Frode Hegland: Hello. Whoever may say this in the future? This is a future text lab meeting on the 5th of August, waiting to see who will join us. I’m going to play with a little bit with the camera. It looks very. Very low quality. Let’s say. That’s. That is. I better try to, like, focus on me, will you? So to. That would be useful. Yeah, that’s good.
Brandel Zachernuk: It’s just very well done.
Frode Hegland: That was the Zoom version. Let’s try the Apple version. Yeah. Of course, that’s the phone.
Brandel Zachernuk: Does a better job.
Frode Hegland: Hello, Fabian. I was just having fun with the. With a camera set up there. How are you? Fabian. I cannot hear you. I hear there, Bob.
Bob Horn: Yes.
Frode Hegland: Excellent.
Brandel Zachernuk: Well. Only.
Frode Hegland: So we’ll continue with our connections and so on discussion today. Absolutely. But I also think we should spend a minute or two to say if anyone has anyone to throw into suggestion for who we should invite for this symposium.
Bob Horn: Is there a is there a theme at all or multiple themes in the in the symposium?
Frode Hegland: Yes. The theme of the symposium today is working in VR and using augmented A.I. text as an augmenting text with AI. So those are the two strong excuse me themes. But we need a few more people to invite.
Bob Horn: Have you invited that? Andrea Cojocaru.
Frode Hegland: Yes. She has said, yes, she is going to be coming.
Bob Horn: Good.
Frode Hegland: She may even show up in person, which will be nice. And then I got to respond. Thank you.
Brandel Zachernuk: Emily.
Frode Hegland: Who’s coming? Just thought I’d make Brandel happy. So she is unable also try to be here in person, which is quite, quite nice. Hang on. Everybody’s being loud. One second.
Brandel Zachernuk: Guys fly it or I will put you in the swimming pool.
Frode Hegland: With your clothes.
Brandel Zachernuk: Ice cubes. In my native.
Frode Hegland: All right. Sorry. There’s a sword fight in the hallway.
Brandel Zachernuk: And as that often needs to be.
Frode Hegland: So also email the Adam Shire and Bruce Thorne for to say if they want to talk a little bit on the AI side of things. It’s really a weird it seems to me that A.I. is two things at this point. One is of course, advanced things into the future. But the other thing is specific techniques that are usable today, but they’re still not easy to integrate into projects. And I think that the second type is something that we could really look at as one of the things we managed just resources with. Hey, you want to do this with tax, take this code, etc.. A bit humdrum, but to remove the mystique of something that now shouldn’t be mysterious anymore. Anyone else have any suggestions? Bob had one.
Brandel Zachernuk: For additional people to speak.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, but also I need to know which one of us as and which one of you would like to speak to make sure I don’t sign you up without your consent.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah.
Frode Hegland: That did invent. Our friend with the incredibly complicated Chinese sounding name. What’s his name? Julie.
Bob Horn: Julie.
Brandel Zachernuk: Julie. You. Earlier. Why?
Frode Hegland: Why I.
Brandel Zachernuk: Oh, yes, it’s that one.
Frode Hegland: I should just call him Shen Burke. Call him by his last name. So obviously I have invited him. I haven’t heard back yet. He’s doing some kind of a big update, so not sure what’s happening. Brandel and Fabian, you both want to present, right?
Brandel Zachernuk: I’m not sure. I’ll have to think about it in the context of how I would talk to my manager about it and things. I mean, I’d very much liked to, but in terms of what what’s acceptable, I’d like to play it safe and make sure that I don’t raise anybody’s ire.
Frode Hegland: Okay.
Brandel Zachernuk: It’s what I what I do is not. The future of text personally at work, but.
Frode Hegland: No, I understand you have a you have a situation. And you’re saying big green. Yes. To presenting rights.
Bob Horn: Big green. Yes.
Frode Hegland: Fantastic. Yeah. Bob Stein, I believe, will be there. We have. He said yes, but in an email to Bob Stein. Jaron Lanier Not to me, so I can’t count on him yet, but I think he should, if he is available, do the keynote at the very beginning because I think he will be inspirational, but also largely irrelevant for a lot of the other work.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yes, absolutely. I haven’t contacted him. But I also really like. What’s his name? He’s in Australia. A French fella.
Frode Hegland: If Google French fellow in Australia.
Brandel Zachernuk: Monash.
Frode Hegland: Are you talking about Ian? Neil. Codex. So it said.
Brandel Zachernuk: Uh.
Frode Hegland: I’m not sure if it’s French, but I think it’s an Australia.
Brandel Zachernuk: Maxim Cordial.
Frode Hegland: A VR or AI VR.
Brandel Zachernuk: Maxine.
Frode Hegland: Could you give me the right thing in check, please? I mean.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah, I’m fine. I’m fine. Thing is. This fella.
Frode Hegland: So here’s the thing. And reading further in this book today, the chapter I’m on thinking with pears. I’m sure it’s no news to anybody, but she makes the point points to a lot of research that people think better and groups. Uh huh. And people think better when they teach. So I think that’s what we do in our little group here. We help each other think. And you know, that’s important and we need to support that. But also, Bob, very much is good at pushing ups for specifics. So that’s finding the balance there anyway. Did you give me here this top of the screen?
Brandel Zachernuk: He’s the fellow who’s responsible for immersive IMAX. And he was first a second author and one of the preprints that Bobb linked to this week.
Frode Hegland: Oh, excellent.
Brandel Zachernuk: Hmm. Our visual data store stories, stuff like that. But he’s the one who is doing the graphs ahead of managing the graphs that you are able to manipulate the axes by pulling them around in 3D space. So being able to do an X Y scatterplot by grabbing these things and putting them together or having a series by putting them like that.
Frode Hegland: Would you like to invite him? Are you in contact?
Brandel Zachernuk: I know I have not been in contact. He seems to have been following him on Twitter. He seems to follow me as well, but I haven’t had any contact me on that. Right.
Frode Hegland: Anyone else before we move on? We’re going to have some people. Come on, guys.
Brandel Zachernuk: Don’t. I don’t know. I very well. It’s the thing it’s after after undergrad, I was so disenfranchised by it that I kind of went off it as a subject. Because of the limits of what it seems to have as relevance for me.
Bob Horn: There’s an there’s another interesting guy at Monash. When I named Tim Dwyer. And he’s attempting to been relevant in another project I’ve been helping on. Well, maybe in the next, if funded and all that sort of thing. I haven’t met him, but I. My colleague has been sending me a paper or two of his. He’s. Creating his linking documents. Through a diagrammatic, I produced diagrammatic process that finds the key elements in a particular in a particular for a to answer a particular problem or question. And it finds the documents that are connected, time sequences them, links them together in a diagram and and prints them, shows them to you. All with I. It’s pretty interesting. I think it’s fairly early. It’s really hard to tell from his 30 page paper. Does he add the actual sentences that summarize these things that that I has found, or does I actually produce the sentences? I mean, it’s a terrible in that sense of badly written paper. I should be able to find that in the first, even the conclusion or in the beginning somewhere. But anyway, it’s, it’s the most advanced thing that I know of in terms of visual visualizing diagrams with actual story like content. He’s using the newspaper like stories, parts of stories that they link, that he links together. So I’d be interested in hearing him.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, that’s great. I’ve added him. Absolutely. I better go. Where? Yeah, I’ll copy and paste because you’re just off. After Brandel entered, we’re thinking of who else to invite on the ah of the side for the symposium. And I see you have your hand up. Fabian.
Bob Horn: Yes, I know Griselda, who is an open source contributor to an I framework called ACL TC, which is like a basis for quite a bit of project. I don’t know if he’s a speaker much, to be honest, but I can definitely ask. That being said, I think some of the most interesting people for the group would be people working like on NCTC or natural language processing. In general, people who work on a computer vision might there might be some overlap, but overall, like NLP is about written text, so maybe that sounds a bit too narrow at first, but at least that makes us rather confident that it’s going to be. Too high. They were too conceptual.
