Re: [unrev-II] CoDIAK Development of OHS/DKR using Bootstrapping Knowledge Representations? (incl. Unfinished Rev Pitch & Next-step)

From: John J. Deneen (
Date: Wed Jun 07 2000 - 14:42:40 PDT

  • Next message: Rod Welch: "[unrev-II] Ontology Research for DKR"

    1) Bootstrapping Knowledge Representations: from entailment meshes via
    semantic nets to learning webs

    2) Webmind ( whitepaper and test results
    ( "Business
    Intelligence extracted from unstructured text dramatically improves the
    profitability of computer-based decision-making."

    3) Subject:
    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 <>
    To: "John J. Deneen" <>

    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
    | (505) 667-9096
    V All the world is biscuit-shaped. . .

       * Bootstrap Summary:


    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
       * Hypermedia
       * 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.

    Innovation Claim
    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
    consciously known.

    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.
    ( Francis Heylighen
    ( 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 Intelligence
    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