Re: [unrev-II] How DKR Penetration Will Be Achieved (PRIVATE)

From: Eric Armstrong (
Date: Sun Feb 27 2000 - 14:47:37 PST

From: Eric Armstrong <>

Henry van Eyken wrote:
> the thought struck me that
> penetration via the Internet might well be a DKR around the world's
> most urgent, complex problems
That was one of the things that struck me when Harry Rheingold was
talking about building online communities. In essence, online
communities provide an access mechanism for DKRs that stored between
people's ears.

Externalizing that DKR means finding a way to externalize important
parts of that DKR, so that the knowledge is instantiated in more
concrete form. Even then, I suspect that initial access mechanisms
will largely be "word of mouth". The query "how do I do X?" will go
out to 4,000 members of the communtiy and, with a good DKR, someone
with a good bookmark will send back the bookmark, rather than writing
a lengthy response.

The next step in the evolution of the DKR will be, given the bookmark,
it compensates for the ignorance I bring to the party by helping me
understand the information presented there, so I can use it. In essence,
it becomes an "Education on Demand" system that is still indexed by
human beings.

As search engines evolve and become more capable, automatically
for synonyms and rejecting pages with the right word in the wrong
there should be a shift from human-mediated access to more direct

Finally, when real reasoning ability is eventually instantiated (later
half of the century? next century?) then it may be possible to
automatically index case studies every abstract generalization they
support or refute, and
do "thoughtful" searches of the repository. As those systems get better,
the need for human mediation may reduce even further.

In summary, then, it seems reasonable to expect multiple stages in DKR
  1) human-mediated access to human-stored repositories
  2) human-mediated access to externally-stored repositories
  3) human-mediated access to didactic repositories
  4) intelligent search + human-mediated access
  5) intelligent indexing + intelligent search + human-mediated access

One of the thornier issues to solve is identifying situations where
miscommunication occurs because different people have different meanings
for the same term -- or the same meaning for different terms. It will
require extremely high levels of intelligence to identify and resolve
such problems. That may be two centuries out, if it is solvable at all.

In short, I don't think the need for human-mediated access will go away
for a long, long time, if ever.

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