at the time.
So, you can put Doug into this context. An A level task would be to
grow and gather food. B is an ax
so that you can do it better, and C developing new material and processes as a way to improve B so
you can improve A. A NIC was the campfire everybody got together. That was the network improvement
community. The Dynamic Knowledge Repository and the Co-Diak was old folks telling stories. It is
hard to improve on that. The most compounding form of communication is through a story. Just that
one example shows us how far away we are scientifically in having the kind of capability that Doug
dreams about. The Meta-NIC was the annual pow-wow where all of the different communities got
together and shared stories about how they can improve the processes about how they improve how they
do there business. There are lots of examples. Language is one that evolved this way. You go from
the stone ax, to the bronze ax, to the iron ax. There is a nice set of metaphors here. What is
different with Doug? These ideas are resolved as mankind, so I tried to write down what I think is
different about Doug and the way he views the world. I have emphasized a few things here. Network
Improvement Community. Network is the key word here.
Slide: So What's Different
Carlson: It is often said that point of view is worth eighty IQ points.
The objective of the NIC is
to collect as many plus eighty IQ points as you can. That is collective intelligence. We are a lot
smarter as a group or as the magnitude than we are individually. It is recursive, it builds on
itself. That is bootstrapping idea. Doug is recursive in his model in every way that you can
imagine. It really is a very through analysis of how many recursive ways you can build value to make
an improvement community. It is comprehensive. There are many NICs. Quality circles have been around
for a long time, but Doug says that is not enough. Quality is important. It is fundamental. That is
one of the key things we ought to pay attention to. It is not enough. It applies to every aspect of
the job. Innovation, new product development, ethics, and all kinds of issues that intercept what
makes progress possible. It is inclusive. People often talk about computers and machines, but they
forget to talk about people. I am going to argue shortly that the people part of this equation is
extremely fundamental particularly in the world that we are about to enter. Doug's approach is
systematic. A task, B task which improves A, C task which improves B, so that you can improve A.
That kind of thinking is systematic and every time you have a situation which you don't have a B and
a C, a little red flag should go up and say that maybe I have an opportunity to do an better job. It
is intelligent and persistent. I made a joke about old folks telling stories. It shows to you the
value of that. Doug is a great storyteller and we are all here because of his ability to tell
stories. I'd actually say that he is a perfect example of the point that I am trying to make here.
It has to scale. There are many MetaNICs. A MetaNIC is one to improve the NICs, but there are many,
it is not just one kind and we can learn from everyone.
Slide: Exponential Doubling Times
Carlson: We all know about some exponential doubling times, computers,
memory, fiber optics, the
human genome, the web, there are lots of them these days. Eventually, they are going to impact
things that are really matter to us like shelter, food, medicine, entertainment, and education.
Education hasn't really been touched yet, it is an important problem. Entertainment. We are
beginning to see that there is one so called standard, we move on to another level of technology. It
has gotten to be really interesting. Back in the fifties a standard like radio or television would
stick around for fifty years or more before another one would come up. It is not true anymore.
Medicine is a profound one. We are being seen now as basically big strings of software. In treating
us as information. Once we start treating ourselves as information then we go on the equivalent of
More's Law in terms of how we're going to be treated and the way we are going to interact with our
doctors. So obviously this isn't going to last forever.
Slide: Where Are We Going?
Carlson: Just to make this point on other way, thirty years ago most
stuff was on a thirty to fifty
doubling time scale. More's Law was down at the bottom of the economy. Even though it was chunking
along at two times every eighteen months, frankly it didn't effect very much. That is different
today, More's Law intercepts just about everything. That is basically the motivation behind the
bubble that we are going through now. Of course, Medcalf's Law came along in the form of the
Internet as another driver to push the activity that is going on. Those are not going to stop. They
are going to affect most of that other stuff too, as I just tried to argue. So most of the things
that are important to us are going to be on some kind of exponential in the area that we are going
Slide: Key Ingredients
Carlson: The question comes up that if you want to be on an exponential,
what are the key
ingredients that you must satisfy to be on it. I think that there are four things. I believe if one
of these is missing, it doesn't work. I believe that there are other things too. Doug is always
arguing the whole family of things. I am going to argue these four. First, it has to be an important
problem. It has to be something where there is no limit. You double the performance, it is like
raising a kid. You teach them something you want to double it and double it. There is basically no
limit to how much you can teach your child. Education. Communication, fiber optic communication I
put this one down right now because for every having of the cost of the fiber optic communication,
the market potential goes up by fifty percent. You can't satisfy it. So, the companies that are
after that market are doing everything that they can to grow as fast as they can. Ideas. In order
for you to say on an exponential there needs to be new ideas. You can't grow unless there are new
ideas. That means concepts, representations, new technologies, invention systems, and business
innovations. Ultimately business innovations have historically been more important than the
technology. The technology opens the door, but it is the business innovations that really makes it
work. Strategies as Doug has mentions. You also need resources. People and dollars. Today dollars
don't necessarily matter. You can raise lots of money, the only thing that is really important is do
you have a keen idea, and do you have the people. You need a recursive process. Build it and
iterate. If you have these things you can be on an exponential.
Slide: The SRI Way
Carlson: At SRI, we take these ideas quite seriously, and we apply them
to a couple of different
activities. We apply these when there is an important problem. If it is a trivial problem, then we
don't think about it we just get on it and then go on to the next thing. If there is a really
important problem, that society needs solved, we will go after that one. That requires a vision and
a strategy to think about those. When you think of Doug's classic work in 1968, he had a very
powerful vision that motivated Jeff and others to join him. To make computers and humans more
intelligent. To create a more productive and creative environment. Champions and teams. I like
passion. I like people with passion because I think that they change the world. Doug is a passionate
champion of his ideas. You need ideas. You need new ideas, and lots of smart people in many
disciplines because most of the problems that are interesting today are multidisciplinary. You need
multiple representations and mathematics but if you don't have at least two representations, you
can't solve a hard problem. Format's Theorem was solved with something like forty to fifty
transformations to be able to look that problem in enough ways to solve it. That is a metaphor that
is useful for all of us in our work today. There are business models, processes, and human
considerations, which I come to. And the recursive process. What this means is if you are putting
together a proposal you put it together quickly, you put it in front of people, collect ideas, you
do another version, you do it again. If you are doing a demonstration, it is not enough to talk
about it. Talking about it doesn't do it, it doesn't capture the idea. You have got to build the
demo, put it in front of people, collect their ideas, and implement them again. You need to do that
really fast with a lot of enthusiasm. If you do those they you get on... there is no such thing as
an exponential for this kind of activity but there is something that looks an awful lot like it. It
is fun when you do this. I want to get back to another thing that Doug emphasizes. Technology may be
a driver for this but the thing that makes it work is people. It is perhaps the most important thing
in the world today, the technology is going to come but you need to think about how you are going to
treat and work with people. People make exponentials work or not work. If you have a company that
has a doubling time of two every six months, and you have a personnel crisis in your company, you
can be out of business. It is very non-linear when these kinds of effects come together and you get
involved in a business that is so dynamic that is doubling every six or twelve months, anything a
financial or personal crisis, it can basically crack the bubble and put you in jeopardy.