Frode Hegland: I think that’s perfect. Please put his name in the chart. And also again, this, by the way, Peter, she’s coming, which is going to be really good. But the something recent in this book is how human brains have what seems like specific modules, so to speak, to deal with other humans. How we define that is still something science is working out. But the sitting here with you guys know on a day where we’re supposed to be talking about. This guy is really annoying. Fabian I’m trying to copy his name from his website and it’s an image. Anyway. So I’ll do that, of course. Um. Right. So the whole human side, why am I bringing it up in context with this? Very much of the work we kind of do seems to be about concepts and linking concepts and documents and all of that stuff. Maybe what we need to do is to consider the symposium and what we do here as kind of first class objects, meaning that we should really look at how we augment this real human connection with doing what sparked my comment on that. Fabian was we know some things like Jeopardy! Three, there are some things we all know about A.I., but we don’t know who to invite from those things. So in reality, it’s a very human centered network we’re talking about. We invite the people we have access to. So instead of that, making that a little bit of a. Oh, poor us. Kind of thing. Make that the real highlight. So I sent out an email requesting we start thinking about can we actually show something at this future of text? And that’s not necessarily talking about building a VR environment or anything, but maybe we can do something that can contribute to how we connect. And I’m not talking about reinventing LinkedIn or anything like that, but I’m just wondering if you have any suggestions, guys, on the connectivity of people in this context. I see your hand. Please. Please go ahead if you like.
Bob Horn: Yeah, I forgot to put it up, but yes, there is in terms of, let’s say GPT three and all this, and it’s also possible to invite somebody from the team. I don’t like it because it’s not open and they have a name called Openai. So honestly, I’m whining about it quite frequently. But there is something called Blume that’s been published during the last few weeks that’s about equivalent. That is also a large language model and that’s been done with a big thousand collaborators team running on a French big on a pub. It’s all public. It’s my point, it’s all open, and I would imagine somebody would be excited to share their work there so that that would be an interesting option with the downside that yeah, it’s huge, it’s ridiculous. The amount of I think we often underestimate how much all that energy takes, let’s say. So the ecological aspect is a bit ignored often. But in terms of finding somebody from something that seems to be if we forget the marketing about on par with GPT three or Codex or somebody from the Bloom team could be interesting to have I just asked them also from from my work to if some of them would be interested to come at the European Parliament in November. So I can ask for both.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, that sounds wonderful. And also outside of these meetings we have, if somebody thinks of something, just email me and we’ll decide probably if you are interested, I’m interested. So that would be good. Peter. What’s this? Jim Nielsen.
Brandel Zachernuk: Link.
Bob Horn: It’s a link.
Peter Wasilko: Talking about the mistake Google made and killing off Google Reader and the possibility that all the walled gardens will wind up making search engines. Irrelevant almost because the critical content will all be trapped in unsuitable islands within the net. And it ended with the hope that personal websites would make a comeback. Thank you. Very nice piece.
Frode Hegland: So I’m going to ask Bob a pointed question, and that is for a lot of the real work that we do every day, thinking about this and trying to save the world, what elements are we really looking at? Are we looking at a paper to sites? Are we looking at a piece of data that says this or that? Or are we looking at who knows what? How much is social? How much is cold? And how much is in a document? Do you have any feelings on that?
Bob Horn: Yes. One, it’s the wrong question, but relevant. But but in in a larger fuzzy container of questions, it’s a it’s relevant to what we’re doing it. You know, I’m going to answer it in the way that you might have expected. It depends. And it depends on on on the larger context. Who who is sponsoring, nudging, asking, problematize, ing in a larger institutional situations. Which which at the same time, groups, groups of of creators like this group are starting from another direction. And each of each of at least many of the people in this group have that kind of requirement to be writing academic papers. Although I think not everybody or not even maybe most have that have that part of their context and part of their motivations. So it really depends on on on who’s doing who is doing what and and what what you’re trying to do. I guess that’s that’s a B without. You want me to give a hour long lecture on it? No. So I’ll stop there.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. I was thinking about you personally. Hi, Alan. Yeah. Today we’re talking about connections and relationship and things, but also we’re talking a little bit about the symposium, and very happily.
Bob Horn: She’s coming. Uh huh?
Frode Hegland: She may be coming in person. By the way, who of you will come to London?
Brandel Zachernuk: When?
Frode Hegland: 27th and 28th of September. Bob. Yeah, if you don’t come. Yeah, I was going to say, if you don’t come, I will disconnect you right now. You’re literally 20 minutes away.
Brandel Zachernuk: There’s a small chance that I’ll be in Europe around that time.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, that would be really, really good because day one will be at some fancy venue. We haven’t decided. We’ve got two options that are annoying, but anyway, so that will be with the hybrid monitor and all of that stuff.
Bob Horn: Do you have a write up of a call for attendees to the conference? I haven’t seen it, if I maybe you’ve sent it, but maybe I missed it.
Frode Hegland: Say that again, please.
Bob Horn: I’m sorry. Well, usually there’s a write up of the theme of the conference.
Frode Hegland: Yes, yes, there is. I’ll give you the link.
Bob Horn: Oh, dear. Now I got to rearrange myself because you’ve got.
Brandel Zachernuk: To do that. Oh.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. A future of Texas dot org. Yeah. So, Alan, where we got you in the conversation is reading this book currently. Towards the end of the book, there’s the whole thing about pair learning and the know how the human brain may have developed if it’s big size to deal with other humans. So when someone is asked to deal with a question that is relatively abstract, they will have a low chance of answering it. But if exactly the same question is put into terms of there is a person behind the bar, you know, so it’s a person, suddenly the quality of answers shoot up. Because we have let’s for simplicity, call it modules in our brain that deals with cheating and all kinds of good stuff. So that’s why I’m thinking now in our Communications Connections Day, are there things that we want to do to help people connect? I know that’s LinkedIn and Facebook and social media and all of that stuff. But when we really are doing knowledge work, how much of it is and this is just a question I asked Bob, when you connected. How much of it is. It documents a paper. How much of it is a piece of research, quote, fact, and how much of it is people? Quite a lot of it as people write.
Bob Horn: Because.
Frode Hegland: The people were inviting to the future of text are the people we have access to. If we don’t have access to them, they’re not going to be part of the future of text.
Bob Horn: Well, that’s why I kind of I can answer the question now. Now, you mentioned that the groups that I usually work with are teams like this or teams that are more even more closely connected in different ways in that their organizations are jointly facing and articulated problem in their organizations. So they are there not only as usually experts or quasi experts, but also directors or assistant directors of organizations who are involved frequently. They the organizations in some way or another are in pain. That is they. The expression of pain is we have a problem. So they recognize that somehow their problems are interconnected. So that’s the that’s my answer to the team question you ask a few minutes ago. The connection between people. So then the people. Sometimes if it’s in a locale like at a county level, let’s say in the United States of, say, two or 3 million people, or they already know each other because they’ve been dealing with each other. And somehow the the the joint set of problems has has risen to the point where they’re sort of super their money providers. Anyway, I was going to say supervisors and partial supervisors like the County Board of Supervisors says we’ve got to hire somebody to do something about this, get these people together and figure this out, know we can’t do this as supervisors. So it depends on how people gather. And and you’re right, it is it is a fair amount of personal connection. For example, just just as an example, I ask, do you have a write up of the the upcoming conference and which I expected a paragraph, but I got the general you sent me the general future of text site, which, which doesn’t help me because behind my question was, I wonder what you sent to Jaron Lanier. What description of the conference did you send to him? And the reason I ask that is that probably ten years ago and longer, I had some contact with him in a professional organization, a small professional organization.
Frode Hegland: So it’s really a pertinent question because basically when I invite someone to the future of text, there is it’s about text too. We’ve been doing it for a while. Three Look at all these famous people. That’s basically what I tell people.
Bob Horn: So you’re you’re doing a.
Brandel Zachernuk: Kind of a scattershot approach because you don’t know the context that they’re in. So it’s kind of a better safe than sorry. Right. Like if they’re if they’re going to go to the link and from there evaluate the pedigree of the symposium, you have this. If they’re going to go to the link and understand what is it even what’s its mission.
Frode Hegland: You know, kind of it’s just I feel that, you know, who the hell am I? Nobody. So, you know, me saying, hey, can you come and play with my thing is a bit useless. So credibility needs to be established immediately. So it is like the one I sent to Annie that email starts with. Well, in her case, I can genuinely say I’m a huge fan of your work. I really like this book I think is relevant. And then I say, We’ve been doing this for ten years. We’ve got two books. These are the people that kind of people are involved. Would you like to join us, by the way? Here’s a link. I don’t expect them to necessarily click on the link, but there isn’t your question. Your question and comment was so relevant is the way I sell the symposium is on other people.
Bob Horn: Mm hmm.
Frode Hegland: And the reason I could start the symposium is that the very first one was at the British Library. I had done a small sponsorship of something they were doing, and that’s where I met some people and there was nice and Vint Cerf was in town and Ted Nelson at the same time. So the very first speech of Tech Symposium had both of them. There were maybe 15 people in total in the whole room, including who was there, but it allowed going forward to be part of that. And that’s why the whole thing with the social thing is you want to be connected but not overly connected. Like, you know, look at our group. We don’t even have everybody’s email addresses necessarily. So we’re passionate for 2 hours, twice a week when we can. Sometimes we’re not here fine, but the rest of the time, nothing. That is the rhythm of this group. And there’s nothing wrong with that. You know, we send the old the odd email to inspire thoughts for a discussion and so on. How do we expand that? And by the way, I did a crazy thing yesterday. I used this. I really. I haven’t used it very much for the last few months. There isn’t actually that much that exists that is useful. But yesterday I did a anniversary of.
