the iCite net > news / blog > a permalink

news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

PlaNetwork conference, Social Network Software 2

posted: Jun 8, 2003 7:17:51 PM

Blogging the PlaNetwork conference in San Francisco.

This presentation is a panel with Michael Tolson, Reid Hoffman, and Nova Spivack.

Nova is speaking about Radar Networks, his new comapny. Working towards group mind. Adding semantic markup to content. The semantic web for humans. A universal information management tool. A new layer of the Internet for sharing and connecting knowledge.

He is defining the semantic web as a way to define what things are, what things mean.

They are developing a desktop tool and peer, implemented in Java, allowing people to create a knowledge network. To help deal with information overload, dis-integration and complexity, and obstacles to collaboration.

Help add sematics to email, to documents on the file system, etc. Right now, we have to use lots of tools with their own taxonomoies: the file system, the email folders, the personal information manager. Very efficient. Why should you have to search across different silos for this information.

Numerous obstacles to collaboration. Server based: high cost, maintenance, etc. Distributed teams have problems collaborating, because they need to set up a server. So, trends towards peer-to-peer, like Groove, which he sees as a file sharing tool. Radar lets you share metadata. Semantic knowledge bases on every peer, and connecting those into a semantic knowledge network.

Showing diagram showing a person linked to an organization, etc. Semantic links, which are objects in the system. [Note: this parallels what iCites are about.]

Their platform is in alpha. Works by data mining data on computers and building knowledge mappings automatically. Then user can add things manually.

All the objects in the system reflect an underlying ontology. Ontologies define attributes of relationships between things. They have developed a very detailed ontology about knowledge work: organizations, tasks, goals, etc. On top of this, you can create knowledge. Ex: document has an author is on a project, etc. Can do knowledge-based queries. This helps you work more productively.

After you create this knowldge base, you can share pieces you choose to release. Works peer-to-peer, but can also work client / server. This creates a new layer of the net.

This is a human usable user interface for using semantic information. Don't have to deal with RDF. They are focused on distributing ontologies. Mapping between resume and CV, for example. They may distribute the code as open source.

One use: as a super personal information manager (PIM). No matter what application the information lives in, Radar works as an overlay. Could be next generation email, with a knowledge base underneath it. Could be knowledge base for a group. Could be very good for emergency situation where you need a group fast.

Question from Marc Canter about Haystack. Answer: Haystack is based in RDF. Radar can read in and out RDF, but not limited by problems with RDF. They have a new XML format that they will later propose as a standard. Haystack was a student project. Doesn't think it got everything right.

Question: how to you use ontologies from existing knowledge networks? Answer: strategy is not to mine the network and infer ontologies. They provide a standard ontology that is extensible with an ontology design tool, that comes with the platform. People can add to their ontology, or modify it. This ensures interoperability.

Reid Hoffman is up now. Capitalism is a great technology, but a bad philosophy. He is going to talk about capitalism and its role in relation to social software and the themes of the ASN paper. Going to talk about LinkedIn.

How do you create self-sustaining enterprises. Governments tax people. Corporations sell things. Religions, some at least, sell salvation. Non-profits are in trouble because they are always fund raising. They stuck always writing grant proprosals for things vaguel related to what they are doing.

Having products are good, people want to invest in you. In some cases, corporate good can align with individual and civic good. As long as you don't have a monopoly, the corporation needs to relate to the customer base. Need to be aligned to individual good. Doesn't fully address civic good, but collections of individuals are the civis.

LinkedIn: launched a month ago, tried to keep quite and experiment with friends, but getting visibility. Works to allow you to exhange networks of personal connections. Each person creates their own gated community. All the community / social software being design by people without capital. Not designed for people with money. LinkedIn was designed for reaching people of means.

LinkedIn is about knowing how many degrees of separation you are from others, and being able to make use of that. Just starting out.