Slide: The SRI Way: Staff as Partners
Carlson: So these funny words that are in this view graph are actually
things that we take very
seriously. The three commandments. Respect, integrity, generosity is spirit. At SRI we have at least
six NICs that I can count that are up and running. I went to the person who runs one of them the
other day. I said, when you put together a NIC, what is the most important thing? I thought she
might say the application or something. She said Kurt, it is respect and trust. I said I am sure
that is true, but what else comes to mind. She said Kurt, it is respect and trust. I said well, I
understand that, but what else do you think about. She said Kurt, it is respect and trust. How many
times does she have to tell me that if you want to have a network community, and you don't have
respect and trust, nothing can happen. It is really fundamental.
So these funny words, you know Gilbert Stock and Trade, cynicism, distrust,
and misunderstanding it
is natural when you are changing an organization. When you are on an exponential where you are
doubling every six to twelve months, the amount of cynicism you can build up is enormous. So we have
to name it, address it, and deal with it. When I am going through all of these things I really think
that these things are important. More important than ever when you buy into this kind of a vision.
The reason I pick staff and it's partners is that it is the only way that you can treat your staff
in this kind of a world, they have to be in partners in this kind of a relationship with them. I
think that is a really big transformation in the way we work. It is a really nice work. There is
nothing on this page that anyone would disagree with. They are good and positive values. They are
values that help people grow and be bigger and better than they are.
The DNA of change has to do with there has to be a demonstrated need
for change. The N stands for a
new vision and the A is an action plan. If you don't have a need, a vision, and an action plan,
people don't change. That is not enough. If you ask me if a company has a need, a vision, and a
plan, and I don't fit into it, I am not going to buy into it. So, this personal transformation on
the left hand side says vision A to vision Z. I have to help you see how the skills that you have
can be morphed into this new job. When you get there, not only are you going to be valued, you are
going to be more valued and have more potential and more returns than you have today. That is my job
as a manage, if I can't do that, you are probably not going to buy in. And so it goes.
FUD: Fear, uncertainty, and doubt, that comes up all the time, you have
to address that. The
motivation part. Freedom to do your job, you have to respect people. A is for achievement. A lot of
us are scientists in this room. The thing why we get into the business is for achievement. We want
to make a difference. I stand for involvement. If you don't involve us in decisions that are
important to us that can affect our freedom to do our jobs, or our ability to achieve, it is
predictable that there will be a crisis. C is community. We want to be part of a community. I
believe the companies that can address these four things are well on their way to keeping people.
Just talking about this. Even if they are not getting the kind of stock options that they are
getting someplace else. I do know that if you do not satisfy these four things no matter how much
you pay people they will not stay. They will go someplace else where they can get those done. You
can see I have a little passion on this topic.
Slide: Some Outdated Ideas
Carlson: I went thought this because I wanted to make a point about
Doug's work. If you accept the
idea that we are moving into an exponential world, and the business models, the way we do business
needs to be exponential, then you can look at other organizations and quantitatively say are they on
that path or aren't they? DOD research, corporate R&D, and incubators. I pick four things with Jeff
and Doug the other night. DOD research. It should go 6,1,6,2,6,3 they have a linear process for
innovation. How can they be successful in this world? They are not and they can't be. You can just
look at and the way that they do business. Corporate R&D. Put a lot of really smart people in a
building out in Montana some place, and don't let them interact with the market and all of the other
people in the company. You have to get permission from some vice-president before you can go and
talk to somebody, how can this be useful? It can't. This is basically going away in America.
Incubators. That is another one we came up with. It is a really curious idea. On the face of it, it
is a really good idea. Let's take a couple of smart people who want to form a company. We will put
them in a place, take care of heating, and give them janitorial services, but there are no ideas in
an incubator. It is a sterile environment, it doesn't feel like an exponential environment.
Slide: Some Possible Products
Carlson: You look at these and say what is missing? It become easy to
look at them and say what is
missing and what is added. This diagram is an attempt to begin to think about some projects that
would satisfy some of these requirements. Where you could go to people and challenge them about why
they would like to participate and ways that they may want to participate. I mentioned DOD on the
left hand side. That is a great example. They are so fundamentally broken that almost any
improvement would make a huge change about how they do business. So, what this says is go to DOD.
I'll do that. What they ought to do if form a NIC. To pick a problem that is important to them, and
use it as a benchmark for their thinking. Use it as a bench mark for how you are doing your R&D, and
the other parts of your business. Then borrow Jeff's idea from the last session. While you are at
that, why don't you take ten percent of your money that you want to spend on that and put it into a
MetaNIC. The tools and team box. Work on some hard fundamental problems, and learn from your
experiences that you collect from that. I put some things that need to be worked on.
Collaborative environmental space, don't work today. In spite of what
people say, they don't work.
There is no security, they are not interoperatable, and you can't have the kinds of collaborative
tools that you want. They basically don't work. You can't do it. It is a good thing to work on. By
the way, if it is out of the context of an application, it obviously doesn't make sense to do that.
DOD here is something that you could make a big impact on, but putting them into the right
environment. Data bases, the CoDiak. I told the story about old folks telling stories. That shows
you how far away data base technology is from the kind of goal that is required for this. That is a
grand challenge and a good problem to work on. Human performance. I emphasize the human properties,
because they ought to be kept track of. When that lady I mentioned, Judy, said respect and trust,
that should be understood. What does she mean by that? How do we capture that and share it with
other people so that they don't have the same personal crisis the next time that they form a NIC and
basically do the same thing. Doug mentioned world help, I think that is another great application. I
am going to be giving a talk to the head of the National Cancer Institute and I am going to propose
that they form one. Education. We already have a bunch of ones going in education. So, if we could
get them to be taxed according to Jeff's rule, maybe we could begin to put together a MetaNIC. Maybe
other groups would form other NICs and they would have their MetaNIC, and you could get people to
share and they we would begin to increment recursively. If I could steal a word. Move toward this
vision that Doug has been laying out.
