Scalable improvement infrastructures
Douglas C. Engelbart. 1.*
- unedited transcript -
Welcome to session seven of the "unfinished revolution". That is mankind's unfinished revolution. It is not Doug Engelbart's Revolution. This session we have labeled it Scaleable Improvement Infrastructures. This session we will talk about a number of ways of scalability and what scale itself means
We have four speakers that are going to populate some of the domains about the scaling issue. We'll have a good discussion at the end of that.
You may remember that during our first session we had a presentation
about the millennium project, the thing about the United Nations University
that they sponsor. There they pointed out after three or four years of
work with collective people around the world, they evolved fifteen grand
challenges that mankind is facing at the beginning of the millennium. Any
one of those you can plainly see that it will talk a huge collection of
people to be involved in finding a solution. That was done on purpose
to put that out there.
We know that none of us is equipped right now to take care of that. If there is going to be a meaningful strategy that will get mankind ready, you have to have a strategy that can climb towards handling that kind of scale. So, I want to review the aspects of scaling that we talk about. We will go through a number of talks that have some relevance to it. I'll try and tie in the relevance, or maybe I will leave it up to the speaker. This "Unfinished Revolution", the only assumption that I can make is that it cannot succeed unless there is a strategic approach that is appropriate for handling the scale.
We want to
talk about these different issues of scale. Multi-dimensional challenges
means that they don't involve a large this, but a large this and this,
all coordinated in their complexity and size. It is a very large-scale
issue when you combine a lot of large-scale things in an interactive
process. We will talk about the different dimensions that you will address
the scalability with.
One dimensions is detail. From detailed attention to more effective symbolic representation of our concepts. To keep things, I found some really interesting communities out there that have been dealing since the turn of the century and beyond about the ways, which our conceptual machine better folds, its self around the symbols and arguments that are there. We have options with the technology, to really interface much more effectively what the very bare bones capabilities that we humans have.
Another dimension is organizational size. That is the one that people
usually look at. The detail goes from very detailed that's how the human
is working. That is cognitive and sensory, perceptual, and emotional. That
is the bigger part of your brain works as things that you are unconscious
with. That all factors into the things. Then the dimensional organizational
size. All the way from key individuals all the way to the biggest collection
of parties that have to deal with carefully complex problems in an
international setting. So, the scale of the number of people involved has
to pass and operate at every scale level in-between. As well as every
level of the detail in the human process on the way up to the group process.
There is another one, scaling the dimensions of time. Some things are slow and complex to deal with. Other things are complex and there isn't much time. So, the time scale is another factor. It's all those kinds of scales that if humans are going to be able to develop their collective capabilities much more effectively to deal with their complex urgent problems. It has to handle the type of scaling that we are talking about here. So, the strategy about that is that you have to start some place. The framework that we have evolved is that you start with something that you can get a hold of and you have to have an evolutionary strategy about it that can gradually handle more and more of the scope that you are dealing with. This is what perplexes some people when you talk about the changes in the software, the tool system. Some changes are important to inaugurate early because they will make a big difference in how you can do the co-evolution of other things that have to be evolved. At the same time, we have found a small group of people in technology who want to do something. That's great. Build that up. They have to be balanced by people who are starting to grow that are dealing with other factors like the human system. The methods, conventions, and the roles that go on inside the organizations that has to get involved by people that are interested in evolving better ways in those factors. So they are already co-evolving. So that getting an environment for co-evolution is a very key thing that might be done earliest with not very many communities learning how to do it. But picking those communities is a very strategic.
The question of scaling. I had a marvelous experience in the fifties
of being in a project. I wanted to a study on the dimensional scaling and
electronic components. I didn't know much about it, but I knew that there
were get smaller and smaller so what would happen. I uncovered things in
the world of physics and biology that were really interesting. One
of the things that just did me in good status was the surprise that are
they're when you witness changes in scale and the things that you
are familiar with.
Here's a little test. Suppose this room and anything in it and everyone in it suddenly scaled up and was magically increased in size by a factor of 10 in each of the three dimensions. So, you ask these questions.
Would you notice? How many people think that they would notice? What would you notice? He's ten times farther away, but he is ten times taller so that is the same angle visually. What would you notice? The other question is would you be surprised at all the things that would happen? Here's what would happen, you are ten times wider, thicker, taller, that means that you are a thousand times the volume. That means that you would weigh a thousand times as much. How much stronger are you? That would depend on the cross sectional area between your muscles and bones. So, you are only hundred times stronger, for weighing a thousand times as much. This is a disadvantage, which is you suddenly weigh ten times as much as you do now. So, that would be a little trouble. Your chair would break too, because it is not built for that. So, you would want someone to come and help you. But who? Then you would have trouble breathing. How much more metabolism would you have, a thousand times. I thousand times the amount of oxygen you would need. How much would the surface area of your lungs increase, a hundred times? Ten to one deficiency there. Would your heart be able to handle the blood flow? So, the thing is that you are designed for the human scale. Many people when they go through the example, they are jolted.
