|Agentware - The map is the problem 2|
In physical space, mapping is well understood. I can infer from a map that there are places, and perhaps multiple paths to places. I can make "bandwidth" decisions from the way roads are portrayed.. In Cyberspace, however, what I am looking at is a map of someone's mind; I.e. the webpage creator's mind.
Some suggest that HTML riding over http provides a robust navigation solution: using hrefs we now have a navigation tool. we can go any where but the problem is that we can only go forward one node at a time, or we revisit any place we've already been, and that we added a bookmark for (if we remember to do so -- but have you ever tried to get back to a place you didn't bookmark two days later?). People also suggest that html is a navigationally complete strategy because it gives continuous feedback re whether we are getting "closer to" or "furhter away from" the area we are interested in. I would submit though, that it's a very inexact method of navigation. I wonder, is this good enough for E-commerce.
People will still say that Cyberspace has a map and HTML, or VRML. The solution it provides let's us see "out from where we are" one node at a time. Even the attempts to improve on this (like Henry Lieberman's Leitezia) are only marginal improvements. We need some technique which offers us an overlay.
We can see the problem in microcosm on our own desktops... I can't even adequately map what's on my Wintel machine to my information needs, much less the Infosphere. Pattie Maes has designed what she calls remembrance agents, and one of her students even walks around with a camera which snapshots the world every few seconds.
Moreover, there will never be a Hammond's atlas of the Infosphere, because the Infosphere is unbounded and expanding. My boss once asked me to draw a diagram of the internet, I drew a big square on the white board, and I put a single dot on it I handed him the marker and said, now add about 3M more dots, when you're done, tell me.
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Agentware, a presentation by Dana Moore of AT&T.