Inclusion. I think that the goal of this needs to be exponential performance
improvement. I think
that is a grand challenge, I think it is inevitable. Frankly, we don't have any other choice. We
have to move in that direction. It requires important problems, champions and teams, lots of ideas,
recursive processes and more.
Carlson: Great human values and improvement based on respect and trust.
Carlson: I kind of like that and would like to acknowledge any ideas
that I have picked up from a
lot of really smart people. Just mentioned some here Bill Welmont, who is a wonderful guy, we
actually have a draft of a book on exponential teams. Romanovski, a colleague from Saranov. My wife,
and of course Doug, so thank you.
Audience: I'd like to pick up on the DOD idea. I want to share with
share with you right away DOD
came to us as a darba initiative, it essential said the same thing, the system is broken. DOD takes
seven to fifteen years to put the research into any kind of product that might be useful. As a
result they started an initiative called ACTION. We have been given part of that grant and have
already started working on it. We are planning a workshop in dealing with those issues. What we are
going to be dealing with is not the DKR or CoDiak part, because there are other people who are
dealing with that. We are talking about some of the strategies and issues that have to do with
business and economics, I would like to compare notes because we have some money to do that.
Carlson: Great, I would love to. The thing I think would be useful for
DOD is to have an exemplar.
They need something that they can constantly look at and compare what they are doing today with what
they ought to be doing. I think that is a great contribution from Doug. If we could work together to
create that it would make a great difference because basically they try things. When you look at the
trials you can find the things that don't work. It is broken in some really fundamental way. Even
thought it is interesting it is not going to be successful.
Audience: I have two questions. The first is about benchmarking. It
has been apparent from previous
sessions at SRI that benchmarking is something important that is going on with in SRI. Do you have
any benchmarks for measuring your own exponential improvement. No offense. The second question I had
was regarding your comment on collaborative environments. What is your opinion on augment NLS in
terms of how it addresses needs we have for collaborative environments.
Carlson: I am not qualified to answer the last one. I will answer the
first on however. We have very
poor benchmarks. The way I see it is successful, is when you can watch it happen. When a team goes
from nothing to doing something that changes the world in six months. In retrospect you can see what
went on and it certainly was not linear. Whether it is exponential or not, it is certainly not
linear. When you see people who don't do this. In my experience, when all of those ingredients are
in place, the percentage of success is about 95%. When one of those ingredients is not in place, the
percentage goes down to about 5%. When we put together teams, if I don't see all of the ingredients,
we don't do it. That is one kind of benchmark. Now the actual rate depends on all kinds of things.
The web stuff that is different from biotech stuff which can take many years because it is a lot
harder to process systems and come up with the technology then it is to come up with the concept.
Audience: Do you see the possibility to do multiple intelligence research.
The ability to do far
left brain, far right brain to tap into different forms of intelligence as tying directly into
exponential performance improvement.
Carlson: I do. I think that is one of the beautiful things about putting
people together in a room,
they think differently and so they develop different representations of the same problem. That is
one of the things that you want to tap into. I mention that the services do very simple stuff. They
give people a task and they have them solve them individually. Then they give them the same kind of
a task, and have them solve it as a team. Then the compare the scores. It is not even close. They
don't have to tell them the implication of that when they are done.
Audience: Does Howard Gardeners work and some of the people that are
around that have any direct
influence? The interesting part about that is, take any of the practical implication of say Michael
Jordan's physical intelligence, to get more specifically into this area.
Audience: Don't know. Jeff, what is the most important thing to you?
Jeff: In what respect?
Audience: What do you think about these things at SUNN? How do you think
about what is important and
what goes on in your company?
Jeff: That is such an open-ended question. In some ways, I think SUNN
has stumbled into some of
these things in an interesting way with out really understanding it. I want to go back to the DOD
thing a little bit, and maybe abstractly tie these things together. SUNN unlike all the other
computer companies, SUNN hardly makes anything in the hardware that it ships. It is an interesting
phenomenon. So we don't have a FAB plant, we design ships, but we don't actually make them. We don't
make CRTs, we don't make power supplies. We don't make disks. We actually don't make any of the
components that we put together. Yet some how we have managed to do quite well, both in terms of
market growth and stock shares and stuff like that. So what is going on there, I can relate it back
to the DOD example in a way, we basically take components from all of the other companies in the
world and piece them together in a way that allows us to massive system integration value. Do that
in such a way that our component suppliers, we can choose and stay ahead of the competition in each
individual component. Yet all of our competition has availability to all of those components but we
have some how mastered a way of putting that together so that our system, total system integration
in what we deliver stays out in front. It is an interesting model for a company. Which I believe I'm
going to see a lot more of. It had a lot to do with what Allen talked about, about
interoperatability of the components and how we manage that and deal with that. It allows us to do
scalability. It is really interesting, cause we can scale up enormously to do things. I am not
taking about the research part that I am in, but SUNN as a company as a different kind of model.
Makes it an interesting primitive example of the way some of these things will go.
Audience: I would just like to build on what you were saying about trust
and teams. How an
organization has got staff in Europe, both sides of the U.S., and Japan. Our membership is similarly
distributed. It is about the same. Either when we are working internally, just with the staff,
trying to develop product, services, or what we are presenting ourselves to....members or customers.
Or when we are grouping customers and suppliers, to try and build some consensus around a
requirement, an idea, or a vision, or a standard. The overriding important thing, in all of that is
trust. In a virtual organization, trust is incredibly difficult to build. If you are distributed
around the world, it is always the other guys fault. Communication is not the whole thing. It is
about knowing that you have clear understanding about what you expect people to do. About knowing
that they have a clear understanding about what they are going to do, and they are competent. It is
about other things like, I remember WWC, World Wide Web Consortion, once upon a time there is no
such thing as a virtual beer. If you are going to bond and build a team that is going to work
effectively together, occasionally you have got to do the beer and pizza thing. Then there is the
task of the senior people to make sure that it propagates through the organization in a consistent
way. Trust is a really huge thing. Underneath all of that, trust isn't just about honesty and
integrity. Are they able and capable, willing? At the end of the day, if people don't fit, it is so
Engelbart: Thank you very much, Kurt.
Engelbart Colloquium at Stanford
"The Unfinished Revolution"
Session 9 Tape 2 March 2, 2000
Engelbart: Welcome back to the second half. We have an interesting arrangement
now that we have in
New York on the telecommunication video telecom arrangement is Michael Hart. Sometimes you will see
him on the screen. Sometimes he'll see me or different shots of you guys, and so we are assuming
dialogue. Michael, can you hear me? Can you say something?