There are other exercises. What is the tallest tree in the world? Why aren't their taller ones? That is scaling too.
You look at little creatures, and that is very interesting. A squirrel can go running over a tree trunk then out to a limb and then jump twenty feet. If I ran up something that fast I would be out of breathe. The smaller that you are, the less the gravity affects you. That is why a mosquito can operate on such small legs. Also, it needs little effort against the air to fly. How does dust fly through the sky? Gravity doesn't mean much to them compared to being buffed by air molecules that are floating around.
So, if we are used to organizations that are given size and given intensity of activity then the scale begins to change.
So there are many factors inside the relations that go on and the dynamics of it. That has to be reconsidered. The scales that are coming about they just wont be the same.
The sooner we can get smart about perceiving what is likely to happen
with those scaling factors, the sooner we have the chance of adapting.
If we do our adapting to the technology in these interesting ways about
it. Assume things that things are always going to be the same, you know
E-commerce. We are beginning to find a few little things that are
popping up. That the governors are saying, how do we tax these E businesses
that are scattered around the world? There are changes there, the
first little ripples.
For lesser changes of scale, unsurprising quantitative effects are experienced in related characteristics.
For larger scale changes, qualitative effects will be experienced. For
further scale changes, you should expect to be surprised.
We should expect multidimensional surprises because we are changing in compound component dimensions. Compounded increases in complexity, in more than a few cases of serious problems, should be handled collectively, often by new collations. So, we have challenges. So, we will come back to one of my favorite diagrams of all.
This represents the human organization and it's infrastructure capabilities. What those capabilities depend upon in the way of technology and artifacts. In the way of individuals perceptions and motor capabilities.
All of these things that are paradigms, augment the people. It has been that way since we first started operating as families and tribes. It is growing more and more so the eruption on the right hand side is going to cause a lot of changes. It just there is no way that is going to automate the things that you used to do inside this capability infrastructure. When lower order capabilities get something enhanced that means that you can redesign the way that you do a high order one. It can be redesigned anyways because it can use the technology correctly. Change is over here. It is the co-evolution of a lot of what is in the capability infrastructure that depends on changes in the technology map and the changes in the way people think, work, and see things, etc. That sort of change has been going on slowly that is unrecognized. But it is going to go much faster. One of things to look at today is if this organization represents a professional society. It has a lot of interesting to it. If this represents the state of California, it has a lot of it has a lot more things to be concerned about. What about a great multinational corporation? That is a different structure of capabilities, etc. In the end down on a certain level, they depend upon a lot of the same kind of things. The interoperation of all of these organizations around the world is totally critical for the society to work, depends upon things that go on at the lower levels.
Today we will have some examples of people talking about some of the technological things, policy issues, and things that are changing. Should it be a surprise that it represents new challenges? No. What are the processes and capabilities with in society that establish new policies? My Japanese friend is going to talk about a whole country. So, we are interested in scaling so that in the end you cannot only talk about countries but on a global scale as well.
So we also looked at this dynamic depository structure in that every organizational unit is, in a sense, is going to have this computer supported dynamic process. These are the three major components (slide). That the knowledge product is something that dynamically is kept up to date. As if it were an encyclopedia. That at any given time will explain to you what you need to know about the current given state is of the applicable knowledge of your organizations. As it scales up, you see not only does the big organization have one that is bigger, and more complex, but also it is composed a lot of others. Each of those independently has to have it's own operating dynamic knowledge depository. These things are evolving concurrently and integrated, interactively coordinated. So, that is a real challenge. So things like that put down requirements on the technologies, processes, and methods that are being employed. The only way that it is going to happen is to have an open system for evolving the standards for which your knowledge containers embody your knowledge. By which people can interact and integrate those things across an organization. There is no way in which a monopolistic marketplace will be able to handle such a thing.
These are all issues that come from my assessment and analysis though the years. I look forward to having some dialogue consistent with some people who are spending a fair amount of time thinking through this kind of thing, with their background of experience from their organizations. Then we also saw that improvement infrastructure you can get the A, B, C way of looking at it.
