1) Bootstrapping Knowledge Representations: from entailment meshes via
semantic nets to learning webs
2) Webmind (http://www.intelligenesis.net/) whitepaper and test results
( http://www.intelligenesis.net/testResults/trpage.html): "Business
Intelligence extracted from unstructured text dramatically improves the
profitability of computer-based decision-making."
Re: FYI: Dr. Doug Engelbart's Open Source Code Initiatitive for
Collaborative Tools [Fwd: Some background OHS-reference links]
Date: Wed, 31 May 2000 14:19:35 -0600
From: Cliff Joslyn <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "John J. Deneen" <email@example.com>
At 11:16 PM 5/9/00 -0700, John J. Deneen wrote:
>Dear: Cliff Joslyn and Francis Heylighen,
>Let's discuss the synergies for open-source (XML-based) collaborative
tools, business development, and VC funding of projects of mutual
interests involving the Open Hyperdocument System (OHS) and Dynamic
Knowledge Repository (DKR) technologies developed by Dr. Engelbart!!!
Indeed. We've admired Engelbart's work for a long time.
I'm not currently participating in the VC world, but LANL has a strong
interest in modern knowledge management solutions and in examining
Distributed Knowledge Systems (DKS) from a scientific perspective.
If you haven't already, please glance at our links (below).
What's the best way to proceed?
| Cliff Joslyn, Member of the Technical Staff (Cybernetician at Large)
| Distributed Knowledge Systems Team, Computer Research Group (CIC-3)
| Los Alamos National Laboratory, Mail Stop B265, Los Alamos NM 87545
| firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.c3.lanl.gov/~joslyn (505) 667-9096
V All the world is biscuit-shaped. . .
* Bootstrap Summary:
THE UNFINISHED REVOLUTION
Try to imagine "personal" computing without the following:
* The mouse and pointer cursor
* Display editing
* Outline processing
* Multiple remote online users of a networked processor
* "Linking" and in-file object addressing
* Multiple windows
* Context-sensitive help
Dr. Doug Engelbart, the computer visionary who, three decades ago,
created the first computer mouse, wordprocessing, video conferencing,
and hyperlinking, suggested at a Stanford University held in his honor
that there is still a very long way to go before the computer revolution
is finished. "Companies tell me: 'We have a Web site and an Intranet.
We're already there.' I tell them: 'You're just using a wheelbarrow. You
haven't really started cultivating the wealth of what you can do.'" (San
Jose Mercury News 10 Dec 98)
Businesses worldwide spend almost $70 billion annually on software and
services to help them get the most out of digital information. Computers
are used to crunch massive amounts of numbers to find relationships that
companies can exploit for profit and competitive advantage. But only 10%
of the digital data in the world is structured in databases for use in
computers. Nearly 90% of the world’s digital information resides in
unstructured text – newswires, web-based periodicals and informational
services, documents, e-mails, etc.
The concern underlying this work is to assist people to participate
creatively and democratically and effectively in the evolution of large
organizations, -preferably evolution toward: more viable, more
ecologically responsible, more traditionally rooted, more enjoyable and
more productive systems. The difficulty is that much management and
organizational development normally depends on a sort of `magic'
possible in small groups, while adequate evolutionary innovation is at
least equally dependent on larger scale and deeper cybersystemic
understandings which tend to be at variance with team building by
charisma and managers' "magic".
There is now a new opportunity to achieve symbiosis between
scientifically based evolution and `magic'-management, an opportunity
which is provided by the combination of computer-mediated communication
technology, cybersystemic modeling, and emancipative discourse. The
strategy we have used is to get participants to conversationally model
their focal system in its' various organizational contexts, and also to
model themselves at least five systemic levels, so as to grasp new
possibilities for organizational development with both systemic
rationality AND charismatic/ritual magic. It's called Collective IQ.
Collective intelligence (collective IQ) is defined as the ability of a
group to solve more problems than its individual members. It is argued
that the obstacles created by individual cognitive limits and the
difficulty of coordination can be overcome by using a collective mental
map (CMM). A CMM is defined as an external memory with shared read/write
access, that rep-resents problem states, actions and preferences for
actions. It can be formalized as a weighted, directed graph. The
creation of a network of pheromone trails by ant colonies points us to
some basic mechanisms of CMM development: averaging of individual
preferences, amplification of weak links by positive feedback, and
integration of specialised sub-networks through division of labor.
Similar mechanisms can be used to transform the World-Wide Web into a
CMM, by supplementing it with weighted links. Two types of algorithms
are explored: 1) the co-occur-rence of links in web pages or user
selections can be used to compute a matrix of link strengths, thus
generalizing the technique of "collaborative filtering"; 2) learning web
rules extract information from a user’s sequential path through the web
in order to change link strengths and create new links. The resulting
weighted web can be used to facilitate problem-solving by suggesting
related links to the user, or, more powerfully, by supporting a software
agent that discovers relevant documents through spreading activation.
Cultural Symbiosis versus Catastrophe
Dr. Engelbart’s central concern is to help improve the quality of life,
the cultural symbiosis, and the culture-ecosystem symbiosis of people
working in and through large sociotechnical complexes.
This not an easy concern to operationalize. That is because the 'real'
actors are usually not the conventionally perceived entities, and the
real constraints are often un-recognized mutually-reinforcing nested
feedback loops. It seems that organisational evolution has always been
very much subject to the collective unconscious spirits of the times.