Hart: I can.
Engelbart: Ok, great. We hear you. Very good. I told them that you were
a vice-president of
something at Citigroup. Do you want to clarify that a little.
Hart: I would if I could clarify it for myself. I am the vice-president
of information systems and
strategies. It means trying to get an initiative together for a corporate portal development. That
would bring our 189,000 employees to one essential exchange. Where they can transact shear
analytical information and hopefully transfer these information assets. Hopefully we will get to
leverage those assets and grow our collective knowledge.
Engelbart: That is great. I told them that you have been interacting
with us since last spring. Is
Hart: That is right.
Engelbart: So you know some of the vocabulary. Did you watch the first
session, were you able to
Hart: I saw the last part with Jeff. Jeff from SUNN. I've been on the
phone with Rick from Boston,
and we have been discussing.
Engelbart: Is Rick going to be joining us?
Hart: He is on the line now.
Engelbart: Hello, Rick.
Rick: Hello, everybody.
Engelbart: So Rick, mysterious voice out of the room, tell us who you are.
Rick: I am Rick Wanborg. President and founder of ....(inaudible) ...intellectual
exchange. It was founded five years ago from research that I had done at ....(inaudible) research
center for information technology and strategies. In addition, I am on faculty at the school of
management at Boston University. I also participate in the knowledge economy.
Engelbart: That's great. Rick, I think that we ought to tell you that
your voice has been breaking
up. I think everyone could basically understand it, but I assume that the audio people will be
working on that. I told everyone that you'd agreed that you would be on, but that you don't have a
prepared script and you want to be in the dialogue. Sometimes you have tuned in a bit to what has
been going on. Rick, did you manage to hear the first hour and a half.
Rick: Unfortunately I had another meeting that I attended, but I saw
the last ten minutes. I thought
that stuff was very eloquent.
Engelbart: What we warned you two about is that we would like to hear
about large organizations such
as Citigroup and some of the issues in the bootstrapping that we talk about. We came up with this
concept that it looks like we ought to have a value proposition to tell whoever it is inside
Citigroup that would have to decide how much to invest in the C and B activities. Also working on
the outside with NICs and MetaNICs. That has been an ongoing concern around here. That is one thing,
if we could start some dialogue on that. Michael are you prepared with your question?
Hart: Just so that you know that we are breaking up, we have a large
echo with everything that we
say. I have to pause at every opportunity so that I can hear. Essentially we have a difficult
problem with coordinating individual and isolated teams of improving what we can do. There are
189,000 people scattered around the globe in a hundred and fifteen countries. Many of those people
are engaged in a duplicate activity. Then in lies a very obvious improvement opportunity. We have a
quality movement in place, we have people involved in very traditional accounting practices that
look at matrix to define how we do our work and where there are opportunities to engage in
improvement. We have isolated areas of human resource management where change incentives entrain to
improve the structure and alignment of the organization and how we go after strategy. We have had in
the past, Total Quality Management. We have enormous information assets, varying from intellectual
property rights in the form of trademarks and brands. There is an enormous list of intellectual
capital assets. No where is there one single repository or one single initiative to try and
coordinate or track and account for these softer assets. Nowhere is there a single program to
attempt to measure the positive effects or improvement efforts. As such, there is an enormous amount
of duplication, an enormous amount of wastage. We need now to build a case to show that these assets
can be brought together in a structured taxonomy and be accounted for and measured for growth. That
these disparate information assets, these desperate processes and these desperate improvement
initiatives collectively have greater value than there individual parts.
Engelbart: Can I ask you a question to relieve you a bit? You listed
some significant problems, I
would guess are very right candidates for the corporate corporation to remedy. Are those things that
you think, to any significant extent, things that your company would be willing to find answers for
in a collective thing, like with other financial outfits, joining a NIC and finding answers to some
of those problems in common?
Hart: There are two schools of thought on that. The most prevalent is
in the security conscious
camp. Have more incentive to look at competitive intelligence. The competitive intelligence in
itself is an information asset. They would prefer to keep ideas and process and information goods
away from competitors. Then spending their budgets more wisely in going after competitive
intelligence. Any attempts to look at collaboration in those people's minds is met with opposition.
There are areas that are more generic. They involve people management, organizational development
and logistics. These things seemed to be less competitive and less propriety and it is where we
don't have competence as a population of banking or financial services or insurance experts. We
would look to share with best practitioners in those areas. We would look at being or making
comparison to the best in the logistics, human resources, or other areas that we seems to not be
competent and not aligned with our core practice of asset transformation.
Engelbart: How would they judge about where they would look for organizations
that would have best
Hart: If we could think simply of supply change we could talk about
procurement. We would spend
three to five billion dollars a year on information technology investment in a given year. We also
have to support a large operational infrastructure, and that includes all of the supply and
real-estate procurement. These are areas that we have only begun to make a business of that, given
the scale and scope of the enterprise. These are not practices that insurance companies or bankers
or stockbrokers have had to engage themselves in. Given the increasing scale and scope of the
enterprise, we find ourselves engaged in very complex business. That is outside from in the core
practice of transforming assets.
Engelbart: If you are looking at a giant like that, if you ever start
looking at your improvement
infrastructure. Would that be viewed as an oddity? If someone like you said maybe we ought to take
stock and see what it is.
Hart: It is to take stock of ourselves internally and say whether or
not we have an infrastructure.
Do we actually have an improvement infrastructure. We have made as I said earlier, attempts at total
quality management, and at business process for engineering, and all of the management ideas that
come about with those. I don't believe despite strong endeavors in the highest places of the
organization, that those programs every have taken root long enough for the good that is supposed to
come of them to be realized. There have been isolated cases of very high performance across the
globe, it doesn't ever reach the level of the collective. There is always better and worse
practitioners with in the organization. I would take quite a concerted effort and quite a deliberate
investment in the infrastructure to support that effort. To A build on winning and demonstrating
best practices internally to gain leverage from those and give momentum to a program, and bring
further examples to a central improvement program. I would think that their first steps would be to
support improvement communities with in our organization. For there to momentum with in the
collective, with in the group. We would probably be better served to start looking at microNICs with
in the organization. Those NICs could look at collaboration and cooperation externally as well as
looking at best practices that were relevant, and relevant to them externally and then bring those
experiences of the microNICs to a more collective group. Wide initiative.
Engelbart: Sound workable. Any comments? The first time I got to thinking
about communities was
while I was working with Donald Douglas. I began to realize that any time that there was a
significant improvement action they had to have people on it from different divisions to represent
their part. It is a really different kind of project. More like a community. That is when I got
particularly interested. I can appreciate that part from my experience.