And identify that the tool system and human system exploding. We have a frontier like this a clustering of today's society, where they fit in some sort of level of tool system utilization and human system sophistication. The tool system has just exploded in the horizontal direction, you get this large frontier. It would be to get people doing scenarios and dialogues about the extent of the frontier. How it is greater and more challenging it is then anything anyone society has had to faced before. And what that challenge is. These are important things.
The idea that with in any capability infrastructure that is where you would plant the capability to improve itself. With the organizations as they are having to move up stream. Get higher and spend more money, etc. We also need people working through this to get the value proposition based upon any given organization. If you don't spend more attention looking ahead and trying to steer your way into the future, you are going to get lost, left behind.
We talked about improvement communities that are networking together
and acting smart. We called them NICs. We talked about the fact that NICs
need improvement too. They cluster together into a MetaNIC. These are all
things that part of looking for a strategy that has scalability to it.
Bootstrapping technology policy: Copyright
Barbara Simons, President of the Association of Computing Machinery
I really enjoyed listening to that, I think in the future that is an example of things that are complex. What are the communities of stakeholders in that, which should be involved in that? How can we provide better means for them to have discussions to go through the issues, and then understand them better? Then go through something of deciding the nature of those things. Next, I would like to bring in Allen Cox. He is executive director for the executive event for the government of technology.
e.Republic: An improvement community in progress
Alan Cox, Executive Director of Events, Government Technology
A challenge now is get them to ask questions to each other. It is clear that improvement is going to happen. What aspects of the improvement challenge improvement communities and NICs how would they have to grow in effectiveness before they would actually support the kind of things you see? Challenge each other.
Audience: You talked about the combined databases for law enforcement and I was thinking about privacy. I am wondering to what extent the people that are dealing with these issues are concerned with privacy and how they are trying to build that into the whole structure.
Cox: Clearly from the government point of view there are a couple issues of how they are dealing with in providing information electronically. One they are mandated programs that the legislature has met. The poly class is one where section predator information is on the Internet from a law enforcement agency. You also have the issue of person's records, someone who has been accused of a crime and is moving through the correctional system in a particular way. If there are two different systems, there are very private intranets that the government runs up and down the state for law enforcement. There are also more public things on the other side of the firewall so to speak for the more public information. It is an issue that policy makers are trying to talk about. Security and privacy issues are topics at every one of the conferences and executive level events that I conduct. From a variety of different ways. Normally we get involved with moderated panel discussions in this area. Yes, policy makers do talk about this, it is something that we spend a considerable amount of time researching and writing about.
Audience: Given your positions, which communities would you suggest would start with the greatest bootstrapping gain? This is hard to define, but which would be your pet immunities if you had a choice.
Cox: I see a ruin in the education community in general in how we educate children in general. In terms of being able to find collective success all over the world that gets lost at the teacher level. The educational community needs to look at what they are doing and how they are doing it, to improve on the process of education.
Simons: My interest is the technological community; those are the people I am trying to reach. Policy is one, which is important because it can framework discussions. In addition, I would like to see more educational involvement, like K-12. If we could use our technological infrastructure to teach others in education knowledge that would be beneficial. It is hard for the schools to get people that are familiar with technology and computing to teach. I think this is terrible, and would like to see fundamental changes in education in this country. Since I am not in a position to do that, maybe I can harness some of the energy and enthusiasm in the technological community.
Audience: Are your respective organizations concerned with how you quantify the improvements that you are effecting on your particular areas? If so, what sort of things do you do to try and quantify that?
Simons: If you are working on policy, it is very hard to quantify. It's not like we are a lobbying organization. We are focused on educate our policy makers, members, and public. If you do something like that, it is hard to measure. Bad legislation sometimes gets passed, but that does not mean that we did not have some kind of impact.
If you had any ideas, I would be interested.
Cox: For a publishing company it is hard to measure the success of what you write. It is hard for us to measure the changes in the use of technology and government, and the level of understanding that an elected official will have. The only way we can do that is when our readers will e-mail us or send letters to the editors. It is the feed back that we get that tells us if we are helping people and serving their interest. That is really the only way that we quantify what we do. Over time, at our meetings and at our conferences we see growing numbers of people that attend and the shifting of the focus of the event from an educational point of view. So we know we are interesting and people are coming back for more information. It is hard to measure if we are having a profound impact of govt.
Audience: Taking a look at he Palo Alto and Menlo Park pollution control issue. If you look 20 30 yr. down the line, and you could have any technology that you wanted, what would the system look like that would let the Menlo Park people interact with the Palo Alto peoples information, add to it and improve it, that would reach the best decision.