Michael is up speaking now. Going to talk about issues with ASN. Is not going to talk about Envoii. What he calls a tangental critique. A critique of a lot of the agenda of social networks. Offer some ideas of alternative approaches. Lots of blue sky stuff.

Internet is complex system. A lot like Earth. Planet 4-5 billion years old. Spent its entire time developing solutions to fundamental organizational problems.

He gives examples of systems on earth and systems on the Internet.

Three tales. 1) his stolen Honda. Disappered for one year, about four years ago. The VIN numbers had been cut out of the chasis. Police asked for identifying marks. He relaized there was a mark from a nail in his garage where that he opened the door into. Paint stains on the backseat from a canvas he carried once. This is a mass produced car, then has a global ID in the VIN. But, the identity was actually transitive and emergent. It can out of relationships between him and the car.

2) The Library for Dogs. About smell. Dog reads a book. Another dog comes, looking for books that smell interesting. Dogs with similar tastes will create different categories based on smell. (Shows a diagram of a 781 dimensional olifactory space, projected on to two dimensions).

3) The Perfumed Letter. About the novel, about a man with incredible sense of smell. Some of these ideas can be turned into viable path for social network development.

Showing diagram where a single node in a network, X, difusses its smell into the network. Gradients of smell. Notice that gradient, in context of traversable network, is something that you can track. There is an up wind. The gradient is present as a vector, within the social manifold.

Imagine that X wants to write a letter to W, via P. X's smell gets embedded in the letter. P adds some of its smell while carrying it. W adds smell to it when it receives it. We have an emergent ontotlogy and set of associations around the data object (of the letter). The smell becomes metadata. Idea: we can smell the difference between a business letter and a letter from our wives. Can have viral infection detection: looking for things that smell bad.

So, for example: having smell attached to the subject line of an email.

Sociogenomics concept. Layers on top of each other: DNA/RNA. Proteins. Regulatory Networks. Ecologies. Application areas: identity management, knowledge management, digital rights management, security, governance, and new classes or applications.

Q & A

Question: Marc Canter asks how each panelists sees his system connecting to other systems. Nova: we use open XML standards so there can be cross-linking between Radar and other applications. Working at a level up from semantic web specification stuff: application that people can use.

Michael: just throwing out ideas. One problem with social networks in general is that they are dependent on the semantics. How do you decouple things from the semantics? Nature is free of semantics. Like, when you smell a rose: it has no metatags or label. He doesn't know how to do this, but worried about the same babble crisis.

Reid: LinkedIn will have an open web interface, to be determined. Wants to get a portable link reputation system. LinkedIn is trying to build that. Then, considering how to relate to open APIs. There is a corporate interest to retain value, but also want to make reputation system valuable.

LinkedIn introductions come with endorsements. If there is way to integrate to other systems, he is interested in doing that.

Question from Ken Jordan: blown away by Michael's ideas about filtering. Realizing this isn't in ASN paper. Steve (who wrote the filter stuff in the ASN paper) had gotten this stuff from Michael, but forgot to include it in the paper. They have been talking about identity. But, could talk more about media objects gaining a history of qualities through their use over time. It could be powerful, like the Perfumed Letter in an online context.

Question: trying to remember where ideas came from. Wanting to embeded that. This would be valuable. Answer (Mark?): mentioning Cite Seer system, which shows relationships between papers and, in next generation system, author.

Question: tools for (visual) mapping social networks? Answer: Social network analysis, which came out of sociology. Mentions SocialText is working on something. Marc is mentioning people: he says look at Ross Mayfield from SocialText who links to stuff like this. (Mark ?) is mentioning The Brain software and other things. Going to put stuff up on PlaNetwork wiki.

Question: ways for enabling consensus, aggregating ideas and getting people to weight in on them. Answer: Nova has an idea, that hasn't been implemented. A community that decides what it is going to do, in a democratic way, and then does it. Community agrees to give 15 minutes of time each week. Members can propose local action and global action. At the end of the week, that gets narrowed down through voting, until there is one global and one local thing. Then, all the members do it. The community would have a charter to do positive things, but would work to have a group decision, and you would make a contract to do that. Membership requirement would be to get other people to join each month.