Hart: I think that there is also an difficulty for people to easily
translate good experience in one
area and bring it directly into their own context. I looked recently at attempts that we have made
to improve communication. Everywhere we looked there are obstacles in the way to getting better at
the way we communicate and improving our improvement work in that line alone. As we put metrics
around effectiveness in communication and measured how good we are or how poor we are in
communication. There are groups that shown poorer performance, but they are having difficulty in
translating that into immediate remedies. There are always obstacles.
Engelbart: Is there any one big place in that corporation that you would
just push the doorbell and
say that we would like to talk to you about your improvement infrastructure.
Hart: It would be good and it might be interesting. I was thinking more
about the supply chain in
terms of technology in terms of the integration that is going on with enterprise resource planning.
Given the transaction capability and the rules based and transparent nature of that technology
coupled with the web, may give us a superb improvement infrastructure. Not only does it improve the
internal lines, but it also improves that external communication with traders and suppliers with in
our value chain and with in our supply chain. We are getting increasing activity with our external
parties from customer through supplier. We are able to get increased transparency and information
about the activities that are involved in the supply and value chain. There is an indirect benefit.
We are getting a lot of improvement data and information that we are now able to leverage, that we
didn't expect in our initial investment, into the supply chain.
Rick: I think what you are edging towards to solve that problem on improvement
is really dealing
with some of the overall cultural issues of some of the large global companies. You can build the
best infrastructure, and put in some programs like Total Quality Management, and the rest, but it is
the culture that you need to build so that people know that it is good to go and find better
practices and better ideas for improvement. I always reflect on one global company who's CEO truly
believes that people should be learning faster and better from others. One of the ideas he invoked
was the Stealing Idea Award. He gave out an award ceremony and gave it to those people who stole
ideas. Whether internally or externally, it was something that sent a signal that it was quite ok
not to be innovative and always trying to come up with new ideas. It is quite ok to grab ideas that
were very usable for other groups. That is one of the toughest things to deal with. Especially with
the size that Citigroup is. That the cultural ambivalence from learning from other groups, vs. being
the creative source of new ideas.
Hart: Just continuing on from that, Rick, we have found that trying
to build a case for a knowledge
exchange is centered on that very notion of incentive. The encouragement of competition or the
encouragement to behave in certain ways through a set of incentives has certainly given us business
support to improve efforts to invest in the exchange. The cultural aspects mean that around the
globe we have certain individuals and characters who are very selfish, in many respects, and there
isn't in their normal business activity and real need to share their knowledge. So, if you have
these highly skilled financial engineers that have very secretive relationships with a few clients,
and they are only doing large value transactions, small in number in a given period. They are not
given incentive to share their ideas with even their own internal organizational teams in London, or
in Singapore, or in New York. They will selfishly guard their innovative ideas, so that they are
first to market. It is the characteristics of their pricing, their product, and their market
dynamics that prevents them from working effectively on the exchange of any information or any
knowledge. So, the incentives have to be skewed to change the behaviors and change the cultures.
Rick: I think that is one of the critical factors is finding the right
incentives so that there is
enough opportunity for people to exchange knowledge so that the overall benefits become available to
everybody. That is the key word, the exchange. If you can't find the incentives for people to get
value out of it, then there is less interest from anybody to collaborate or learn from anybody. I
ran into that at a large consulting firm that I work for, where we trying to build sharing of
knowledge. You would think that in the consulting world, that consultants would share gladly because
that is the core of their business. It is a knowledge group. But we had got successful by setting up
a program, where we told people that they could not participate unless they equally traded their
knowledge on clients and practices, and new methods. Unless they equally traded, they were
dis-invited from the group. Once you have got that agreement across with a group of partners of
senior managers, then it worked out quite well. I would assume, Michael, that you would find the
same things at Citigroup.
Hart: Definitely. I could give and example, and I am trying to bring
this back into the context of
having an improvement community, how to underpin that with an improvement infrastructure. How to
have a set of measures so that you can have feedback on how you are improving. So that you can get
on to the next phase of improving your improvement process. As an organization becomes more diverse,
its internal market has to become extraordinarily strong, and increase competitive in order to fuel
that improvement process, but there need to be incentives for that to occur. It doesn't happen on
it's own. We get back to incentives to encourage certain desirable behavior. They may be in to form
of the selfish individuals that I was referring to earlier. Through the efficiency of a knowledge
exchange, or an information exchange. If they transact on this exchange, prior to going to the
market, not only will they get the bonus or royalty compensation, from the transaction that they
would have originated and completed, they also would benefit from the bonus or royal from any
subsequent transaction that comes as a result of another team with in the organization, selling that
into another market. It is not very difficult to set up the formula to make those types of
incentives available, it is more an issue to create that exchange to allow that to happen very
quickly and bring that level of efficiency to the internal market. It is necessary because the
products that these guys are creating have a very long product development. They are very costly. As
soon as they hit the market, their shelf life is very short, they can be de-engineered in two weeks.
Any premium that would be eroded by at least fifty percent with in a two-week time frame.
Rick: I think that is very important. I have seen with in a few case
studies that we have done at
Boston University where people think that the job is done when they have the knowledge
infrastructure in place. I'll limit the definition of infrastructure as the technology and knowledge
processes, web capabilities, teleconferencing, and the rest. One company that we did a study of, we
looked at the net effects after they put in state of the art web communities, teleconferencing, they
wanted to hook up all of their engineers world wide to solve fairly complex construction problems.
Their top engineers could be available to be on call to handle these construction issues. There was
one person who had a plant that he was supporting. He was a very bright person. Everybody knew that
he was the brightest on a particular aspect of engineering and so they hooked him up on
teleconferencing and everything else. He is being asked to show up a meeting twenty-four hours a
day, seven days a week, he has gotten no sleep. He has gotten none of his plant problems solved, and
then they wonder why all of a sudden he is not answering any of the calls, and not collaborating,
and supporting the rest of the corporation. What they found is there was not only not any incentive
for this person, but they weren't leveraging any of his expertise. Investing in leveraging some of
the common problems he kept solving over and over, in fact part of his problem was not just about
working twenty four hours a day, but it was about being bored about solving the same issues over and
over. That gets beyond the knowledge improvement infrastructure. It begins to get you into how do
you start dealing with the cultural issues, the incentive issues, and other things. So that you
leverage this very senior engineer.