Bob Horn: Wait a minute, wait a minute. This is going off in another direction at the moment. And I still. If you’re interested and if you’re interested in following my train of thought on Jaron Lanier, then I’d like to go along with that direction. Yeah, but your take, you’re changing the subject and going off in what appears to me at least to be a different direction right now. So do you want to do you want to do any further conversation about Jaron Lanier or not?
Frode Hegland: I don’t think we need to talk about him and specifics. If you’d like to, we can do that. But let me just finish my brief.
Bob Horn: So, you know, it’s up to it’s up to you if you’d like to. I mean, I don’t have to I don’t have to go and offer to contact him or anything like that. But but I might.
Frode Hegland: I am in touch with him via Bob Stein. So that is coming along fine. But as a bigger question on how we contact people, yes, I’d like to discuss that. But the reason I’m mentioning putting on the headset yesterday, when it’s been quite a long time, is the fact that, one, there’s very little useful work stuff in VR already. And two, I found the one of the apps for the anniversary of the moon landing to be really, really impressive. But it was really, really impressive because it represented real places standing on the moon and all of that stuff. So I just wanted to throw it in to the discussion here for our symposium that if we want to do something towards the VR space, even defining what we might want to do is a challenge in and of itself.
Bob Horn: Well, I want to go back to Jaron Lanier, because I know something having had rather close contact with him in small group meetings, like about the size of what we are now or even smaller in his house. My impression is that he’s not interested in the people who will be there in terms of big names or that sort of thing. But he is interested in in some of the the the endeavor of he’s interested in. He would be interested in the endeavor of doing intellect. What kind of intellectual work can be done in virtual reality. And that is the theme that we pursue in this group every so often. And so that’s all it’s all I want to follow up on. Yeah, but I’ll leave it to you. But I don’t particularly want to get involved in it. But but I wanted to say that.
Frode Hegland: No, that makes perfect sense, Bob. And this is what Bob Stein has presented to him. What we do in this group, and that is why he has shown interest. But that is also why I sorry, I went on a tangent, which wasn’t that much of a tangent saying, you know, like, I guess most of you I don’t use VR all that much for work. And if we’re going to talk to someone like invite someone like Jaron Lanier into the group, you know, both Brandel and Fabian have amazing demos to show them an amazing perspective. I mean, if you want to show Brandel, I know there’s issues there, but I think that we’ve had a little over six months in this community where VR has been one of the key topics, and we’re still not really sure about what our Dream VR environment version one would be like. We have ideas for maybe version two or three, but I’m wondering if there’s something specific that you guys are itching to do. We can see if we can find the resources somehow. I think it’s kind of relevant for the discussion, but I’m very happy to go in different directions as well. You know, in a way, VR is pure magic. And as an artist, you know, you sit down with a blank canvas or a blank page. That’s the hardest part of the creative process, right? So there is, of course, that to the nth degree. So what is the key thing we actually want to want to have? Is it moving a document around? Is it a mural? And I’m very much leaning towards mural because murals are deceptively simple. So much comes out of it as what you build. Brandel Is it the social aspect? Is it the connected aspect? These are questions that I think we could find some real meat on if we discuss.
Brandel Zachernuk: If that’s a question that you’re putting to people. One of the things that I think would be really great is the. Composition of an artifact that represents somebodies process of consuming or digesting a text. The So a book is an object, but reading a book is not an object. The process by which somebody gets the information into their head is not a trackable and understandable thing. And it would be good if it was. We don’t we don’t create objects as a consequence of that. It’s a little bit clearer, maybe easier to think about the way that we listen to a podcast or a lecture in that we are in a place and there’s sort of apparently sort of external stimulus in the form of sound at at a time, in a place. But it’s not something that we sort of take note of beyond the fact that it is this recording. But the process of observing something is as important as the object itself. And I mean, it’s basically like in Photoshop and Illustrator, you have an undo. Q You have the ability to step backward and forward through it, but it doesn’t extend to changes to The View. When you zoom in on something that’s not an encoded component of the cube and that’s wrong.
Brandel Zachernuk: And taking that idea more conceptually through to a concept context in which you record things like the scroll level or the scroll depth of a of a page over time, or the manipulation of a more complex hyper object, like a connected graph, it becomes clearer that if there are more nuanced ways in which somebody has to augment and change their view, then it becomes necessary for them to to have a record of that. But that’s something that I’d like to see as well as the the. A rendering as a distinct object of the creation of a text as distinct from the text itself. Again, applications rush to the finish line in terms of rendering and creating an object. When the process whereby that object was created has every bit of relevance, it’s very difficult to delineate what is important about aspects of people’s activity as they do that. But it would be my preference to just hold on to the whole kitchen sink in order to make sure that what it was that somebody was really doing when they were doing this task is accessible and and respectable. Yeah, I think that the more people realize that, the, the better our ability to make use of immersive space will be.
Frode Hegland: That’s very, very interesting about the process. Now, a question to throw out there. What do you guys make these days? What I mean is, do you produce academic documents, memos, books, documents? What is your work product look like? The reason I ask is a little bit loaded with I think one of the important work products we have is, as we’ve discussed a lot lately, our record. And what that record means. Like Alan has taken some of our conversations and put it in a really interesting knowledge graph. Some of it is this video recording. What do you consider to be one of the most important part of your knowledge, product or production that you may want to augment?
Brandel Zachernuk: I can. Take a different view and the. Oh, go ahead, Peter.
Peter Wasilko: Well, I’ve been doing a lot of yak shaving. Currently, I’m working on code in crystal that will run in parallel on multiple cores to ingest Tinderbox. Files so that I can do a script and work on the tinderbox file content. And in order to do that, I want to get to a point where I can be using Tinderbox as a literate programming environment so the tinderbox can be generating code that will be run through the. Tech environment in order to produce typeset documentation. It will be kept in phase with the code that I’m working on in my programming project to build prototypes that will be running on the web. So I have multiple layers that are running on top of each other, and I really want to get better literate programming tools that will actually like have a user interface and some visualizations attached to them to make that work feasible. And that work is part of another layer because I want to build a custom markup notation for the text book that I want to write to instruct law students on computer science topics. So we have several layers of tooling and then like three or four levels down at the moment trying to build the tools that I wish I had to build, the tools that I’m trying to build, to build those tools.
Brandel Zachernuk: Wow.
Frode Hegland: That was not a simple answer, but interesting. Back back to you, Ellen.
Brandel Zachernuk: Well, this is a slightly different take. But it has been something I’ve been writing about lately, and it does apply. I realized that. Even this even goes back to the Apple Notes meme. Very, very often products are made with an assumption of a stable environment.
Frode Hegland: Yes.
Brandel Zachernuk: And. Very often, stunningly, often are. Our situations are not stable. So. I’ve come up with two terms to explain some classes of instability. Sinkholes. That’s why in C. And and my fault lines a sinkhole is a sense of just save you save something to read later and it doesn’t sync across your devices but it can also be a sinkhole is like, oh, I had a tagging schema, I had an ontology in mind, but I can’t pull it in my own head. There’s a sinkhole that happens internally, right. And then versus a fault line, which is I know what I’m supposed to do. I just don’t want to do it right or I don’t process. This happens a lot with my responsibilities at work, which is very a lot of it is, I would say cargo cultish. We do these things because we’re supposed to do these things. And so I have a difficult time maintaining or following that process. That’s my fault, or it’s the fault of the people upstream from me who created a process that’s far away from my heuristics, whatever. But I bring that up because that has I didn’t realize how fundamentally that that precarity and hedging my bets has come into play with any kind of knowledge management system or process that I have. The first thing that I put in place is a dual system.
Bob Horn: Of what’s.
Brandel Zachernuk: Practical. Pragmatically, if I save like a link I find or something on Twitter, I’m going to save it in two places every time. One is kind of just like the chaos zone, and another is a place where I might actually refine it curated a little bit more, but I can’t trust that either one on their own is always going to work, right? So there’s a duplication of effort that is necessary. And and I don’t think that those aspects, the instability of having so many ecosystems ever gets discussed enough.
Bob Horn: But but it creates a.