Marc mentions Friendster. Natural evolution happen, where faux characters like Burning Man and Ali G were created who ended up having 20,000 friends. Sys admin killed them. Reid mentions Rheingold's Smart Mobs.

Questioner: social network is mechanism to get organized and stop being so fragmented. Idea of creating political lobbies using the Internet around issues. Unless groups have organizing principles and goals, it is hard to make them sustaining. Group voice through agreements.

Nova: right, you could have different kinds of agreements for different communities. Significance of social networks, compares to printing and the ability to write and print books. This freed individual minds. Social networks allow relationships to be abstracted from the people (physically) themselves. You can meet people without ever having to meet or directly interact with the people who intermediate for you. This is a real change in the way that society functions.

Marc: you can't contact someone you know with LinkedIn. Can only contact people you don't know. Nova: seems like Joi Ito is between me and everybody. Is there more than one path? Reid: the system takes the shortest path for now.

Question: highway system is scale two network. Airline system is scale three network. Internet is a scale three network. Lots of hubs and connections. Reid: shallow answer is we just replicate what we have today. The deeper answer is we need to see what works to go beyond this. Example: we can load balance social connections. Is this good? We need to see.

Question: taking advantage of scale three networks. Compensations for things (?) Michael: biologically, the most ancient systems are the ones that are most connected. The first arrivals have significant advantages.

Question: Adam Smith saw that rich could organize themselves better than the poor. Need to prevent monopolies. Those that come first get more connections than everyone else. Nova: used to research chaos and complexity theory. Periodically, you need to add some chaos to the system to find an optimal configuration. Dynamic systems with changing environments, need to add chaos regularly.

Suggests this for LinkedIn. Reid: backward chaining and stuff (?). Marc: socially conscious people are saying the technology people need to let the social group determine the course. The individual voice can destroy the ability for the group to get things done. Talks about Clay Shirky and finding core members and having a consitution, and the importance of chutzpa.

Presentation over. Applauding.

permalink | comments {0} · trackbacks {0}

also available as: rss · rss2 · rdf · atom

Comments and Tracbacks

Note: All comments and trackbacks are moderated. Spam is deleted. Other comments are approved as promptly as possible.

Note: Older posts no longer accept new comments or trackbacks.

« prev post
PlaNetwork conference, Cynthia Typaldos comments on my blog

» next post
PlaNetwork conference, danah Boyd's faceted identity thesis

blog newsfeeds

brief content:

 XML  ·  RSS  ·  RDF  ·  Atom 

full content:

 XML  ·  RSS  ·  RDF  ·  Atom 

blog archive

jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug 
sep · oct · nov · dec
jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

jan · feb · mar · apr
may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

may · jun · jul · aug
sep · oct · nov · dec

first post: 
April 30, 2003

highlight views:
Spammers' Choice

Jay elsewhere online
Jay Fienberg - the official home page

Wrong Notes - the music blog of the Ear Reverends

Fine & Full, aka, a fine and full burger

Sociomobilepoetextologia (moblog, currently inactive due to lack of proper mobile)

to enjoy roll
sites I like to read when I start from here

· Anastasia Fuller
· Andy Baio
· Biz Stone
· Boris Mann
· Bre Pettis
· Chris Dent
· Danny Ayers
· Dare Obasanjo
· David Czarnecki
· David Weinberger
· Don Park
· Evan Williams
· Greg Narain
· Jason Kottke
· Jim Benson
· Lucas Gonze
· Marc Canter
· Matt May
· Matt Mullenweg
· Michal Migurski
· Nancy White
· Rebecca Blood
· Reg Cheramy
· Richard MacManus
· Sam Ruby
· Shelley Powers
· Tim Bray
· danah boyd

powered by blojsom

Entries by blojsim