Engelbart: I am afraid we have to interrupt. We are coming to the end
of the period. Some more
questions come up in my mind, I think that some time off-line I will go after them with you with
Hart: I hope our contribution has been helpful. I hope that we have
not gone off on too many
Engelbart: We would like to come back and look at some things. The sharing
of information. The
important part in the strategy thing would be at the C level. This is different from the kind of A
level that we mentioned there. You have to get a specified C level activity going so that people
would recognize that.
Hart: It would be interesting to see that immediate value.
Engelbart: Value proposition that is what we are after. So, I respect
whatever value proposition
drove you to this expense of time and energy to tie to us. We appreciate it very much Michael and
Rick. I'd like to get in touch with you in a couple of days to thank you and talk it over. Thanks to
the crew back here to make that work. They had to scurry cause the idea only came up yesterday. I
think with out my diving into any slides, I will turn it over. I will give you fair warning that
what you are about to experience....my old friend Ted Nelson who we got aquatinted thirty three
years ago. He was a very young man at the time, and it has been great. He is off there waving at the
world, and sometimes we wave at each other. We can share a lot of experiences, of trying to wave at
the world at not sure that we get anyone to wave at the world. He keeps going on, and so do I. He
has got some really interesting things. One of the things that I would like to tell everybody, is
when we try to get something going that is an evolutionary process, and an evolutionary
hyper-document system that is open for evolution I think it would be extremely important to
integrate the kinds of things that we would like to do with the kind of things that he talks about
because something in the fusion of those things would be very important. He is a pretty good kid.
One time he was going to make a movie. He needed somebody to play the role of his father. I don't
know how he did it but he talked me into doing it. So take it away.
Nelson: When we speak of evolution, we don't necessarily mean cooperation.
We don't necessarily mean
an enjoyable and nice process. Nature remember is red in tooth and claw. The result of evolution may
be wondrously integrated, charming, and beautiful. Those parties along the way who participated may
not have a very good time. It is not my job to be cooperative.
Slide: Where Our Hyper Media Should Go
Nelson: It is not my job to try to find common threads in what we are
all doing. It is my job to be
the conscience of what we should be doing. Because I believe that everything it totally hopelessly
ghastly, and wrong and that we have to basically start over. Let us consider the prevailing paradigm
of computers. The so-called computer literacy. The beginners are told oh they come so innocently. I
am going to break it. I am so afraid of this. I am not computer literate. So, they learn that we
have these operating systems that must be approached in a certain way. Then we have gooeys, which
are, of course, very different between the Macintosh, PC, and X Windows. We must to learn to use
files, and name them correctly, of course with different sets of rules. Then once we understand
those things, we learn about application. Of course, the basic applications are Word Processing,
Spreadsheet, and Database. The way we move things back and forth between these things is by the so
called clip board which allows us to cut and paste, and copy. I believe this paradigm. Of course,
you see paradigms tend to be invisible. You only see paradigms, as a rule, in contrast to other
paradigms at which point you get a stereo view. You see a difference image and you say wait a minute
something is wrong here. This paradigm, I consider it an abomination. It must be swept away because
it is at the heart of everything that is wrong with what people try to do with computers. Every
beginner is absolutely correct in saying I don't like this. For very good reasons. I just visited
Norway, and a cousin of mine said I won't use computers because you can't see the previous version
of what you are working. I said exactly. The beginners know something the experts don't. They have
not be steeped. They have not been pickled long enough in what we think of as the solution.
Now the problem with paradigms. There are many interesting things about
paradigms. I could go on
forever. I am trying to stop using the term, and say idea fields. Paradigms are big ideas that are
essentially invisible. A soup in which we don't discern. Where we could really have smaller idea
fields. Really it is fractal. Little idea fields and big idea fields are the same except they come
in all sizes. The great problem is that you can not express one paradigm in terms of another. People
say to me why can't you express that in terms that I can understand. If you understood the term, you
would understand the paradigm. Unless you can walk through the door into the new ideas, which can
not possibly be expressed in your words, there is no hope for communication. Everything that can be
done with frankfurters cheese and pickles, has been done. When innocent people ask me well Word
Processing, Data Base, and Spreadsheet, that's basic right. It is like trying to explain cuisine to
somebody, the concept of cuisine, to someone who has only eaten at McDonalds. They say cuisine. What
could it possibly be? You put the fries in the shake, or you put the shake and the fries and the
burger next to each other. Or possibly, you put the fries in your nose, put the burger on your head,
and pour the shake all over you. These are the possibilities, but there are other possibilities that
don't involve the fries, the burger, and the shake, and for that you have to get out of the burger,
shake paradigm. That can be very difficult. You can not express one paradigm in terms of another.
There is no neutral terminology. Every terminology set is tinged. Now you could, for example,
program lisp under mathematica. You would then be working in a mathematics environment, in which
your lisp functions would be working. You could program mathematica under lisp, then you would
basically be working in a lisp environment. Which one is at the center, is at the top, and
determines the flavor of the whole. It is like ordering a steak at a fish restaurant, you will get
kind of a fishy steak. The point is that what every is at the center, effects the rest. Computer
religions take on their compelling quality, because we all know viscerally, that which ever is at
the center, will determine the character of the whole. I think of this as undermining. In the
computer world it is always said, well you can implement yours under mine. What that means is yes,
it will have the flavor of what I want, but it would really be your system after all. This is very
similar to the issue of making a movie. I started as a moviemaker. I made on film before the one
that Doug referred to. It spoiled me for life. I believe that software design especially the design
of interactive software, is literally a branch of filmmaking. No body has discovered that yet.
Movies are events on a screen that affect the heart and mind of the viewer. Inter-active software
are events on a screen that affect the heart and mind of the viewer, and interact. Also, they may
have some side effect in terms of data. The interaction with the heart and mind may very well be the
primary. This is the reason that video games are so much better made than office software. Video
games are created by people who want to play video games and office software is created by people
who are on salary and haggle endlessly about inconsequential detail. The guy who gets to design the
interface for the Microsoft word word count routine, is probably getting his interface design as his
reward for having written the word count routine itself. Now if you made movies this way, the person
who made costumes could sew them any way that they like, person who wrote the music could write any
old music. The film industry from 1893-1904 discovered the rector.....(inaudible)....it was a person
who not necessarily knew how to sew a costume. ...(inaudible)...I think that Bill Gates and Steve
Jobs are closer to directors than anybody else because they have integrated software. That is why
Macintosh and PC software.....that's why it works to some extent because somebody has been
integrating it. The problem is, is that all of the design decisions have been made by those few
guys. Everybody else has to operate with in the world that they have created. With in the rules for
naming files, etc. Let me talk about files. They say that the fish doesn't see the water, nobody
quite sees what an abdominal burden is put on the user by the very nature of files as we know them.
