Bootstrap Institute
6505 Kaiser Drive
Fremont, CA 94555

Date: Sun, 26 Nov 2000 08:35:48 -0500

From:   Henry van Eyken


Subject:   Listening to Doug, Proposal

[Responding to Rod Welch's letter on November 21, 2000...]

There is the story of the ass starving between two sheaves of hay. He just couldn't make up his mind which of the two sheaves to eat from first.

Rod, insisting that "to build KM you must do KM," made an offer that's hard to refuse. He offers at low cost materials and training that should permit users to link their thoughts and actions directly to a record far more retentive than human memory.

While the Colloquium was still in progress, he already impressed some of us with what his SDS can do. When on Nov. 5, he showed his system to me at his home in S.F. he actually wasn't telling me all that much new because already he had been integrating my words that entered his records over a period of about half a year. He emphasized the value of a hard record by reminding me of psychologist Gazzaniga's observation that all we naturally remember decays to just the gist of things.

Combining the gist of things with false memories (memories we hold to be true and act on as if they are true), it is easy for anyone to go off on a tangent because it is a natural thing to do. Of course, not even when things are on record, they are not necessarily accurate. Interpretation by the recorder is a factor. But with a team working on a project, any recorded false memories are more easily detected, straightened out, and the record corrected.

It seems to me there is a benefit that Rod did not mention. Accepting his SDS as a provisional DKR/OHS, working with it ought to provide a clearer picture (more concrete) of "what is missing," what more is expected from an ultimate OHS than the SDS offers. For example, the specific document-manipulating techniques found only in AUGMENT and of any supplementary tools that may be attached to AUGMENT.

I do not know how Rod's offer fits in with the manner in which OHS will be developed in the future, i.e. whether there will continue to be private development work alongside institutionalized, funded development work. That does kind of make it hard to decide which hay to attack first: continuing slowly along the winding path with many false turns or first coming to a dead-stop to learn the SDS and then speed up later. This is something I cannot make any recommendation about.

Moreover, I like to berlieve that a good DKR or OHS shall be more than a record, that it shall be designed to stimulate higher levels of thought than only fortifying frail memory, especially speed up the judiceous evaluating alternatives.

Back to Rod and his SDS, I learned that Sunday that it has its foundation in time-tested project work in construction and in the U.S. army. Rod's achievement is that he had this experience converted by a skillful programmer into a useable software product.

As things now stand, it appears to me that Rod deserves an answer, even if a higher-power development program by SRI is in the offing. It also seems to me that Rod's SDS may well profit from a collaborative effort by possibly taking it to a higher level of usefulness.



Henry van Eyken