Brandel Zachernuk: Sense of tension and, and prevents adoption or experimentation until you can get stable enough. A lot of the the thought leaders in this space come from a situation that seems far more stable than mine. So they can say, here’s how to take notes on a book that you read, you know? But my situation, to get to your exact question is as the as the resident expert for a wide range of APIs and technologies and policies, I have to be able to pull that information very quickly on the call and and give a context and come up with a solution. And I can only do that if I have a deeply well, I attempt to do that with my note taking system. But yeah, there it is. Those are my thoughts.
Frode Hegland: That’s really fantastic. And I have my hand off so I’m allowed to talk even though I do. So this goes back to our record, I think, because in knowledge management there are two given dimensions, time and people. Well, of course people may change location and names and all kinds of stuff, but it’ll essentially be the same person. So if we look at how sometimes we will create a document or a mural or a poster, or we will produce a stable artifact when we have the time, the effort and the reason and inclination to do so. That may go into a journal or other place. But a lot of the important stuff of our knowledge is casual, like this meeting today. Right and things change, our positions change and so on. That’s why I think that trying to look at connections within our own knowledge, individual knowledge stream and how we’re intertwined with different community knowledge streams is worthwhile. And the issue of RSS feeds, which came up in the link discussion higher up is really important because newsgroups provided mechanisms for some of this blogs kind of dead. And now, of course, we’re living in environments that don’t really talk to each other, as you’re saying. Ellen But one of the things we have is plain text on YouTube. I really think that this is probably something that the technology giants are looking at because it’s all about social and so on. But we’re also looking at the power of AI to do some kind of pattern finding. And when we’re looking at the opportunities for VR, for spatial representation of our knowledge, just having a room that the six of us can walk into now. To look at our discussions and how it’s been shaped over the last year and a half. That’s going to be really central to our work, even if we’re trying at the end of it, to have an academic PDF or whatever it might be. Right, guys? Or is that just fluff?
Bob Horn: Well, I offered know, one of the ways that a room like that might be populated is in part not completely and only provisionally with various. Information murals that might be emerging. I propose, and since I’m probably the only one who’s done something like that here. Although all of you have done a lot of the intellectual work that goes into into this, I, I sent around a set of notes that, that I, I transferred from my notebook into a well now a PDF that was done in an illustrator of how I would begin to be starting to create a mural about part of what we were talking about last time or two times ago. I was able only to send it to a few of you because I only have the email addresses of a few of you. For example, I do not today have Peters or Allen’s email addresses, so I couldn’t have sent it to them. And I don’t know whether Frota takes it upon himself to if I forward something like that to someone that to to forward it to other people in the group. So I don’t know. So those are so. And what I what I suggested in creating this set, it’s a set of notes starting to be visual while I amplify them a little bit visually. But it would give you an idea of how I think we think together in part by my taking notes and beginning to maybe make an information mural. I don’t have to make a make an information mural out of this. It’s a lot of work. I usually get paid a lot for doing that. And so unless people are interested in following that sort of thing, I’m not going to do it. But I might do it if if there were interest in the group and support, not support financially. No. I know a couple of you. Peter and Alan can’t even address it. And I don’t know what other people have looked at it, so I don’t know. I’m sitting here in a in an in stable situation. Alan. A very unstable situation at the moment.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah.
Frode Hegland: I mean, I vote for for doing that. But of course, that is on the side of the editorial and edited aspect of knowledge generation and it is relatively stable. So absolutely fine to do something like that and. I’m also kind of looking at how it relates to sources like, excuse me, what we’re doing now, because there are so many kind of nuggets in these conversations and it’s beginning to really bother me that they kind of get lost in the the river of YouTube time. So how can they integrate with a mural results and other results?
Bob Horn: Well, what I do is pick out the nuggets insofar as I’m capable of doing that while while discussion is on the fly and I put it in a somewhat stable situation for people to correct and add and delete and other things if if such a meeting of that kind is facilitated. If it’s not, it just sits there. It has to be followed on. And, and in my view, we are trying to create structures of different kinds, realizing that they’re not that they won’t be last for all to be stable for all time or last for all time. But unless we have some structures that we’re working on and contributing jointly to, then we’re just then we just have a series of one conversation after another. It has to have goals and agreement on goals. And, and and you have to ask somebody, the chairman of the meeting, the facilitator of the meeting has to ask, are we in agreement? This is what we’re going to do or are we not in agree or not? That’s fine. I’m I’m happy with whatever is agreed. But if it if it’s if we’re just tracking a discussion, well, then we’re just tracking a discussion and I may tune in when I want to or not. That’s kind of the attitude that I have.
Frode Hegland: Bob, what would you like the topic of this to be?
Bob Horn: Go ahead, somebody else.
Brandel Zachernuk: I was just going to say, I think that based on the material that Bob has produced, that’s fairly clear. I think the discussion that we were having a couple of weeks ago has some pretty interesting momentum behind it. I haven’t gone through all of the materials recently just because I’ve been scrambling to figure out how to do my new job. But but I think in terms of how we understand those relationships. Right. Pick it up. Open it up. Is that there’s a lot of stuff there.
Frode Hegland: So is that what you’d like to have a curated discussion on Bob and to create a mural on different kinds of relationships as you emailed? Is that what you’re thinking about?
Bob Horn: Um. I would. I would. I have. I have experienced. Creating something together with a with a goal and a purpose will help helps at least me and you. And usually I find others who are. You know, it helps helps them stabilize some of their thinking for a while and also gives them a chance to jointly agree on on some changes.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, I think that’s worthwhile. But in terms of what this community is and does, you know, we have 12 years well, 11 years of future tax symposium recordings. We have two books. We have many journals and the journals aren’t being read yet. It is absolutely fine because the people who care are the people who are actually in the meetings. So nothing wrong with that. But if we create a poster or mural on a specific knowledge aspect, the question then becomes how that fits into the community and what we’re communicating. And this is why I think that to do knowledge work, to support our own communities so that other people and ourselves have access to what we’ve been going through, would be connected to what you’re saying. I’m completely in agreement that we should do sessions that you’re talking about. I’m just wondering how it fits into the longer dialogue, because when I did the first future of textbook, it’s absolutely ridiculously massive. I did very, very little editing. I wanted a lot of people to have their views in there and it becomes much skipping about to read. So the question becomes more and more on how do we support the human community to be part of our dialogue? I think. And I think Alan has points on that. You know, we talked about mailing lists and all kinds of things a while ago. So now, you know, what is the point of our community? Is it to develop a new set of knowledge constructs? Is it to highlight issues? Is it to inspire? I think that comes into it a bit.
Bob Horn: Which community?
Frode Hegland: The future of text community.
Bob Horn: Several hundred people who contributed or who have been participated in meetings. Is that the community you’re talking about?
Frode Hegland: Primarily, yes, but more of the core community. Quite a lot of people contributed to the books and to the symposium. Come give a piece of knowledge and leave. Which is absolutely fine. It means we get a really broad range of people. But I’m also thinking. But. You know.
Bob Horn: When you went from them, what do you what are you wanting from them now?
Frode Hegland: This minute I don’t want anything more from them. But what I want to do is personally, selfishly, for my own perspective of the things that I’m doing, how it comes together. The book and the journal will be quite important because I want more people to be involved in dealing with the questions that we’re dealing with. And that means upping the quality of the interaction with that information. You know, we have to do a little bit of marketing and say, hey, come on, look at our journal. Hey, come on, look at our book, look at the symposium. But there’s got to be more there right now. And I think this is a good thing right now. It’s very indulgent. It’s a bunch of people talking about something they care about, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But how can we take that honest indulgence and shape it in such a way that it has wider, wider reach and inspiration? The goal of the community to me is twofold. One, for people to have a bit more appreciation, that text is fundamentally powerful, but it can also be improved. It’s not something invented four and a half thousand years ago or whatever, and it’s stable. It just happens. We have copy and paste now. But in order to do that, we need to walk the walk a little bit.
Frode Hegland: So, you know, we’re trying to do specific things. And that’s why it would be amazing. Let’s say on the next symposium, we have at least a session where there are some things in VR for those who want to go into it. Otherwise they can view it on screens, of course, or a little bit of a new way of looking at it. Because when the Oculus new version comes out and the Apple headset comes out, I know one thing for sure that some of the social business stuff will be done by them not necessarily brilliantly, not necessarily solved, but they will have amazing meeting rooms and they will have really cool ways to get stuff later. But to be able to properly record and then do a normal human polish or edits. And then ways to extract that in the future so someone can walk in the door. And I mean, look at Brandel and his new job. What was the documentation for his job? It was years worth of Slack. All right. And maybe that can be our case study. How do you help any community on board? I hate that term, but there you go. On board a new person by giving them a really powerful, flexible access to the knowledge the community has generated.
