We need the computer as an intermediary for taming complexity

If complexity is going to be tamed, we need a computer as an intermediary for that process.

— John Bottoms, FirstStar Systems,  email of 21-Dec-2015

The hard part, of course, is just how we will do that.

It’s not as if software developers aren’t trying to produce tools for capturing and managing knowledge. There are literally hundreds of “mind-mapping” and”concept-mapping” applications. Try the list at mind-mapping.org, for example. I have tested several of the applications in this list, and I use several daily.

Also explore Michael Bergman’s impressive “Sweet Tools” resource at http://www.mkbergman.com/sweet-tools/, which includes many tools that fall under the “Semantic Web” banner. That resource seemed broken when I visited it on 21-Mar-2016. So try http://www.mkbergman.com/sweet-tools-simple-list/ for starters. Developers can benefit from Bergman’s resources.

I have my own list of interesting and useful applications. It changes as I discover new tools and arrive at new understandings of what’s useful — to end-users, in particular. I encourage you to let me know about applications that you find interesting or useful.

But the requirement for powerful and effective tools for taming the superabundance of information is ripe for new applications. None of the current applications are satisfactory, and we will benefit greatly from a suite of complementary applications for personal and organizational use by knowledge workers … but only if they can talk to each other.

That is one of the goals of this blog: To develop a shared model for knowledge resources that will help everyone start putting knowledge resources to work immediately and ultimately help developers build more effective applications.

And, in general, new computing paradigms (God, I hate that word.) are needed.

© Copyright 2017 Philip C. Murray


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One Response to We need the computer as an intermediary for taming complexity

  1. Hi, I think we cannot expect that a standard software application will give us a solution, nor even a notorious jump ahead on the complexity problem. Being it more than the basic store and retrieval of knowledge, but also its application to get a productive outcome in the form of an assistant/agent, which could grow to be something pre-Singularity.
    We need a whole platform where the model to store knowledge and the language to interchange it is common (agreed). That remembers me the intent of the “Semantic Web” (with its OWL and RDF formats), but nothing of huge impact has really arise from it.
    Maybe some billionare will put a ton of resources (billions of dollars, hundreds of people and a lot of years) in making an “Apollo project” to solve the issue.

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