This article describes the concept for the Pangaea Project. The goal of that project is to define (and build a reference implementation for) a human-mediated knowledge base that provides “just in time” information — information when you need it.
This article is based on a Jan 2006 post to Blue Oxen Collaboratories mailing list. For some excellent follow-up discussion, visit that link. As I wrote then, “The ontology guys are going to love this one.” (Because this article presents an ontology for design discussions carried on using a structuring language based on Horst Rittel’s IBIS methodology, or “Information-Based Information System” (via Jeff Conklin).
The Web abounds with collaborative efforts to solve complex problems. To date, the only tool that supports a robust discussion among remote parties is email. But email does not easily support lengthy discussions aimed at reaching a conclusion, nor does an email-archive provide a readily-accessible historical record. This paper evaluates email’s strengths compared to Web-based discussion tools, identifies its weaknesses, and defines the requirements for a truly effective online discussion tool.
When attempts are made to develop “distributed persistent collaboration” tools, a variety of technical issues stand in the way. This article examines several of these impediments to progress.
This paper sets forth a proposal for a relatively simple online system — a design/discussion/decision system that would facilitate remote collaboration — in the hopes that a simple initial system could be used to design a more sophisticated system downstream, and with the understanding that as participants learn to use the initial system, the understanding they gain would both inform the design of subsequent systems, and at the same time make it possible comprehend and effectively use a more sophisticated system which, because of its sophistication, would be more difficult to initially comprehend.
The Atomic Units of Knowledge Repository Structure
An explanation of the class/object that forms the “atomic unit” of a knowledge repository. The original inspiration for this discussion are the insights that grew out of Doug Engelbart’s “Unfinished Revolution” colloquium at Stanford in the winter of 2000.
In 1968, Douglas Engelbart gave “the mother of all demos”, demonstrating an early version of time sharing, distributed computing, graphic terminals, a mouse, hyperlinks. and many other features we take for granted. ( Segments from the original video can be seen here.) The video’s subtitle describes it as a “System for Augmenting Human Intellect”, and it clearly lived up to its name.
Speculations on what a knowledge repository might consist of, and how it might be used in the context of software design — especially in an online design discussion.
A Start-Up Scenario and Strategy for Acquiring Resources
Organizations that host standards development efforts need good tools for remote, persistent collaboration. Organizations that focus on software standards, in particular, have the expertise to cooperatively develop such tools. Such an enterprise may well be the ideal starting point for a system that can “bootstrap” itself into one we can use to help solve the major, complex problems that confront mankind.
It has been postulated that the “frame problem” presents a theoretically-unsolvable limit to the capabilities of artificial intelligence — a boundary beyond which we cannot cross, even in theory, much less in practice. This paper explains why that is so in any single case, and suggests that Darwinism is, in fact, the only viable solution to that problem.