Bob Horn: So you don’t know what you want yet here.
Frode Hegland: I know what the question is, but I don’t know what the answer is. No, because then we can just build it.
Brandel Zachernuk: I agree. I think perhaps even where what Bob’s picking up on is. And what you mentioned about sort of self indulgent. I don’t know that there is a problem formulation. Yet. So, so even steps before a hypothesis or anything like that, just saying.
Bob Horn: Here.
Brandel Zachernuk: Here’s how we’re going to. Here are the parts that we find that are irrelevant to our focus. And here’s the level at which here’s how we’re going to frame the question so as to get rid of all these distracting bits and and then either the frames correct or not. But. You know, it seems like like the the interest. The broad interest in this topic comes from a feeling that there is a problem that has yet to be expressed, but that we all sense and it crosses a ton of domains. Vr being one part of it, the question would be what problem does VR solve? Which I know we’ve addressed and talked about, but. But on the others, I missed the part where you’re talking about connections and what was mentioned in the extended mind.
Peter Wasilko: But if it’s about.
Brandel Zachernuk: Storytelling and context, you know, that is a totally different angle for text, but it’s a very critical one if we’re talking about comprehension. Yeah.
Frode Hegland: So the thing is, for the social aspect of what we’re doing in our meetings, it is really, really important because we are helping each other thought at least are each other’s thought process. At least you guys are helping me, that’s for sure. There are many things that come up here that I may not immediately respond to, but then it’s like, Oh, hang on, this is really, really important. What we get when we produce a knowledge product explicitly, it’s very polished, but it’s of course, missing stuff. So the problem statement is, are we having these meetings just because it’s nice to talk about something we care about? Or are we also trying to provide the means through which nuggets, as we see it at the time, can be put on? We put in a form that is more easily accessible for something somewhat coming into the community. Like the example of Brandel going through years of slack. Or someone having to imagine something having to watch all our YouTube videos. A lot of it is really boring nonsense. You know, maybe 90, 95%. You know, and the very, very basic thing of like we talked about an app so many times of press a button when you think it’s an interesting bit and it marks it and does all that stuff.
Frode Hegland: Then if we were to do something like that, when you’re in a VR environment, what is the benefit of VR? Is it quite simply that you can have more knowledge representations to look at? Most definitely. That’s one aspect. And on the by the way, on the 27th of September, the evening after the future of text, I’m hosting Vint Cerf and his wife Sigrid for dinner at home. So unfortunately it won’t be a community dinner, but they wanted somewhere really quiet and that is what I’m going to ambush and put the headset on, I said. So, you know, we better have a few things ready for him to see and just get a feeling it’s not going to be more than half an hour. I mean, it’s after a busy day. He’s getting old and, you know, he wants to eat his dinner. But what is what do we want to show in there? Can we give some impression of, wow, here is a community and have access to these different aspects of it.
Bob Horn: I will translate that. And you can correct me into I want this group to help me put together a demo for Vint.
Frode Hegland: That will be one aspect. Yes. In the same way that we look at Randall’s painful new job experience in terms of documentation, we could also say that, yes, Vint Cerf, who doesn’t care about VR or a lot of knowledge stuff but clearly cares about the bigger issues. He could be a great case study. For putting on the headset and having an old experience.
Bob Horn: What do other people want to do?
Frode Hegland: That’s the question.
Bob Horn: Right. I’m asking it. I’m asking it very directly. I hope to get some. Maybe not everybody answers, but I hope somebody will answer it.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah. So my my. What I want out of this group generally is an opportunity to. Refine my thinking about what text and text and productivity and in novel computing, spatial computing environments and the environments that we can expect to experience in the next 50 years should be premised on. And I introduced the art of this group as a stepping stone to what I think is the more sort of persistent computing surface environment, whatever you want to call it, that we will likely got a big box. We all have that box idea.
Bob Horn: Just didn’t I didn’t get the joke. I didn’t get the joke. Brandel, could you.
Brandel Zachernuk: Oh, sorry.
Bob Horn: I’m sorry. I know it’s terrible. It’s terrible to have to explain a joke or something, but.
Brandel Zachernuk: But I guess I’ve had to explain. It has a very large box full of virtual reality related hardware and headsets. Oh. And anybody who’s been playing with this stuff has a graveyard of all of those different devices and pieces of computing hardware that have been important to explore and experiment with. But ultimately, they’re not where they should be to make things work. I have a number of Microsoft connects this time of flight sensor that people use for body tracking. I have Toby trackers and several head mounted displays, the first of which I probably purchased in 2011. Just just like I said, it’s a technology graveyard of a very particular kind because of all of our experiments. Okay. You. No, no, not at all. I think I think it’s I think it’s worthwhile to call out. And my apologies for using it as a shorthand, but he was just lifting it up. I don’t know what his intention is for it, but he’ll he’ll get to it. But yeah. So my my intention is to I think it’s also to seek inspiration or low hanging fruit of things that I can build and demonstrate for the benefit of other people to an awareness that this is an acute need for people to be considering, and in particular, people who have a stronger background in more of the informational or discursive aspects of text.
Brandel Zachernuk: Because while I don’t think it’s unreasonable to call myself an expert in VR at this point, I certainly don’t have the background in marketing and advertising, but the process of argumentation, mapping, information mapping, all of these things are very, very important, distinct fields of investigation and interest. And I just want to make sure that the people like you and people like Peter and Broda are aware that virtual reality, to the extent that it exists, is not just a fad. It’s something that has the ability to be fundamentally transformative to our way of computing and and to to make sure that that thinking is in line with where that technology is. So that, one, it’s not behind. And two, it has the opportunity to continue to progress the state of the art, because a number of the people involved in the development of that technology are pretty intellectually bankrupt with regard to what they actually think it’s for. If you talk to people at Meta many of the time, many of the many times the the the ideas that they have for what the platform is are just orders of magnitude worse than what we can come up with within a five minute discussion here. So. Totally make. I would piggyback on that Brandel and say that one of the things that.
Brandel Zachernuk: That I look for. Of course it’s just a conversation. But. But the. I think the norm has been in the tech industry and all the various amazing, fun things. Is is a silo of a confusion of form and content where, for instance, with video games. And VR. Vr is the form and the content of video games is what fills up the bucket. That kind of thinking when in fact the form can do many other things. And so that sort of questioning of what are the what’s the material of the forms that we’re looking at? Is there a difference between a between PDF and Twitter, or are they variations of the same thing? Right. That’s the sort of thing that I would like to get a better understanding of, because I think if we can make any kind of progress and that sort of formulation of of these tools, then we can break out of the trenchant rituals of how we make products today. Knowledge products. We don’t have the ammunition to convince people of a different way of thinking. And there seems to only be a few people out there who want it or a lot of people want it, but. It hasn’t surfaced into words yet. And so I I’d like to see ways for that to surface into words and murals and material. Yeah.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. Peter.
Peter Wasilko: Yeah. I’m also curious about the use of VR for software visualizations, particularly visualizations of programs while they’re executing as opposed to just representations of static source code. Also, I’m thinking about the need for VR experiences to be calm as opposed to having that coming at you feel that a lot of demos tend to have where they’re trying to exploit the three dimensions, and it’s really like the old 3D movies that first came out where they’d have stuff flying at your face and all and would wind up causing a chaotic, nauseating experience as opposed to a common experience. So can we use three dimensions, but use them in a way that doesn’t put us in a state of mental disarray?
Frode Hegland: So that makes sense, Fabian.
Bob Horn: Yeah. So I’m here with my big box of old stuff. And you. You don’t want to know what I was searching for, but because I want to be provoked. That includes showcasing some of the demo, including some of the stuff that I’ve done, like literally minutes before the meeting without really having to explain too much, like, you know, what text is, you know what VR is, you know what metadata is, you know, knowledge, work, all this. So this is to me, that’s the intersection of all this. Let’s say that’s interesting how to interface with it, how to play with it. Most of the time. I don’t know how I don’t know what I’m doing, but then I know that you guys will know and criticize it. So to me, that’s that’s the very the most valuable aspect. And then yes, the more general aspect is what is text. I still think that’s a pretty deep and interesting question. That’s why we if I’m thinking of presenting something, to be honest, I’m thinking let’s say. Computational notebooks. Or to me the most powerful way to learn about the topic. So I think it’s more interesting than VR. It might be also with VR, but like if I were to present and focus on what would have an impact on people, not what I find technically interesting and revolving around text. It would probably be computational notebooks instead. So yeah, that’s a bit both to why I’m here, what I’m interested in there, what I find is valuable for me and eventually for others. Would you send me something about computational notebooks via email? Yeah. Pleasure. Thank you. Because I don’t know much about that.