You have to put the data somewhere, and you maybe have to find some way of referring to it. The fact
that files are stuck lumps in fixed places, with fixed names obtrudes into every way of the users
thought and environment. Always to the detriment of what you are trying to do. So that we have ever
so many work around to the filing system. We have ways of naming small parts, like mailboxes and
play lists. We have aliases and short cuts that give access to that whole stuck lump. Nowhere in the
system do we have a clean way of the individual parts that we should be able to refer to. That
doesn't even get to the main problem. The main problem I believe is that we have to deal with
contents that over lap. We have to deal with showing and overlapping contents and structures.
Interpenetrating connections among contents and structures. All software is clueless about these
things. Why is that. It is because the computer world was built by tech-ies with rectangular
imaginations. They were richly rewarded for doing really dumb clunky things that got some leverage.
We never got on to the next part.
Nelson: With that let me get on to the next part. The fundamental issue
is how to display
interconnection and parallelism with structure. This picture, I published in 1972, here is the close
up that shows contents in one window deeply connected to contents in another. This is the problem.
This is what we need and this is what we have always need. There is no alternative. It has to be at
the bottom. Therefore everything that we have is wrong. The reason that I am shouting is that I
published this in 1972. This is the 1998 version which we implemented. People looked at this and
said oh Ted doesn't know how to work computers see. This was an animated implementation that I did
in 1998 with Ian Hathe at the University of South Hampton.
Slide: Windows Example
Nelson: If you could see it animated which I could do if we weren't
stuck with Microsoft power
point...weakness point....we would be able to see the windows moving around, the contents scrolling,
and the lines adhering to the content with in the windows. Why do we not have this? When I spoke at
Xerox Park in 1994-5 I said, this is what you must have. When are you going to add this to your
windows? They said oh we will get around to it real soon, Ted. So, they have had enough time. I
believe Xerox Park is where most of the things went wrong in the computer world. They made their
money, there is no reason to be nice to them any more. I don't need any favors from them, thank you
very much. So the point is that this is what we should have, period. Anything short of it is wrong.
There is nothing on the horizon like it in the conventional computer world. To the best of my
knowledge, no one is accepting this challenge. To accept this challenge is to walk through the
paradigm door to something that is entirely different. So, I have been working for forty years to
attempt to get this stuff up. Now this is the most recent visualization.
Nelson: This was done in August of 1999. This is a front end done Ka-Ping
Yee who works by day at
ILM, for the code previously described as Xanadu 88 which I described in my book and continually
shepherd by it's co-designer Roger Gregory. This is being fed by the Xanadu back end now called
Udanax Green now available in open source. What you see here on the right hand side is the
declaration of independence in the version we all know. And a previous draft of the declaration of
independence. Algorithmically displayed are all of the transclusion showing which parts are the
same, and which parts are not the same. This is what we need. We need deep inter-comparison of
documents side by side, which shows the differences among their contents. We have had this server in
1988 due to an unfortunate political foul up at autodesk, it was not released and they went on to
design something else. That server is now available in open source, and if anyone wants to work with
it, see Roger. Ping was able to write this concept in a few weeks strictly from the interface banks
and it worked. This is all very good. Unfortunately, this stuff is not adequately documented. It is
mainly in Roger's head, and I get some of it out every few weeks and try to put it on the web. That
is another slow down. This is what we need. These are various forms of it. There is no alternative.
There is no compromise. There is no way that I know to retrofit it to the existing structure.
There is something going on called XML. Which some say is HTML done
right. I think that is a good
description. A wrong thing done to absolute perfection. I have been on the mailing list of the XML
linking committee. Which is endeavoring to create some kind of a specification or a standard for
hyper documents that will appropriately represent connected structure. My experience is reading
convinces me further, as if I had not known already that I want nothing to do with it. What I am
doing continues in another direction.
At this point I should make a few other points. Parallel interpenetrating
structure is the
challenge. Yet for some reason, everyone has said computers are hierarchical. Why are they
hierarchical because we made them that way. Hierarchy is something that came down to us from
military organizations in the Catholic Church mostly. I was told by one scholar that the reason that
Aquinas was backed with the Catholic Church was some yabba-dabba, ding-dong fight. The point is that
we have fetishized hierarchy as a kind of structure, thinking that this is a real structure, which
is preposterous. It is a degenerate, trivial case, at which we have attempted to force everything
else. The whole point is to deal with parallel interpenetrating structures, and allow hierarchy,
sequence, and tables. The three structures we are allowed on computers. To allow those three to be
the trivial cases they really are and to deal with the hard stuff. To allow this trivial thing and
saying that it is the real thing, and convincing the world that it is the real thing has been an
astounding snow job.
Let me talk about what I am working on now. First of all, the Xanadu
88 source is available, Roger
is working on it. We want to get this out there and we want people to use it. Let me say a couple of
things about how that's built, we have now disclosed as much as we have time for, of the secrets.
They are now no longer officially secret. A structure that I came up with some friends in 1972 was
essentially a tree structure with parameters which either made it upward or imposed downward. The
infalaid theory was discovered by Roger, and Mark Miller, and Stewart Green in 1979 led to the
design of the Udanax Green Software. That software was built on three falaids. The grand falaid in
which you have a summative count of characters upward, which essentially keeps track of the entire
universe of structure as mapped into our linear dress space that is based on transfixed arithmetic.
Both of which Roger and Mark have in their background. At the address of each version of a document
is another inflaid structure called a punfalaid. Or a permutation order of matrixes infalaid. Which
essentially is a permutation matrix intumbler spans of the current position of every character or
element in that version of the document. The third inflalaid structure essentially the spanfalaid is
the second same structure mapped to find all of the overlaps in the grand address specs. This is
extremely radical stuff, it was when they discovered it twenty years ago, still is. It basically
works. This is of great interest to those of you who want to deal with huge address structures, and
who want to deal with large scale overlap and permeation.
What I am doing now is a little different. I am interested in both in
the problem of document, but
also in the original dream of computers. As I saw it, and as many people saw it. I saw computers as
a way of organizing many things. Nobody can organize their lives on a computer unless they have
incredibly simple lives, and spend a hell of a lot of time using the existing rotten stupid tool. My
colleague at KO University, Professor Umigaki, comes to me with a project he calls hyper-genealogy.
He wants to chart the history of the Meiji Era in Japan. Who met who, and when? What the different
meetings were about. He said that the data base guy said to him, oh you need to decide in advance
what all of your fields are going to be. That is how it is in the data base world, you have to
decide all of that in advance. I guess that's how they feel about theirs. For some of us, ideas keep
changing. You have to be able to change those fields all the time. That is where the data base guys
get off the boat. They still get paid handsomely enough, so they aren't about to change that model.