However, now, we have networked most of our little local endeavours into
one vast planet encompassing autopoietic machine which is evolving too
rapidly and turbulently for any conventional wisdom to be able to steer
Everywhere, there is a growing acceleration of change, and an
undercurrent of existential uncertainty, fear and violence which cannot
adequately be coped with by the mixture of myopic rationality and
ritualized magic that constitutes conventional management. This
intractable turbulent change is partly produced by technology
(commercial television and global telecommunications and jet transport
technology), and partly by the positive feedback loops inherent in
money-market systems, and partly by the human hyperfertility unleashed
by applied science.
Innovations are systemic changes that are good for most or all
stakeholders. Successful innovations are those which become firmly
implanted in their host community and which propagate to benefit others.
Educational technology is centrally about the design and evolution of
innovations in education and human resources.
There are obvious sources of failure with innovations notably : lack of
a suitable champion in high places, lack of troops-leading implementers
at the ground level, lack of the kind of sexi-ness which attracts
favorable publicity. Beyond such obvious causes of failure are much more
complex and subtle effects of communication channels and personal
character and peculiar rules of the local games.
A very frequent problem for middle managers is that the open
collaboration and trust-building required to field effective teams is
continually being sabotaged by dominative directives from distant &
necessarily ignorant head offices. To get at problems such as these and
circumvent them actually requires much more than merely insightful
ad-hoc diagnosis. We need a fully developed understanding of the nested
socio-technical control systems which are always involved. Moreover,
such an understanding is not directly available since much of the
crucial knowledge is tacit, has never been externalized by the
participants, -either from lack of a felt need, or because it is
considered to be magic-potency weakening, or because it is not
Perhaps the main point with respect to the feasibility of innovations is
that their situation is problematical; what are usually taken to be real
organisations that carry out innovations (schools churches,
corporations) are actually falsely-reified virtual organizations. While
some almost invisible entities that some might call `distributed virtual
organizations' or "meme-complexes" (Hofstadter) are the real co-causal
systems for innovation ,-and resistance to innovation.
Consequently if we want to improve organisational life and effectiveness
we need to make some effort to discern and model the real co-causal
systemic complexity in which we are embedded. This is not impossible,
though certainly it is not easy, to do.
* Next-step strategy: Improving improvement
Hyperlinks and GUIs were just the beginning. For Doug Engelbart,
knowledge management is the key to human-machine co-evolution.
"To address the collaborative deficiency, The Bootstrap Alliance has
devised an improvement infrastructure it has named Concurrently
Developing, Integrating and Applying Knowledge (CoDIAK). 'You can't
apply knowledge until you assimilate and learn it. Just managing it
without integrating it is also hard.'
So the next-step is a CoDIAK co-evolution of the THOUGHTSTICKER program
originally developed by the late Gordon Pask.
(http://www.c3.lanl.gov/~rocha/pask.html). Francis Heylighen
(http://pespmc1.vub.ac.be/HEYL.html) suggests in his paper
"Bootstrapping knowledge representations: from entailment meshes via
semantic nets to learning webs"
"Such an implementation at the planetary scale was probably not
envisaged by Gordon Pask. Yet, his conversational systems and the
present vision of an intelligent web share their view of knowledge as a
collective construction striving to achieve coherence, rather than a
mapping of external objects. By abandoning the correspondence
epistemology and its reliance on fixed primitives, bootstrapping
approaches open the way to a truly flexible, adaptive and creative
knowledge system. Of course, the systems sketched here are still in
their infancy, and need to be thoroughly tested under diverse
circumstances, and implemented on a sufficiently large scale to show
their practical usefulness. This will obviously require a very large
effort. I hope that the work of
Gordon Pask, myself and our colleagues will provide sufficient
inspiration for other researchers to take up these challenges."
* Use Case and Business Model
Webmind is a Java-based software system that evolves its own "digital
intuition," which it uses to pose and answer questions. It deals with
textual and numerical information on an equal footing, freely making
generalizations that span different types of data.
In the human mind, the memory continuously studies itself, reorganizing
to enhance recall of relevant topics, and inhibit that of less pertinent
information. Webmind works the same way, allowing collections of data to
self-organize and recognize patterns.
Webmind's architecture is that of a massively parallel network, a
population of many different static and dynamic information agents that
continually recompute their relationships to other agents and act
accordingly. Queries put to the system are transformed into agents that
can take advantage of Webmind's self-evolving structure to discover
context and concepts on behalf of users and their applications.
Webmind forms its own intuitions by dynamically "grounding" linguistic
concepts in terms of its own, non-linguistic, experience. So while
Webmind does not have a general intuitive understanding of our world, it
can make human knowledge a part of its own world, that of data and text
feeds. It is the first AI system to create concepts that apply across
these different contexts. This is the qualitative difference between
Webmind and other AI systems, and why Webmind has the potential to bring
AI beyond the role of a specialized adjunct to unintelligent computer
systems, and make it the heart of computing itself.
Webmind 1.0 (due for release in 2000) will incorporate the following
· Natural language based text retrieval ("search engine" type
· Prediction of numerical time series using textual information
· Prediction of a series of concepts
· Financial trading based on time series prediction
· Portfolio optimization and text-based volatility models
· Automatic categorization of textual and numerical data
· Real-time news and data feed processing
Webmind can be tailored to applications throughout the information
economy. Rather than tackle each market on its own, Intelligenesis will
create a network of joint ventures that team the company’s technological
edge with the market expertise of established leaders in such sectors
· Financial services
· Risk Management
· Online information services
· Enterprise software
· Managed network services
The company is also considering licensing customized
application-specific aspects of Webmind technology. In addition to these
revenue streams, Intelligenesis will pursue strategic partnerships with
major consulting firms interested in customizing Webmind technologies
for sale through their channels.
To learn more about how WebMind can raise the IQ of your application or
information-based service, please contact Lisa S. Pazer, President (
This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Wed Jun 07 2000 - 14:50:38 PDT