[unrev-II] Communication, Intelligence Require Research

From: Rod Welch (rowelch@attglobal.net)
Date: Wed Oct 10 2001 - 15:12:37 PDT

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    Glad I am not the only one frustrated by call routing. I try to avoid yelling,
    but have taken to pressing 0, # * anything to get a person on the phone, who can
    perform the "librarian" function you described in your first letter.

    I am not sure we solve the problem of communication by giving up on clicking on
    links, as some would have it. Your proposal to make a judgment based on context
    sounds useful. What is most evident from your letter below is that experience,
    research, training and transitioning on making the best use of new tools and
    methods would be helpful.

    You may recall we discussed a concept of command and control of the record in
    our meeting on 000517.....


    If there is enough time to click on the above link, it shows that "Command and
    Control of the record" incorporates your call for "context" management.

    A lot of frustration arises with links because people lack command and control,
    as related on 000517, and in POIMS. Daily experience encountering thousands of
    links, and feeling comfortable, indeed "empowered," deciding which to open and
    which to ignore by determining relevance to objectives, requirements and
    commitments. As you say, context is the critical ingredient. On any given day,
    we only open at most .1% of the links available, because the others are
    irrelevant to tasks at hand. But the next day, different links are needed, and
    so become powerful paths into knowledge of cause and effect that impacts current
    context. So, being able to command and control this environment that replicates
    in useful ways the web of connections in human thought, and using a variety of
    tools to solve the problem of meaning drift that burdens human biology, may
    provide part of the answer on improving communication, which worries many.

    Indeed, Peter Drucker says people have given up trying to improve communication
    because it is too complex. As you have discovered, opening a link into SDS
    reveals a lot of complexity, like looking into the subconscious memory that
    stores links to a lifetime of history. Somehow, the human mind exercises
    command and control that makes us comfortable with the complexity of our lives,
    and that method needs to be deployed more widely to manage context, as you

    So, rather than give up, we need to experiment, struggle and provide feedback
    for improvement, because experience is the only path to progress. It may be
    that only funding a big research program to pay folks to click on a few links
    can develop the feedback needed to move forward. In any case, your input is



    Eric Armstrong wrote:
    > Rod Welch wrote:
    > > ... (I) wonder if you can explain what more can be done to make
    > > communication clear,
    > > concise and complete, beyond empowering people with access to context
    > > that is
    > > accessible at their time and convenience, and is summarized and linked
    > > to
    > > relevant details, emulating the architecture of human thought, and how
    > > a system
    > > of "ratings" can be applied to links that takes less time and
    > > expense? How does
    > > the mind rate its connections?
    > First, I commiserate with you on the "routing" systems. I just called
    > Sprint PCS to complain that
    > callers were not being given the opportunity to leave a voice mail. I
    > was greeted by a voice-activated
    > routing system that had no option for reporting problems, and no option
    > for contacting a person.
    > I wound up screaming at it in frustration, cutting off its every attempt
    > to give me another prompt
    > (I'd heard 30 of them, by that time), until at last it delivered me to a
    > human being who had enough
    > intelligence to deal with the issue constructively. I have rarely been
    > so frustrated.
    > As for what people can do to improve communication: The first rule of
    > sales is to answer the question,
    > "why do I care?". Posting a link is nice. I won't visit it. Summarizing
    > what is in the link is helpful.
    > If I happen to see a connection between what's been posted and what I'm
    > working on, I may choose
    > to visit it. But if someone really thinks a link is good, it needs a
    > summary of "why we care" -- what
    > good its going to do us, how we're going to use it, etc.
    > In other words, a link is only as good as the surrounding information
    > that tells me whether or not
    > is worth the time to follow it. There are various ways to do that. One
    > way is with typed links, that
    > would display differently, or perhaps have a little explanation when I
    > hover over the link, so I know
    > whether the material is reference, or argument, or what have you.
    > Another way is with the text
    > surrounding the link, as in "For more information, see xxx."
    > In general, I see the man/machine interaction systems as the most likely
    > to produce useful results.
    > I don't think we spend near enough time designing those kinds of
    > systems. Most are either all
    > one way, or all the other.
    > I wish there were an opportunity for me to focus more effort in this
    > area. There isn't. The best
    > I can do at this juncture is to outline the big picture, as I see it.
    > Everything that has usable
    > results provides useful design principles for the eventual "solution". I
    > need to make time to look
    > at Alex's stuff more closely. I'm sure he has incorporated several good
    > ideas, based on his
    > posts. I look forward to discovering what they are.
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