Peter Wasilko: Could you see me on that, too?
Bob Horn: Well, I mean, at some point I suggest we do a meeting where we or we go through a professional notebook together, because, again, that’s the whole point is it’s not reading it to describing it is playing with the content itself. So I’ll, I’ll think I’ll send email eventually. But I think it’s better if we, we do like an active session all together. Yeah.
Frode Hegland: I think that’s really, really interesting. So a couple of things. Number one, can we do it on Monday or Friday? Let’s not push it off too far. Where you hosted Fabian.
Bob Horn: Yeah. Okay. Monday.
Frode Hegland: Monday. Cool. Second thing is the thing that I keep banging on about, which is this community has to be fun and nice. No one’s paid to be here. We don’t have any obligation to make anything. But we still interesting things still come up. So this thing on Monday that Fabian is going to walk us through computational notebooks. Does anyone have thoughts on that kind of a meeting? What should the record be? Right. We’re going to have a video. I can do an automatic text transcription. It takes a while to go through and label. Fine, but what would the dream be? Let’s say in a few weeks someone comes into this conversation and they mentioned computational notebooks and one of us say, Oh, yeah, Fabian took us through that. Have a look at. So what should we tell them to have a look at?
Bob Horn: To me, it’s, let’s say a one minute video. It’s like a summary so that they can. Ideally, a one liner and then a one minute video, a summary, and then some timeline. Let’s say 5 minutes in. We talked about the general concept, 12 minutes in. We talked about and when they click, they go there. So one liner description. So it’s say the title of a one minute video and that the video has timestamps that people can jump through. To me, that that’s what makes the content accessible.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, I agree with that. And that comes under the editorial presentation of it. But let’s say that Bob has a really interesting insight or a question, you know, an hour and a half into that session. What how do we make that to use that horrible term? How do we surface that for someone coming in? How do we do that kind of an edit? Is it purely the transcript with the highlighted bolds or is it a video thing or what do we do? This is a great case.
Brandel Zachernuk: I’m going to say something and then I got to and then I have to go. But I think what I would like and this is is close to Bob’s specialty. And I think it is also the kind of thing that would have lasting value isn’t so much about know. Capturing all our various thoughts and questions. But. Perfect example is the term computational notebooks. Right. I’m sure there’s at least five other phrases that mean roughly the same thing I call Jupyter Notebooks is what I was my my handy one. But there’s also explorable explainable ways and then there’s different that’s related to explainer videos. Right? So there’s a there’s a. A question of what is and isn’t a computational, what are the features of a what are its values? And then based on that decomposing the little what are things that are similar that may have different names? And to me that’s valuable even in a map format of a way to say like, hey, the thing that we’re talking about, the value that we’re talking about doesn’t have to be called computational notebooks. It’s also seen in this sort of inactive way and this and this medium and that medium, etc. That’s the kind of thing that as a if we had a format or a something reliable as as an artifact from these meetings, it would be a kind of a gradual growth of synthesizing all these various technologies and approaches into something that someone can navigate.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. Nice.
Bob Horn: Just the synthesizing is a good subject, but it involves curating and editing and stabilizing. Yes. And if that’s something that is not wanted or is is downplayed in this group, then we’re not going to have it. If we’re if we’d like to have it, then it has to do with selection, creation of structures. They may not be perfect structures, but some sort of stable structures which can then be critiqued. And I and hopefully, in my view, visualize to some degree and so forth. But what I suggest to do then is on Monday at the let’s say one hour at the end of the workshop, I will or someone else will try to do a one minute summary live, and that will be one way to synthesize. It will definitely not be perfect, but it’s already a hook, let’s say, for somebody who hasn’t been to the event. Just the thing I wanted to show, that’s why I shared my screen is. So that’s a video of. Two clips I gave on the topic. And then I’m sure some people are familiar with this on YouTube, but if you click on a link, it puts you there like at the moment in the video. And I think, for example, what you were asking if some at some point above will make an interesting question, how do you interface it? So we can have two things. We can have the timetable or the table of content, let’s say, for the video itself that is easily accessible, but also events, let’s say tricky question like Q&A. Interesting point. So that’s one way to surface it. You have that and you just need the timestamp and a line of text or can be a timestamp and let’s say the transcript.
Frode Hegland: What we do have in our transcripts is timestamps for when the Q&A starts and lots of things like that already. But I’m wondering, I’m just going to share my screen here. So here is our website. It would probably be nice if we work together a little bit on having these different resources available here because we have. For instance, here in our community, there is our chat log. Every single chat is logged. Here we have general resources that people have posted and then we have the archive on YouTube which starts.
Brandel Zachernuk: Reading and.
Frode Hegland: Stop it. Which unfortunately starts with the first video, which is ridiculous, you know. Here they are. Here’s the most recent one, but it would probably be good if we had a. Exactly what you’re talking about, Fabian. We have a place here because we did start putting up transcripts and stuff, but no one read them. So I think we should exactly do what’s being discussed now. Spend a little bit of time doing the kind of curation that Bob is talking about, having the kind of links that Fabian is talking about. So when someone comes into the community, we even have like a glossary of terms page for some of these things that Alan mentioned. You know, it’s the same thing, but this is how and here is a link, but we’ve got to start putting some of it. Together. I see your hand, Peter. Sorry.
Peter Wasilko: Yeah. With respect to the computational notebooks, I’d like to see us take a stab at building a bare minimum skeletal notebook. So let’s set aside all the substance of what any given language in the notebook does. What at its absolute core would be the minimal functionality. And how could you put a framework that people could add plugins on top of that to bring in other instances of it? So it might simply consist of having a framework that would go and maybe write a source code, file off onto the disk, then run some command line shell tool to process that pull in the result of that file and then re display it within the notebook context and then focus on how we’d want to be linking elements within the notebook and how we’d want to be applying metadata on top. Because I think that’s where we can be adding value as opposed to, you know, running a simple fragment in the notebook.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. But then we kind of have to decide, are we going to make a notebook format? Are we going to use one that exists and how are we going to get adoption of that? There’s a lot of issues that come up under that. And then also can some of it be done in HTML or visual matter or whatever? So well worth thinking about, but complicated?
Peter Wasilko: Yeah, definitely. The visual component would be really important. We would want to see visual matter get adopted by computational communities.
Frode Hegland: Well, it would help surface some of the content. I think that would be really interesting. Fabian.
Bob Horn: Yeah, it’s true, because Bobby’s not familiar with it. So I just want to take a minute to share my screen and show, because we keep on repeating competition notebook, but one of us is not familiar with, so there is no need for suspense. I’ll just take 2 minutes. So that’s that looks like a normal article about a topic doesn’t really matter can be about anything but so we can just read it. Some parts are interactive. I’m not sure where you can play with it. So it’s a little bit more interesting than a typical article. But what’s so I think that’s the interaction. Yeah. So I can play with it. So that’s already quite interesting. But what makes it special is that I can click on it and see the code and it’s competition in the sense that I’ll, I’ll make a mistake just to show. And you see the code has been executed again. So it’s computational because it intertwines a code, of course, but it’s not code that you just look at. You can run it right away so that if you have an idea or if you don’t understand, you messed it up. And it’s broken. So you know that that’s a step. You can slice it however you want. And it’s a notebook in the sense that it’s not just code. Like you don’t have straight up this, you have an explanation, which is a why, what is the doom? Why is it interesting to merge it, let’s say in some way we split it.
Bob Horn: So that’s the intertwine of both code and texts, and it’s competition in the sense that I don’t have to ask anybody’s permission. And to give a practical example, the other day I was looking at the list of the densest city on on Earth One. The first one in Belgium is a couple of kilometers away. And I was curious about the Belgium order but you can sort by city so I use someone else competition notebook it explain how to take data out of Wikipedia. I loaded that table specifically and then I put instead Belgium and I could put Nepal or whatever other country and then I can run it again and see the results. So in Nepal there is only one. But anyway, the point is into 20 texts with code to learn about the topic and being able to modify the code on the spot. So that’s the 2 minutes, I hope. Introduction to your competition notebooks. Thank you. You’re welcome. That would be something that in the in the groups that I work with would be regarded as work that or a usefulness to teams to two staff members of the directors who I’m working with. They would probably not be in the room. For most of the synthesis discussions.
Brandel Zachernuk: Okay.
Bob Horn: And I’m not dismissing it. I’m saying I’m thinking that’s quite an amazing thing to be able to for people who can can change the code to be able to change the code. However, it’s not something that I’m going to do ever.