Cox: I don't see a technology that can address that. But the "rise of the region state", if you will, is having boundaries become less meaningful to government organizations, from city to city in a large metropolitan area. So, what makes the most sense for the region is considered. There are a lot of groups that work in that way. Instead of a technology, it is a human tool of collaboration that would evolve here and make the most sense and change things. The technology can be applied anywhere, but it is how well the people can work together and collectively use the technology that will help solve that problem.
Audience: So you are saying to redefine boundaries to solve problems flexibly.
Audience: Speaking of government software and copyrights, in the past there was a government exemption to copyrights. There was a case where a law enforcement agency took software that a company had written and distributed it and sold it internationally. It seems to be a barrier to have commercial input to that sort of thing.
Cox: I think I remember the case that you were talking about, although I am not that familiar with it. On a related topic, I do know that the federal government cannot copyright its own material. Some of the state governments can though by law. So any reports that are published by the federal government are not copyrighted, so anyone can copy and publish them. Which I think is a good thing because it is paid for by our tax dollars. At the federal and state levels both, sometimes they contract out to a private organization to produce a study, then it can be copyrighted. Some info that we may feel that we have a right to free, we have to pay for. As an example, West publishing publishes the legal decisions. It is standard for lawyers to refer to legal cases by the volume and page number by West. It is my understanding that it is very costly to get these volumes. It seems like a possible thing for these things to be on the net. Have the courts to publish on the net. The data base bill is an effort being sponsored by West and other companies to copyright facts for the first time.
There was a case that determined that the phone book could not be copyrighted. It is a collection of information that is not creative. Copyright is to encourage creativity, rather than the sweat of the brow. That is why in Palo Alto we get many phone books, because it is not copyrighted. It is the reason that the data base bill is being pushed. As in the copyright bill, there are two competing bills. One takes a stand like the copyright bill, and that is a push is to make everything illegal. The other tries to take another approach, are you trying to infringe, am I stealing all of your work.
Time is running out. Thank you very much.
- Break -
after the break. I am torn with in trying to develop a framework. It is
going to have to be a framework that can accommodate and integrate the
things that we are doing today. It is very hard for me to do that with
out dropping in the details that will bore people. So, this is an
experiment. One of the things I tell people is that we need people that
can come as fellows from these different environments, and we can co-habit
for two or three months and working on this together. We can take
these things that people are working on and we can piece them together
in a framework of details. What would you do? You look at the complexity
of the things that they are offering and suggesting, and you know that
you are going to have to find a strategic approach in order to get
things moving. I will pick up in Bootstrapping the strategy, that all by
themselves that don't grab people, it takes some fitting together.
I will pick up in talking and then we will have more speakers.
This business of the co-evolution it's just a very real, basic thing.
In order to co-evolve the kind of capabilities that we are talking about,
it is going to have to be a number of proactive communities who are doing
their work with new and evolving tools, conventions, dialogue practices,
knowledge sharing policies, collaboration generation of both next stage
and long range evolution. These have to be the organizations that are trying
to move out of that frontier. So, that is what we have to find and
recruit those. Then in another level, we have to start learning what it
is that works integrate that. Among the innovative tools and processes,
can we try to cross feed these things? To show the different comminutes
are possible and let them choose and move with the best visibility
they can have of what other communities offer. The whole domain of government
at all different levels is going to be a challenging one. The complexity
of the world is going to demand that all those infrastructures are going
to have to get better and better at doing the job. The job is going
to be moving faster at more complexity. It is a very rich need. We will
ask you next week what the solutions are. The coactive user community
You are going to have to have better sharing, co-operative effectiveness, attitudes, spirit, bonding and work practices. It isn't my job right now, if someone is engaging to define a job that I am going to do as part of the improvement. People don't define it very well. Communities are built up and they need to cultivate a co-operational way of doing it. It may run against the culture from which they come. In the government domains, it may be less of a problem than in business. There are still a lot of details there, so I hesitate to bet on that every much. The sort of thing that we need to look at are the new capabilities for doing the collaborative work that are going to depend on enhancing what these electronic documents contain and the properties that you use, and they way you employ it. We keep getting hit about dragging into the technology side of it. It is what is going to make the capabilities grow. That is going to have to co-evolve with the other practices. There are some people who don't want to talk about the technology. But I don't want to talk about the books and pages. I don't want to talk about the footnotes. Those equivalents are going to be important in the tool systems that they're going to apply. They will be very important in learning how to fly. The people who are interesting in the details are going to start recognizing the ideas and processes that people are going to employ are going to be very real these people have ideas of what is going to shift and are going to be suggesting, could your technology do this. That is the co-evolution that we are going to have. When we get the example of some people describing the problems. We just have to realize that the hope for this is going to come from getting pro-active co-evolution going. That is what it is going to take. Here is an example on the document, properties, technology and capabilities.