Same goes for everything else. Word Processing is the most trivial and degenerate operation anyone
could imagine. MIDI is a geeks notion of music because you look at the notation, and you go bombidy,
bombidy, bombidy, down that notation and there it is, music, just like it says on the notation. In
other words mistaking the superficial appearance of what that notion appears to contain, for all
that it contains. Where as musical notion as seen by those who really know it contains all kinds of
meta structures that are blossoming out of it that are not visible to the only slightly frank.
Similarly, the problem about writing, is about re-writing. Especially
re-writing.... if you are
doing a novel, a book of history, an encyclopedia, the issue is not the fiddly little stuff you can
do on a small window on the screen. The issue is how to massively rearrange, and keep track of large
pieces of content. Anybody who has done this, knows it has nothing to do with word processing, as
presently constituted. It has to do with being able to find all of the pieces. Being able to keep
track of where they were in previous documents and rearrange them. I have an extreme grudge against
both the parties and the Macintosh Team. When they came out with the Macintosh, they also ruined two
holy words. My first job was as a copy boy for the New York Times. Between my first and second years
of college. The very first thing I would do every morning would be to fill the paste pots. What did
you do with the paste pots? You cut and you pasted. What did that mean? It meant taking a draft, and
cutting it, and taking all of the pieces in front of you on the table. Then saying this should go
here, that is probably the best lead.....getting the sequence of materials as a parallel
consideration of all of the parts. Looking at them simultaneously. Then using physical paste to put
them in order. This process was used by everybody. According to one source, Tolstoy would cut up his
manuscripts and he would leave them along. He would make two copies. His two daughters would take
his dictation, then he'd save one for the file. Then cut up the other and leave all of the pieces of
it all over the floor of his dacha, as he walked into the woods he'd call back. Don't touch my
noodles. This was cut and paste as it has been carried on by time by serious writers. So what did
they do when they devised an abdominal mechanism for transporting stuff between one application to
another. A place where you would put things of which you couldn't see the contents, and which would
destroy what ever was previously there if you had forgot that there was something there. Why did
they call it a clipboard? Except for it resembled a clipboard in every respect except you could
couldn't see it and it would destroy it, the things that were there before. Unfortunately now, there
are no other respects.
Instead of calling these functions hide and plug, which would have been
neutral terminology or
slightly less neutral terminology with the keys that are conventional control C, control V, for cram
and vomit. They call these things cut and paste. I have said for some years said that whoever chose
those words should be hanged, because that is one of the principle social atrocities in the 20th
Century. The fact that millions of people loose their valuable content every year because the phone
rings or for some other dam reason because this brain dead mechanism screws up. Larry Testly says it
Engelbart: No. No. That was floating around in the sixties before.
Nelson: You shall walk in peace. I do think it is a horrible thing.
May weigh heavily in your
conscience always. So, the real problem is how to create parallel mechanisms for the deep
consideration of alternative structure. That is what we have to deal with. I think I had some blood
points to get to so let me fire them off. This is my notion of what a text editor should look like.
Slide: Software Philosophy
Nelson: You are always going from a previous version to the next version
and you want to see where
the content came from. Here you have a document called Software Philosophy Long Version. And you
pull across the paragraph, and you see a stripe showing its origin. Which remains in place, as shown
here, showing you where it came from. Now I showed that to my distant cousin....and she said yes
that is what I want. She says he is the one who refuses to use computers. This is what writers want.
A lot of writers. This is what I want as a writer, and this is denied to us because of the simple
mechanisms that we are forced to use. Let me show you my 1965 version of that just for historical
interest. This was the original sketch that I did for my paper for the ACM in 1965. Each of these is
meant to be one long, vertical document.
Nelson: This shows some of the elements are the same, transcluded, and
this shows that they are
merely linked. That is a more slightly abstracted view. The point is that we need to be able to see
the connection among structures and that this is the principal thing that is missing. What I am
trying to do now is start over. I believe that we must start over, that there is no way whatever to
get to where we should be from where we are except by an extremely radical start. So for the last
thrifty in ever escalating outrage as the personal computer revolution took it's toll. I've been
trying to figure out where the hell to start given that there were only tools which look you into
somebody else's paradigm. There was nothing that you can do that doesn't lock you in to some place.
Yes, you can do all kinds of things in director, and you can build your own web browser in director,
but now you are stuck with that. You can go over to Microsoft classes. You can do things with
databases. Nothing can not be the center. But on the other hand, every one of these centers is
completely freighted with the existing paradigm of file structures, big named lumps that you are
stuck with. Application prisons owned by individual companies. The X Windows, that is exactly the
same. The difference between the X Windows, and the Macintosh and the PC as far as I am concerned is
like the difference between chimpanzee and human DNA. Inconsequential. So, the real point is how to
find out how we grow wings. Not how we make another chimp.
We can't get there from here. You can't bolt wings on to a car and make
it fly. Where is the
fulcrum? Give me a fulcrum and I'll a lever long enough and I will move the world. So, I think that
I have found a good fulcrum. If we can find a structure from which all of the other structures can
be constructed. It is this multi-dimensional structure that I am toying with, calling it the Cahoot.
Which allows objects to be referenced at all penetrating levels. After the prototype was built my
Andrew Pen of Australia, I have a few boot floppies with me, a young post-doc in Finland, Jay Luca,
has caught fire on it and is now working on a version at Souceforge.net entitled GZZ for Gzig Zag
which will be open source. On top of this, I have designed a system which I call floating world.
Floating World is intended to be a alternative universe for the computer user who has files,
application, and all of the other furniture of our perverted computer universe, can be discarded in
favor of an interpenetrating universe of structures, documents, and programs, which are special in N
and a half dimensions. Which allow beginners to program and build their own environments? We hope to
leverage some of the powers of the extraordinary power 3-D boards to give us three-dimensional views
of these structures. Of course three being any three out of N at a time. The first Gzig Zag
conference is scheduled tentatively for Finland this October. I should also add that any university
students wanting credit for work on this system are welcome at Uvascula University. It is only three
and a half hours north of Helsake by train. It has got some fine restaurants and some fine people.
To wrap up we have a core of structure of which we may build a new cosmology.
Engelbart: How do people learn about it?
Nelson: You can go to Xanadu.com/gzigzag. Unfortunately some of the
links are broken there. I have
not had time to fix them. WE are continually post new things.
Engelbart: Well can we cut and paste on them? Well I thank you.