Frode Hegland: Well, actually, Bob Fabian showed it from one perspective. Another perspective. And this is very bright, Victor, like in the plain text, you should be able to have, let’s say, the mortgage rate so-and-so and have some number than a dollar value, whatever should be able to select any of those numbers and change them without having to touch any code. And that will update the equation, which can then either be just a number that changes or it can be a graphic that changes.
Bob Horn: Oh, that would that would be helpful.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. The potential is absolutely, insanely vast and it’s held back by all kinds of nonsense at the moment.
Frode Hegland: So let me ask you guys. I’m sorry, Brandel.
Brandel Zachernuk: I was going to show you this if you want to if you want to talk so you can see my screen here. Yeah. Yep. So this is this is a notebook, essentially, in that sort of form. Bob, this is made by Victor. It’s and it’s explorable. It’s mostly essay, but a number of these things are actually interactive. So here you can click on the source. That’s sort of a standard hypertext thing. But here it’s showing this was a mid the mid teens or 2015 or so. What would be the appropriate draw down of our budget at various rates and when we’ve sort of gone over the tipping point? So you can sort of move this around to see just how drastic that drawdown is. And you’re modifying this by virtue of clicking and dragging rather than having to change the code. I haven’t the the one that I wanted to show, which was like the interest rate thing that my scrolling there, there is a buyback program in here. So so here it says say we say we allocate $3 billion for the following program. Car owners trade in an old car that gets less than 17. Pj If I change this to you, can click and drag on these and say, if we increase that to $6 billion, then we can see the way that it changes all of these numbers here and reduce that down so that it’s only ten miles per gallon that changes those values as well. So. So the manner in which. The manner in which this can give insight is is slightly more freeform, but it’s exposed in a way that means that while I agree that the people in the room, so to speak, might not be preparing this document, it’s not implausible for them to have this as a as a calculator for being able to discuss the impacts of changing some of those parameters within the context of, of of a proposal.
Bob Horn: Yeah, you’re right. They’re doing that right now with Kristen Cinema from Arizona in the Senate. Some of some staff members are doing that herself. And and Schumer and and other others are doing that.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah. So that’s great. So this this this document is simultaneously about climate change, but also about computational notebooks largely before. So this is this is seven years old or so now. So largely before the the tools or the concepts were in common parlance. So I don’t know that it was the singular document that was responsible for it, but it’s but it’s one that sort of drives it. And so a lot of scientific computing is done this way now where people will be sort of writing their process and sorting data as and where necessary and then creating things what’s not currently quite as popular as providing those level handles. But I think that that’s just a matter of time and the sophistication of the tools and recognition that they can play different roles to different audiences in the sort of computational geometry space. I have a friend who I’m not sure if I’ve shown you things like my cake. I will go because it’s relevant, even if it seems flippant. So. I’ll just look that up. So I one of the things that I do is part of a kind and one piece of that art is this this kind of cake. And this isn’t just a 3D model that I made a 3D modeling package. It’s a it’s a whole sort of family of cakes such that you can change the radius, the number of layers, so that it’s very tall. You can change that. The twist on the candles. So all of these things are sort of computationally generated. You can change the words. So it’s. But if you think that would be a nice thing to make a case about. And yeah, a lot of people build. So this is a relatively straightforward dashboard to be able to use.
Brandel Zachernuk: But the process of actually building this was just standard code, but also it could be this dashboard. But it’s easier even by putting some of these handles on the document itself within the sort of the geometry world there are like Trimble, they make a program called SketchUp and and Autodesk. They make AutoCAD and all of those programs. They are investing in building tools that are allow people to create objects with those kinds of parameters of form and then to create systems to create those creators. So what that thing is is called a configurator. And what what they’re building in Trimble now are meta configurations that are where you have the ability to sort of compose some kind of procedural or parametric model for the visualization of an object and then be able to provide sort of different levels of detail for the visual dashboards, potentially even including objects in situ, effectively in the animation world that we call them animation rigs where you might have objects that encode how much somebody is smiling and things, and they’re very valuable for the expressive offering of those things. But I feel like a lot of those techniques have a broader relevance as soon as people kind of discover them and look forward to trying to diffuse them into as many other contexts as possible. Yeah, but I would say that they have a lot in common actually with with explorable or computational notebooks. And so far as they’re sort of intermingling visual representations of data and the data themselves and observations about that data. And so the messier we can get and sort of commingling all of those concepts, the more powerful tools become.
Peter Wasilko: I just dropped three links in the sidebar to the documentation for the informed seven interactive fiction environment, which itself is a set of interlinked computational notebooks. The first one is the general documentation page. The second two are the start pages of the two cross linked manuals, the first of which follows a programming, language oriented looking at the technology, and the second, which provides a thematic guide to what you can achieve using the environment. So if you’re a writer, you use the second book of your programmer, you use the first book, and at each point in the book it cross links to the corresponding documentation and the other book. So if you’re looking in an example of how Lock’s work, the example of locking a room would link you back to the computational structures in the informal language that allow you to build locks and specialize them in the first manual, and you can jump between them. And if you look at the documentation in the informed seven environment itself, the actual samples will load in a side panel alongside the documentation panel so that you can execute the code. Then there’s also a visualization system called The Skin that allows you to look at your path through the interactive text simulation, which is basically sort of a time travel debugging system, allowing you to step back and look at how a sequence of code operations progressed, bless certain paths within the intended result so that you can spot whether your code change is cause a deviation from how the rest of the code is running. Very, very interesting system and be thought of again as a programming environment. Or is the writing environment.
Frode Hegland: Right. So on a non programming environment, I’m just going to play some text into the chat there. So we know roughly when these meetings start, they usually start on the dots unless I’m off by a minute or two. So what I’ve done kind of as a test for us is one hour and 26 minutes into this, Fabian introduced computational notebooks, so it shouldn’t be that much effort for me. Then later on to turn that into a time based link into the YouTube video. Below that there is Brandel shows another perspective and there is a link to the resource. He looked at all of this isn’t that complicated? It doesn’t take too much time for me to do it. My question to the community is, once that is done, where do you want to see it? Do you want to see it? On our website under a every meeting has a post. You want to see it in our PDF journal, you want to see it in VR. This is really the key point. Where do we go back ourselves and where do we send others to look at highlights from our work?
Bob Horn: Youtube.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. But not only YouTube, right?
Fabien Benetou: I mean, you can embed YouTube videos or I think I think videos everybody likes. It’s a pretty popular format. You just like to have a video without a title except the date. For most people who don’t are truly passionate or trust, it is inaccessible. So I think YouTube might not be enough, but it’s definitely a good place to start at least. And eventually we can find a place to search through. But I.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah. The way sorry I was going to agree with you. It kind of the video is the best initial source of truth. But one of the things that I would like to see is an inversion of a couple of things. So one thing would be the YouTube videos do an automatic transcript generation. It’s flawed, whatever, but a view. It would be possible to build this out of a build a bookmarklet. And when I say look, to be inspired to do stuff, that’s something that I might actually invest time in doing is to build a basically a bookmarklet something that you can click on your your safari window or whatever that inverts sort of the scale and real estate of things so that you have a YouTube video. And then the running transcript has a fairly large panel next to it such that it would be cool because I feel like the, the technical sort of handles all of the pieces that are the most relevant are present within the YouTube video and the transcript or between the two. But the fact that YouTube believes that it’s for the video is a problem that can be rectified with hacking the page.
Frode Hegland: Sorry. I’m just trying to make my hand fit. Okay, so here’s the challenge then. It wasn’t that difficult for me to do that, but it would be nice if maybe just as a social thing, if you guys just write. And when you do write something in the chart, if you want to highlight something someone has said, write the time code. And by the time card, all I mean is we assume the meeting starts at four UK time. Right. So let’s say. But that’s okay. I think that’s 8:00 for you. Right. So let’s say that Brandel says something 33 minutes into that. That would be 833 for you. All you would need to write is 33 and then a quick keyword. Because that would be very, very easy then to convert into when you watch the YouTube, the kind of links that Fabian was talking about. Right. And so that way we can all add to it. And that can also go into our transcripts so it can be in multiple places. But I do agree with Fabian that the most basic thing that I should do as the kind of putting the video up there person, is that if there is something known, just put it, link to it in the description because that link does work for chapters. Does that make sense?
Bob Horn: So a few minutes ago I ask what he wanted from the group. Does anybody remember what he wanted?
Frode Hegland: What I wanted. What? The thing. Hang on. I was just putting that down as a timecode. I want to augment our community so that we can have the discussions that Brandel was talking about, that we have the easy, casual place for Fabian to demo stuff and discuss things and general things like that. But I also would like to try to find ways to refine. What we discuss a little bit. So this is one stage just doing those in YouTube links. I also think that maybe what we should do is have monthly Bob Horn sessions where we build a mural together and that’s all we do and say, okay, over the last month with our own thoughts and notes on the topic of something that would be guided by Bob like he is an expert at doing, we do that so we don’t have to worry about when we’re editorializing and when not because I editorialize primarily by having our monthly session written up, how to present that and so on. So it is very important that we keep it very casual, but some of us want to extract more structure than others make sense. Everybody agreed with that.
