Web Wide Matrix

For many years, I’ve been really suffering from the problem of information overload: I’m subscribed to many content feeds, which are very valuable to me, but don’t have any way to effectively consume them – even if I’d sit all day & read them, I won’t be able to cover all of them.

Thinking about this problem I understood 3 things:

  1. The problem starts with the medium – the interface in which we consume content feeds today is like a baggage carousel, where you need to look at a list of items, arriving in random order, until you see what you’re looking for. This interface is somewhat effective with few dozens items, but will never work with thousands. On the other hand, an interface such as a supermarket is effective for selecting a few items out of thousands of items, because it’s an organized space that you can walk into & see all items, & since you go there frequently you know exactly where to find what interests you & discover more along the way.
  2. There are many good technologies today to automatically process large amounts of information, in order to enable people to make value out of it, but to use these technologies you need a team of engineers working for weeks or months building a solution for some specific content feed & use-case. This is similar to the situation before the Web, where if you wanted to connect to some information you needed to build the software, protocols & infrastructure for accessing information remotely. The Web introduced a simple & powerful standard way to access information, that removed these barriers & enabled anyone to publish & access information from anywhere in the world. Similarly, we need a simple & powerful way to enable anyone to process any content feed & make value out of it. This should be as simple as writing a simple HTML file.
  3. Until today, every person needed just an internet connection & a device to access information – something to run a browser on & access information & services. However, by now we stretched to the limit our ability to consume & make value from the sea of information available to us – Slack/Email/Articles/Twitter/Data/Opportunities/Events/&c. The introduction of powerful machine-learning & autonomous software agents can now enable every person to have a team of bots working for him by processing information & creating value out of it. So, a browser & internet connection is not enough anymore – you need another software/service to cope with the never ending streams of information flooding you, that needs to be available & affordable for everyone, just like an internet connection & a browser.

So I set out to design an architecture & solution based on these ideas, which I call the Web Wide Matrix. Inspired by the Matrix movie, it is a

  • Virtual Reality interface for consuming content feeds as an organized space
  • generated by a personal team of hacker bots, working inside software hovercrafts to process your content feeds
  • using training courses that are as simple to write as HTML documents

To make this a reality, I’m building this as an open-source initiative, led by a non-profit organization (called the Wachowski groupoid, in honor of the Matrix creators), currently consisting of just myself. I’ve written an initial POC & put up an initial web site for the project. Check it out to learn more & drop me a note if you’d like to join me in solving this problem once & for all.

Screen Shot 2017-04-03 at 6.30.56 AM

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Early adopters of the world: Use OpenIRIS!

I read a few years ago about the DARPA CALO project (Cognitive Agent that Learns & Organizes), or was it the PAL project (Perceptive Agent that Learns)? Anyway, I was quite amazed, because I was thinking back then about similar architecture & technologies. Well, about a month ago, they decided to actually ship the technology, & open its source!!!!

It's called OpenIRIS (http://www.openiris.org/), & it's a "Semantic Desktop", in which you work on your applications (Browser, Mail, Chat, Calendar, Tasks, Documents &c), & behind the scenes everything is analyzed & organized in a beautiful ontology (!!!) that enables you to "Integrate. Relate. Infer. Share.".
DARPA just paid researchers from some 22 universities, to actually go & implement the semantic technologies that have such huge promises, using today's paradigms & technologies.

I've started playing with it a few weeks ago, & today decided to actually use it. Well, I'm holding my hands from evangalizing (except for the post's title), but I'm quite impressed from the result! There are some small problems, & the giant platform is slightly slow, but the basics seem to work – some giant OWL-based ontology is being accumulated behind-the-scenes, & used for integrating the information. (One thing does annoy: I hope they'll switch to FireFox (instead of the old Mozilla), because I can't use a browser without my extensions…). I might even try write a plug-in for FreeMind or some other app I can't live without, & see how it works.

Thanks DARPA, SRI & all other researchers for bringing the future closer!

Update: Oops! There's only a Windows version :(… Seems like I won't be using it much, coz my primary OS is Linux. (hey, please spend the last mile effort for the sake of Linux & MacOS early adopters…)

Open-Source for the sake of Art

Eventually all software should be open-source from the mere reason that software writing is a form of Art, & it's wrong to hide art in private places.

The art is in the concept, architecture, design & algorithms.

Though people tend to think in economic models, what actually drives the world forward is the advance in art: seeing the world differently & the implied ideas & thoughts.

"Art is the greatest riddle, but man is the solution." (Joseph Beuys)

Of course, there are other reasons for Open-Source, such as the need for transparency in the (information) machines (code) that control our life, as recently discussed in Muli's blog.