Your are going to need capability evolution comminutes, the ones that
really want to use it. They are going to have to be watching and evolving
their human system aspects. It also need that you are going to have to
do the development integration and the application going on of the
open source tools and the standards for how the document structure goes,
and the dynamic knowledge base that is going to be describing this. What
importance that you give the focus of this is going to be a strategic issue?
The very first on will be on the dynamic knowledge base of how you develop
dynamic knowledge bases. Then how you develop communities that work together.
Then gradually spread out to the rest of the world. Unless you get
a nucleus like this working, you are going to have a hard time doing much
effective co-evolution out in the big world. I wonder if I would do better
on a bible tour or something. The issues about the human system evolving
we have people coming about the technology and tool system, etc. I don't
want them to say "Hey you are ignoring this". How do we start getting
ideas how the human side can get better? How can we specify better what
they can do so they can better use what they have now evolving their
tools better than they are now and be a real proactive partner in evolving
the tools while they are doing their job.
That is what it is going to take, people from a number of representing comminutes that have to be involved in this will be brought together in some of the early take off. Which communities that needs to be encouraged to get together. Where can you find them that are willing and the resource and interest? On the other hand, some would be more effective in the early evolution. So now, we come to Jon Bosak.
Government: The killer app?
Jon Bosak, Sun Microsystems
That makes a great environment for the rest of the problem, and then you have your procedural actions cleared up and organized. Then you better environment to take up all of the knowledge that you are going to have to develop about the changing world and handle that too. I just donated a slide here; you can go take a look. It is interesting to hear this discussion it would make a good example it. It cleans up the way that the knowledge that you are going to put together and exercise to make decision. There also have to be a lot of careful compositions and designs and a lot of knew knowledge it is going to take to plot through problems, before you get to meaningful decision-making. It will be a huge marketplace for better collective knowledge development. So, it will just be very much fun to have that be part of the evolution. What we are going to do next is...He says just call him AKI. I met him two and a half years ago with Jeff Goldson. We were helping arrange meeting inside of Japan to see if people were interested in the bootstrap idea. So, a year ago last November they formed a Japanese chapter of the bootstrapping alliance. We are curious how it goes. Aki's chance to come by and visit is a good chance to say how are things in Japan and how are the chances of things in Japan going in a way that we can cooperate with better.
Bootstrap activities in Japan
Tatsuya Uyetani, President and CEO, Fuji Xerox Information Systems, Inc. and
Senior Vice-President, Fuji Xerox Co.
Co-organizer, Bootstrap Alliance, Japan
We have twenty minutes or so that we could use. The best thing would be to get some dialogue going.
Audience: Question for Jon. I think your ideas sounded very interesting to me. Two thoughts came to mind. Interface could be an issue. I could imagine if this kind of thing could work, the other thing would have parallelism, and having multiple things going on at the same time. And then if you have a problem with trying to figure the order or sequentialize it.
Bosak: I know what you are talking about. Basically it can't operate, here has to be a clock cycle where things are asynchronous. I think it is the cycle it takes between the time we are going to vote on something and the time it takes to finish voting. I can't see getting that period down about 48 if the process is going to involve the people who are traveling. So if I am going to be able to get on the plane for Tokyo get my things and get my mail and actually think about something. Typically, 48 hours is the min to get there. My observation about parallelism. If you study the traditional process, it is filled with very confusing terminology about four different classes of motions. Main motion, subsidiary, and a couple of other categories. What is really going on there is the traditional categories in Robert's separates out the ones that have to follow that clock cycle and are being voted on, debated and the ones that are undebatable. It is the undebatable ones that you would get little lag and do parallelism. Working out all of the details is something that has not been done yet. Interface, I'm not sure what you see the problem is.
Audience: I can see the automation or touring machine, how every you are going to model it. The part that is going in between the human and the model is what I have a hard time envisioning.
Bosak: The interface I have in mind is one in which the machine knows who you are as if you are ordering shoes. It knows what your past history is in that you can't second your own motion. At any moment, it would present you what the state is at the time. While there are some interface design decisions that need to be made about what is the best way to do that. They are all really old problems we are talking with presenting you is the same information that you would have been presented with a hundred or two hundred years ago. What is the motion, what is the text of the motion, are there amendments, what are the amendments, etc..... What you are talking about conveying the same in for you have now, plus this is the real benefit of the scheme if it works is it would show you through menus what you could do. What is legal to do at that point? The hardest part of the Robert's process is what you legally can do at any given point. It would be relatively easy as such things go, to give you menus only of things that as in order at that moment. The interface is the strongest part of the idea. The weakest part is how do you establish an agenda. I think that there are some pretty deep issues there.