Bob Horn: As I recall, you asked the this group to help you create a demo. Yeah, I.
Frode Hegland: Would like to.
Bob Horn: But. And and and nobody responded to that. Well, and that’s that’s interesting to me. It may not be interesting to you, but it’s interesting to me that that people expressed. Other. Interests and and and takeaways from the group.
Frode Hegland: Well, we’ve been doing.
Bob Horn: This. Or did I miss? I’m not talking to you. I’m talking to the group.
Frode Hegland: I know. Now I know you’re.
Bob Horn: Wondering if that’s what other people experience.
Frode Hegland: But I know you’re talking to the group that this is not a group where we build things. If we get inspired, someone will build the thing. But it isn’t a working group. But please, other people do. Please respond.
Brandel Zachernuk: So insofar as as part of his asking for things to be made, that could be interesting to see by September. I don’t see that as incompatible with what I was saying is like I like to be inspired to produce things that are of relevance. So it’s not a it’s not a like a burning need to satisfy that express requirement or desire. But I see what Fabian and I said in that Fabian would like to be able to produce prototypes and ideas with a few minutes notice without having to provide too much context and explanation that I think sort of addresses the, the high level concept of finding material to show to people like Vint. And I would say that the things that I’ve done along the same lines of, of being able to put a mural into space and also the idea of the folding that was something that I’ve I’ve been thinking about for a while is the manipulable ability of those objects. And to the extent that those come to me and I also I built I built the rendering of an author document over the over the Internet into a node graph that’s visualized in virtual reality. So those are the kinds of things that that I look to this group to to provide inspiration and enthusiasm for. But it is not my full time Job to build Them. So no, yeah, it’s lower down on my priority list than being inspired to do so because if it’s not if it’s not a specific question that I have a burning desire to explore myself, then I want to have an. So, you know, for really want to build a sphere, I go, I don’t see what I get out of it. So I didn’t do it myself. But yeah. It’s the priorities are not exactly in line, but I think they’re not entirely incompatible. What I would how I would characterize it, Bob.
Frode Hegland: I mean, the way that I look at it, Bob, is we have incredible people who sometimes wants to build stuff. And my job is to present that somewhere. And also, I have to be emotionally, intellectually honest and say that if I was given a research budget to build some VR stuff now, it would take me a lot of time to find out what to really build. We’d have to experiment quite wildly. Because this stuff here is extremely primitive, for one thing, just the fact that you put it on your head and you’re in a gosh darn lobby. It’s crazy. I can’t just put it on my head and I’m in the same workspace that’s on my laptop. So there is a lot of overhead. There are a lot of issues. So infrastructure is, of course, one that we’ve discussed many times and visual media could be part of that by no means everything. But also, now that I’ve gone through another revision of my huge PhD document, what I actually want in the VR space is really hard to answer when I go through this bit of the process is really annoying. Most of the time I find a way I can actually change author and a normal 13 inch MacBook screen to fulfill that job. So that’s why I keep banging on about the record, because the record of our meetings, A is valuable. B, it’s free, it’s a resource. But it also the way we can interact with it to try to find stuff is a really huge challenge. And that may be where a Multiple Dimensional space type thing can actually help us, because having spent some time in VR now, a lot of my preconceived ideas of it’s a memory palace and you have this there and that bear doesn’t necessarily help. So that’s why it was so nice yesterday to do this little moon landing thing, to be really inspired by space. How space? Come on. That’s funny. Space and space. Peter, you shared one image earlier and you’re sharing another one.
Peter Wasilko: I just dropped a couple of screenshots showing the interactive debugging environment from Informe seven. So you can actually see how different paths through the execution create extra branches in the tree. And you can see in the second shot the little pop up menu, allowing you to indicate what point in the tree are the desired interactions versus ones that you want to prune out later on. So if you typed in a wrong command, that wouldn’t be part of the transcript. That’s the mention of Blessed is. Here is the run through going the way I want it to go. And then if something isn’t blessed, that’s where the user made a mistake. When you’re in the process of debugging. So the nice thing there is that you’re visually capturing mistakes and dead ends along with a desired walkthrough sequence. And a lot of notebooks and things don’t recognize that you have false leads and dead ends that you might be pursuing. So you’ll get. Here’s my tutorial walkthrough and you don’t see. The mistakes and the false starts someone made in the process of developing that. And I think that’s a useful thing to have even in lyric programming programs, too. The idea of being able to capture both the final outcome and also the steps and the process along the way to developing the outcome. In the book Let Over Lambda, the author has a very nice system of introducing partial implementations of code blocks and keeping them as part of the transcript and just using like a little naming convention to indicate whether this is the final example of the code or whether this is the partial step working example along the way. And I found that incredibly valuable as an instructive facility.
Frode Hegland: Yeah. That’s very nice. Thank you. So coming to a close of our conversation today, you know, one of the things that I tried to do in the beginning of this period, this year with this group, was to imagine VR working spaces. And the way that I prototype was by writing hyperbolic essays that I know some of you, particularly Marc Andreessen, found greatly annoying because it’s all hyperbole and all of that. But that’s my way of dreaming. Fabien has a different way of dreaming. He makes prototypes, and I think that’s absolutely fine. I think some of our discussions here will be very productive in the sense of producing something. Some of them will be purely mind expanding, some of it.
Brandel Zachernuk: Will be boring.
Frode Hegland: But I’m wondering going forward, if we should do something along the lines of, you know, today we’re supposed to be about connections that we went quite far into our community. And I think our community connections are important because we are real people. It is a real thing. It’s not hypothetical. So how we can connect our knowledge within and we ended up with the most pathetic solution ever. Youtube links and YouTube description. But pathetic. They are the most useful, there’s no question. I completely agree.
Bob Horn: I think I’m not agreeing with that.
Frode Hegland: You don’t think it’s useful when you have access.
Bob Horn: To YouTube video? The most, the adjective most?
Frode Hegland: Well, at this point, if we can find something else that is within our time cost to produce, that will make it more useful and accessible. I’m absolutely eager to hear that, and I think we should keep talking about that. But at least now we have the internal YouTube links, I’m going to do mine and hopefully in the future will remind each other to write down in the charts the rough time code and. And whatever comment we might have, I think that might be a useful thing. I mean, imagine.
Bob Horn: I’ve got a doctor’s appointment. So long.
Frode Hegland: Everybody be healthy. Be safe, Bob. Talk to you later. Yeah. I see what you’re writing, Peter. That’s a bit deep for. For now, but we.
Peter Wasilko: Don’t want to get in the chat so that I wouldn’t forget where it came from. So Brandel Oh in that, that quote is the actual quote from the link just above it.
Frode Hegland: Okay. Thank you.
Peter Wasilko: So you know where the next came from for the record.
Frode Hegland: Right. Thank you. So Brandel you being the most literate person in the room, do you think there is an API or a thing that let’s say we build a super simple app and that app knows when a Zoom meeting recording starts. We could probably do that, right?
Brandel Zachernuk: I imagine so. I’m not very literate. No, but. Wait, wait.
Fabien Benetou: Let’s forget this Frode. Just write the offset. Like when we start the meeting, the first thing you type is plus five, and then we know it’s 5 minutes of four.
Frode Hegland: Yes, but that’s what I’m doing. That’s what I’m doing. And that’s fine. And it will be roughly correct or not. But imagine if we had an app that either the audio or screen or something, because me, I’m sure it’s the same with you. I may very well forget to run the app and say, We’re recording both of us. Okay, let’s pretend we do. We have a super simple app. One zoom is running, we click. We just started Zoom roughly. So when we then write our notes in there that are specific for this, when we stop, it’ll do the offset for us generate. Once it has that YouTube video uploaded every single note on an individual line, we’ll get a link. Yes, that would be very useful, wouldn’t it?
Fabien Benetou: We can write a script based on the time creation of the file. Assuming your computer is has a correct time. So.
Peter Wasilko: Okay by all, I have to jump.
Frode Hegland: Yeah, me too. I have a phone call after. This was all useful and interesting and I’m greatly grateful and I look forward to Monday. Maybe we do indeed do some more computational notebook stuff because that is hugely interesting topic.
Bob Horn: We can have a lovely weekend.
Frode Hegland: Have a wonderful weekend by everyone.
Brandel Zachernuk: Yeah.