Re: Logistics, Linda, and Lifestreams

Dave Long (
Wed, 29 Sep 1999 20:49:45 -0700

> no more filenames, time as the major organizational tool... the way I
> expect the machine to know what I'm expected/obliged to do is to record
> all communications in which I agree to do something or set expectations
> that I'll do something with enough structure that the machine can show
> me an index into the future of my past records.

_Gregg Transcription_, circa 1972, tells us how much more can be
done when we can apply NI as a strong-AI equivalent:

> In the ... letter that Mr. Davis dictated, he mentioned that he was
> enclosing a booklet ... Ellen transcribed the letter accurately but
> did not enclose the booklet. ... When the customer received the
> letter without the booklet, he was considerably annoyed. ...
> T h e r e a f t e r , when her employer dictated:
> "I am enclosing a booklet," Ellen made certain that the booklet was
> in the envelope when she took the letter in to be signed.
> "I will see that each salesman gets a copy of the bulletin," she saw
> to it that the bulletin was duplicated and a copy sent to each
> salesman.
> "I am making a reservation for April 10 at the Nelson Hotel," she
> either made the reservation herself or placed a memorandum on Mr.
> Davis' desk reminding him to do so.
> "I will meet you at the airport when your plane arrives," she noted
> the fact on his calendar pad and then reminded him of his engagement
> in plenty of time for him to meet the plane when it arrived.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Exercise for the reader:
According to The Peter Principle, in the following scenario, which
items are beneficial for the American Products Company?
> Mr. Davis thinks very highly of his secretary. "That girl is a
> wonder," he said to a business associate at luncheon one day.
A) Miss Ellen's relationship to the Glass Ceiling.
B) Mr. Davis' habitual 3 martini lunch.
C) both of the above
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

The Idea section of "Lifestreams: A Storage Model for Personal Data",
at <>,
also can bear comparison to earlier wetware solutions:

(sorry, ideas rotated, but they retain original numbering)

5. Computers should make "reminding" convenient

vide supra (airport)

6. Personal data should be accessible anywhere and compatibility
should be automatic

This seems a purely technical point, but touches on proxying and the
secretary as Dr. Bolcer's single-point-of-contact.

1. Storage should be transparent
2. Directories are inadequate as an organizing device
3. Archiving should be automatic

The Ellen Gardiner book doesn't deal with filing explicitly, maybe
because that sort of thing would have been implicitly dealt with by
file clerks -- who were not only sometimes sophisticated enough to
practice interleaving, but were also expected to be able to cope
with retrieving a misfiled record, an activity absent from most
software systems.

4. The system should provide sophisticated logic for summarizing
or compressing ... a large group of related documents of which the
user wants a concise overview.

> With some letters she does more than place them [ordered by
> priority] on his desk: she gathers all the information that her
> employer needs before he can answer the letters.
> For example, when a creditor writes that an overdue bill for [ready,
> Dr. Evil?] $100 for advertising placed in his magazine has not been
> paid, she checks to see whether a bill was actually received. If it
> was, she finds out from the accounting department whether it was
> paid and, if not, why not. She then types this information on a
> sheet of paper and attaches it to the letter of complaint or jots it
> down at the foot of the letter. [shades of exmh!] In some cases she
> even obtains all related correspondence from the file and attaches
> it to the incoming letter. ...
> By gathering all the information necessary to answer certain types
> of letters and by observing ... how those letters are answered, Ellen
> can look forward to ... hearing her employer say "You write the letter,
> Ellen. You know what to tell them."


Also see Winograd, from about a decade back, for some work on
automation applied to structured (formal?) human commmunications.

> the place to start. And I want to use my email archive as a back-link
> service ("show me all the mail messages that link to this page") and I

Critmail may be worth a look. My AI flight-of-fancy is a system
that, instead of WikiNames, can use noun phrases and other natural
language constructs. My recollection of the NaviServer/Press
auto-link feature was that it suffered more from lack of a suitable
database of potential targets than from any inability to pick out
suitable anchors.