Audience: This is for Jon. There are many organizations grappling with the idea how do use the Internet to debate public issues. The idea fits hand and glove with the issue that you are trying to grapple with. Right now I know that several government institution with in California have actually contacted with the woman voters to act as the moderating authority so to speak. I think you will have some very willing partners and I can name quite a few right now that would be interested talking to you about this because it is a situation that they are trying to figure out how you can handle and discuss these things in an open forum. The issues that you are going to run in to is the people who are not going to have the technology to implement this. It is very separate from what you are doing is how you are going to facilitate this. In you implementation, that is where you are going to run into your very visible barrier today.
Bosak: The Brown Act is familiar to all of us in California because it guarantees opens access to all the areas governments up and down the line. It actually under the Brown Act what I proposed is illegal. It forbids of any electronic means of communication. You cannot even hold a telephone conversation. Its effect is to limit access. It's like not being able to walk in. What I assert in a much longer paper that I refer to is that if this were properly designed if you could take into account the difficulty of actually physically getting to a meeting. You have a rising curve of the difficulty of physically getting to something and a falling curve of difficulty of getting to it on- line. At some point those things cross. While there will always be people who will not be able to get to it on-line just as there are now a lot of people who can't get there in person. At some point more people will actually then be given access by the on-line version then the people that are getting access through the in person version.
Audience: This is for Aki, in Japan It is my understanding that there is a very different relationship between government and private sector than in the U.S. That may be a false impression, but you can correct me. I am interested in what it will take to create the higher levels of the improvement community that you envisioned where you had businesses within themselves working to improve and now you are creating a call between businesses. What will it take to create more of a global approach that you envision? What will it take, what will it require and how can a group like this help you?
Aki: That is a good question. Anyway I can say we senior management in Japan, has to be needs to change through leadership qualities. Mostly Japanese attitude is bottom prepared all of the documents for the seniors. For example, if someone invited a talk, he doesn't talk by himself. That kind of attitude leaves a Japanese no right way. In U.S., most of management can talk and go his own way doing business in such a way. In Japan, it starting from the bottom going up takes time. We are loosing a lot of business time. We have to change. At some portion, we should think bottom up, but sometimes we need to take the top down approach. Especially the worldwide organizations.
Aki: If I may ask a Question for Aki. In my work, I have seen that there are more similarities between Japanese and U.S. styles. The Japanese style is changing more towards U.S. style and the U.S. style is changing more Japanese.
What is your perception on that?
Aki: I spend here three years and then some time in the U.S. structure. I think that this type of paradigm I am implementing in my small company right now. It's workable. Large Corporation takes a long time, over ten years. It goes over all of the infrastructure social security and medical care, based on age basis. Small company that paradigm.
Audience: My name is Neil Jacobstein. At the risk of being impolite, I would like to suggest that we do not have ten years to organize these types of activities. Ten years of calendar time is like seventy years of web time. Because of the acceleration thing we talked about earlier. That kind of thinking is going to lead us to a situation where we do not have the infrastructure to lead us to the changes that we want to see over the next ten years. So I guess my question for you is there an opportunity to accelerate the critical path. By calling on individuals in companies, perhaps individuals from quality interest groups. That are meeting outside of the walls of their institutions.
That are self-selected, that are interested and that can move quickly to accelerate the critical path.
Aki: I said ten years for the Japanese. I think we are talking to several key guys in each company. So we should have some interests groups, then we can act alike.
Audience: Actually this is perfect timing. I have been having mixed reaction to the series of presentations. On the one hand especially the first two my reaction is. Thank heavens that people are working with the policy and governmental folks. I don't mean that derogatory. This is complicated technology. It has not been around for a long time. Have trouble understanding this. As reporters try to cover these topics, they get it wrong. For any interesting process, there is someone who is upset. They think that this is news. For any there is going to be someone who is upset. A well documented procedures that have been developed over a long period of time. All of what is the difficult problem here is not putting the machinery in place, not educating the policy makers, but trying all of us to worry about perspective. The perceptive is that ten years is too long. The counter to that is we are thinking about changing institutions that have taken centuries to develop. Ten years is too short. The truth is both of my statements. I don't know how to reconcile that. Equally, and I have increasingly been sensitive to this we have the perspective for many reasons, that is really U.S. centric. We have forgotten, as much as we think we haven't how many other perspectives there are. So, Robert's Rules in Order for example or it's variant as well probably would work well in certain countries. Japan I would expect, very well, possibly in Germany. Maybe some other countries. I guarantee you inspire of the fact that it has some English a British back group in law, it won't work in Malaysia. It won't work in most of the world. I don't think it will work over here real well. There are some institutional processes that absolutely goes in line with Robert's Rules of Order, that is not where the real work gets done. That is where the final decision gets done. Hence, the thing that I found myself reacting down the line. I think each of the things that everyone of you have said is right if we take the view that it is a beginning point. Which we should look at as being wrong. Which to say is look at how does it not fit. It is a good base of reference, but the interest to come from it is to look for the ways that it is inaccurate. A simple example because it is the most precise, is instituting Robert's Rules of Order. Roberts vastly too mechanical for most human daily work, but it is a good starting point.
