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by Jay Fienberg

PlaNetwork conference, Augmented Social Networks presentation, part 2

posted: Jun 6, 2003 8:04:44 PM

Blogging the plaNetwork conference in San Francisco.

Back after a break that lasted longer than the organizers seemed to want, but was just about right I think. Questions and answers.

Jan and Ken are talking about the social issues of casual introductions, in response to a question about how each of our relationships has different degrees and contexts of trusts, and also that people from different fields have been studying this. So, Ken is saying yes: we need to integrate this. And, technically, the idea is creating tools that facilitate expressing these relationships. (I think that is what is being said?)

Question about accountability, especially face to face accountability in durable social networks. (The people asking questions each have intense and informed points of view. Unfortunately, I can't quite capture their finer points of critical observation, which, at this moment, seem like the highlight of this session.)

I missed what was said in response to the accountability question. Now they are responding to a question about getting some software developed and who runs it, and how long it takes. Talking about standards and proprietary software.

Talking about concern about Microsoft getting Passport in place and everyone being forced to use it if you used a Microsoft product. So, I guess that means that we just need to move forward towards an open solution, using standards and code that can be made available and managed in the public interest.

Question suggesting the solution to online identity will combine commercial, academic, and open developments. Answer: they agree. What is going to bring them to the table is a shared set of expectations. Open standards that enable interoperability between online community systems.

Over next six months, the goal is to identify who wants to be part of that conversation. May take a while.

Question about: is this going to happen or is this going to take a long time? Introductory protocols, like MSN chat protocol (send an email that says: may I chat with you?). Social context that figures out the features, look at the software that is out there that does what is needed, and drive the standards.

Answer: yes. Main thing is bringing this all together. This will push the standards. Talking about social point of view and its language entering into the engineering disciplines.

Question: trying to create a single governance is like trying to create single religion. Need to prepare for many groups to create their own structures for governance.

Answer: Ken says: we are not talking about social organization or central group that needs governance. We are talking about the governance of protocols and standards, so that they stay open. The ASN is for adding functionality to the Internet, like email or FTP. Anyone should be able to do use ASN functionality to do anything they want. If it is available on the Internet, Ken thinks it will lead to positive political purposes.

Jan says that sometimes governance is important, and sometimes it isn't. Answering comment about what happens when a bad group of people wants to use it. Jan is talking about accountability in cyberspace. Mentioning The Transparent Society: Will Technology Force Us to Choose Between Privacy and Freedom?, by David Brin.

Marc Canter, from the floor, is talking about: media, micro content, and standards that are already happening. This adds on to the four categories in the ASN whitepaper (see page 16-17).

Ken is responding why Marc's points are not their own categories, but are included in the four in the paper. Media is a thing that can be shared, it is pervasive. Micro content is pervasive. Marc is accepting Ken's response.

Question: Michael Linton of the open money project wondering how what he is doing can connect up with the ASN. Especially issue with people who are not online.

Answer: now is the time to connect up and figure out how to connect up. ASN is meant to be a platform that lends itself to different uses based around identity and trust. This should lend itself to alternative currencies and governance. Not explicit in the ASN, but it lends itself to those kinds of uses.

Marc is adding to this. Where cyberspace meets meatspace. If people aren't online, bet is that they know someone online.

Question: reputation and trust are accidental commodities. Much more organic. There is a real challenge in trying to codify that in a system. How do you capture that lazy sociology?

Answer: Jan says, eBay is an example of how a little bit of reputation can scale to such enormous proportions. eBay couldn't police all the transactions. Added reputation system to help. They assumed that eBay would fail with this system. People complain about what is bad and won't praise what is good. So, from negativity, eBay would go down. That is not what happened. Surprise about fundamental goodness: people will go to the extra effort to give someone a good mark when they do something good.

Ken is talking about developing ontologies not simply for corporate world, but for the public. Basically, he is talking about interoperable systems. Necessary for media aggregation and matching people. Need to know what people mean. (Semantic web stuff has been touched upon throughout this session.) Talking about agents for commerce and also for social connections.

Steve is talking about editorial referrals to information sources as a pet project of his. (This is one of the interests of the iCite net, as is identity in general.)

Marc is going to talk about interoperability in his presentation on Sunday.

Question: how to make this whole thing artistic and lyrical. Communities want this kind of thing, but can't understand it. Questioner has created "the beauty engine" as a network topology.

Answer: this is a public interest initiative. Needs public interest support. Looking to use technology being developed for public values, rather than purely for business. Business will effectively disallow these creative uses unless we work together to allow them.

Question: U.N. Summit on the Information Society is coming this year. Seems like an obvious place to take this document.

Answer: wanted to unveil this via the web and get feedback. Want to align with the U.N. and other organizations. Some major orgs are tracking this development. Want to make sure that enough has been discussed and answered.

Hazel Henderson is talking: more important strategically to jump into the game. If you miss the deadline for conference, you have to wait a long time to the next opportunity. Deadline for papers is early.

Jan: top down or bottom up. ASN is top down, bottom up, and sideways. Steven: don't want this to be uniquely American, want others from around the world.

Question: a number of groups involved in upcoming summit. Most civil society groups have already proposed open source software solutions and other standards. But, it would be worth adding the ASN explicitly.

End of presentation. More tomorrow!

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