440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

November 8, 1999

03 00050 61 99110802

James J. O'Donnell
Professor of Classical Studies
Vice Provost
Information Systems and Computing
University of Pennsylvania

Subject:   NSF study on alphabet technology

Dear Professor O'Donnell,

Your book, "> Avatars of the Word, and credentials in technology and classical studies provide a foundation for taking a look at my work in POIMS which draws on disciplines in technology, cognitive science and the classics, to formulate a key advance in alphabet technology.

The technology applies the alphabet in a non-traditional way to make it economical and practical to accomplish the traditional practice of writing history and analysis, but adding connections of sequence that support human intelligence. It does not "think" for people, but it makes it faster and easier to capture a larger share of daily experience. It builds linkages automatically, as a function of time, which is the reasoning process of intelligence. i.e., chronology of cause and effect.

I am looking for people in education to work on a National Science Foundation (NSF) project to formalize the theory and application of this technology to extend the power of the alphabet. The basic idea is to think of the alphabet as a method to generate information which the human mind then processes to create knowledge, wisdom and vision by connecting common patterns into stronger sequences of cause and effect. Historians do this on a grand scale, but the human mind does it on the fly in constructing what we call "experience." So the question becomes how can technology leverage daily experience in the age of information overload, where traditional uses of the alphabet to generate static bodies of information in books, memos, articles, letters and so on, detract from effectiveness, absent a new technology to help a more fundamental process, to wit "intelligence"?

I do not want to give away the store in this letter, but the basic idea is to use the alphabet a little differently in a way that integrates time and information. Adding automation using a computer enables people to accomplish and to see for the first time a large part of what the subconscious mind does using "intelligence" to connect information. I call the technology POIMS, to respect poetry as the original method of remembering and managing complexity.

One innovation is delivering intelligence via Internet to support daily work through web mail, by adding lituracy to email, which otherwise has a lot of weaknesses in orality. Second, fear of accountability and limited time force a larger share of modern life to rely on conversation and pictures rather than the power of writing. So the dynamics of culture and technology at this time create a demand for a technology that leverages human intelligence.

See what you think, and distribute among colleagues and students for reaction and interest in the NSF project.





Rod Welch
415 781 5700