Panel: I was forced into looking at Robert's. I had to deal with it twenty years ago, and when I had to look it at again, it was with a sinking heart. What I have come to the conclusion after a couple of months dealing with this and figuring out the OASIS committee procedure, and so have the other people that are in some of the committees that I am on, that Robert's is essentially what you will get even if you start over, as long as what you are talking about is majority rules. This is the key. The cultures you are talking about that won_ 92t work and the situations you are talking about that won't work and the ones in which majority rule won't work. It isn't the machinery the machinery is what you will get over four hundred years as you explain all of the weird cases. What it all boils down to is that this is what falls out if you decide that you really are going to be ruled by majority, rather than consensus.
Audience: I am Ray Glocker. I had a comment that may be on the point of chaos in with regard to of the Roberts Rules of Order adaptation. First, I was fascinated by it and I want to make the distinction between legislative and policy thinking. I am calling it legislative to fit into the traditional thinking. And judicial or educated decisions. I am not limiting it to government. Just as you did not eliminate legislative decisions. The kinds of policy-making decisions of the organization that I am going to go to after this seminar. Similarly, educated or judicial does not only include courts, but administrative hearings, it would include disciplinary items on an agenda for a private organization. More at a meta level, I would like to say that legislative decisions is where we report to be making a decision about suspense and policy or prioritization between subsequent options. Judicial is being where we reporting to be applying given policy to a particular fact or individual or entity. That is the traditional approach to it. Now for the point of chaos. It is in the legislative decisions that have a numerical input whether it be strictly majority or some other numerical definition. That Robert's Rules of Order, or any other mechanistic procedure applies. One of the things in judicial kinds of proceeding one of the things that makes it a problem. Not necessarily, an unsolvable problem is now the very articulation of procedure becomes discretionary rather than mechanistic. The legislative context, you can look up the answer in the seven hundred-page books. In a judicial context, the judge is frequently are required to weigh as a discretionary matter whether the probative value of a particular piece of evidence outweighs the prejudicial impact of the fact finder. A thousand and one other discretionary decisions that strike me as not susceptible to the mechanisms that we are proposing.
Now the very point of chaos. And I got this from the Decanting Opinion of Justice Bannen and Magost vs. California for those of you who are legalists. A death penalty case. Where in reality, the legislative process places heavy reliance on the accumulation of judicial knowledge to inform its subsitive choices. There are many areas of policy where the legislative process recognizes that this is not something that should have a final formulation this week, this month, this year or even this decade, but choose to commit the substitutive issues to a judicial process to work out over time. Historically, we call it the common law we also delegate decisions like to the pubic utilities commission to the work out what is the good energy policy. That's all.
Thank you Neil, then Barbara.
Panel: I think it is easy to conflate two very different issues. One is the historical perceptive and futuristic. I would argue that Doug's is very long. Doug's impatience is great, I share that impatience. I think that we all have to have a great deal of impatience in putting some capacity infrastructure in place for dealing with some of the changes that we are going to see. That is very different then the perspective that we bring to the table. And the kind of issues that we want to look at, and how far into the future we want to look.
Barbara: Picking up on your impatience, I too have impatience, but it is my sense that you are up against human nature when you say that ten years is too long. I have heard talks on global warming that has scared the hell out of me and you wonder why are we not all out there trying to do something right away. We could be destroyed and no one is doing anything. We don't have a sense of urgency that we get from these scientific talks. I think what underlies all of this is we are very good about denial. We need to be good at denial because we couldn't go on existing in this world if we didn't have that ability. It is a survival skill, but it works against us in situations like this. And you need to overcome that if you are going to get a sense of urgency about something that is so abstract.
It is my understanding that the Nile is a river in Egypt.
Audience: I wanted to say that both of talks are exciting. I am interested in the possibility that as you develop the software to implement Roberts Rules of Order. Given that much of it is asynchronous and there are a lot of new alternatives that are available to you. Whether you can compliment a formal decision making process that that body of procedures was designed to address. With support for the consensus process the pulling off into small groups, having discourse, strengthening discourse, being able to reference the dynamic knowledge base and figure where in the Robert's Rules of Order it will be appropriate to step out of that formal process. And to these other processes. My second point is to also be able to look at other decision making processes from other cultures and their modes of ordering discourse and see where this can be implemented in the support process that you are developing. Engelbart: I like that. With all of my instincts of scales and evolution, there would be a lot of concurrent change going on. Let's get some mechanical support to the process and assume that there is going to be evolution. The rate at which people are going to have to put together and integrate the knowledge about issues has to go up at the same time. That is going to have to be meshed in to the processes that making decisions and upping the motions. It is going to be a great future in ten years.
Audience: You were talking about state machines, Jon. Usually when people talk about state machines, they mean finite state machine. These are revisionist. I don't think that we-every deliberate body infinite state machine even thought you may use a finite state matching to implement it. It has to be an infinite state machine.
Bosak: I was very careful not to say finite.
Audience: I've got a question about the proposal here, Jon. I like the idea of moving a physical meeting on-line. I think the proposal addresses that. I think that there are definitely questions about scale, like Doug just said. How do you scale it? I think that de-bugging it will have to happen, because you will be introducing a new domain that it will be taking place in. My main question is that you brought t up difficult problems like abortion and that are not misunderstanding problems, just difficult problems. Our normal Robert's Rules of Order meetings can't resolve this problem right now. I am wondering how this helps.
Bosak: They actually do, they do not solve this to the satisfaction of everybody, and they solve it to the satisfaction of the majority. Robert's is not something special, the rules of the House of Commons is not something special, they are what fall out when you say, given an otherwise irresolvable problem that we cannot achieve consensus we'll go with a majority. Once you make that one decision the rest just falls out of that.
Audience: What Jon is suggesting is a way of solving complex problems that it is hard to achieve a consensus on. What that Dave pointed out is that there is more than one way to do it. So the question is what other alternatives exist? The judicial decisions are a great concept because it automatically requires a knowledge depository. So, it seems to be a good model to attack. What are the things exist as procedures that we could possibly model?
Panel: I was not trying to say look at other models. What I was trying to say is as we try to move existing models into this environment we should be aware of the fact that they will not work as is. For that matter, the most important thing is that there are multiple models and we need to recognize the importance of variety and not get locked into one that is too ridged for where the real work gets don't I am appreciative that one of our speakers is not from the U.S. I raise the point that what works in one place, not only do we need a variety of mechanisms for a variety of tasks, but we also have a variety of cultures. The Internet brings them all together. Go figure what the right balance is.
Audience: I was inspired by Barbara's question to Jon about what is the interface. And Dave's reflection that there are some limitations to Robert's Rules Order. Which itself reminds me of a brick. Reminds me of de-augmentating the pencil by tying a brick to it. So there is a meeting that I had previously today by a company that is called web box that is a facilitator for corporate communications. For instance, they take the Sacramento municipal utilities commission and what is the corporate culture? They visualize this process and create these diagrams. What I see is that they are embodying what is the corporate culture of communication in to a fixed state. In fact, you can use this as a context where people create dialogue. Here is a situation which is a bureaucracy, I am not sure if majority rules. You can talk facilitators, the corporate culture which embodies a wide range of different forms of reaching a decision and embody that in terms of what is the representation visually and acting upon that visual as a context to create a dialogue. From there you can embody rules that allow people to interact based on the context. Here is a company that is facilitating the process.
We looked at Robert's Rules of Order that was written in the eighteen fifties. The family still owns the copyright because they keep updating it, so it brings and interesting conclusion.
Audience: I want to make an analogy to the whole question of genetic diversity when we talk about different models and how different groups work. That the Internet actually introduces, if we put the governance of Robert's Rules Order, and put it internationally then we loose the diversity and decision making in the way that different cultures do things. It might be the case that something comes along that where dictatorship is the right way for the world to survive. But we have lost that because the Internet has imposed say Robert's Rules of Order on all societies. There is parallel to the genetic diversity issue to this.
Bosak: Several people have mistaken what it is I am trying to say. I don't like Robert that well; I am not saying that we use it for everything. We should take the hundreds of thousands of organizations that legally operate under it and put them on-line.
That is the end of the broadcast. I have Ted Nelson coming in a few weeks. This CoDiak information about integration is some really interesting stuff. Thank you.
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