440 Davis Court #1602
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415 781 5700

July 13, 2000

04 00067 61 00071303

Joseph Ransdell, Ph.D.
Dept of Philosophy, Texas Tech
Lubbock, Texas 79409,

Subject:   Semiotics, Alignment and High Tech

Dear Professor Ransdell,

Peirce's semiotics came up in a discussion today at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, and led to your paper on Peirce. I appreciated the treatment of truth, accuracy and knowledge as general pursuits that are focused and rigorous in science. In particular the explanation of semiotics as a theory that integrates communication, meaning and inference, aligns with objectives of my SDS program and the science of Communication Metrics.

You may be aware that attention in technology is focusing on a new fad of "Knowledge Management." This is largely hype to maintain and bolster sales. However, there is an underlying foundation, evident in your work, and that of others, explaining ways to leverage human thinking, i.e., intelligence, beyond conventional methods for data base and information management.

One group is meeting under the leadership of Doug Engelbart at SRI in Palo Alto, CA, to develop a "Dynamic Knowledge Repository" (DKR). On May 18, 2000 Mary Keeler gave a presentation on Peirce's Semiotics, to aid the project team in building an effective knowledge management capability.

Jack Park and I were intrigued by the framework Professor Keeler presented. Jack has since put forward an architecture based on semiotics. In my case, I sensed a stronger explanation for tools I have been developing the past 15 years, that seem to provide a key advance on alphabet technology. On June 24, I wrote to Mary asking her to comment on this idea, that seems to bridge cognitive science and philosophy.

However, the professor has been unable to respond, having been called away from work at the University of Washington, to tend her ill mother in Idaho.

So, I am wondering if you might comment, and pass this idea among colleagues. It seems to offer a major advance on the core technology of civilization, what Havelock calls the "Alphabetic Mind." Though untrained in philosophy, curb side review of semiotics seems to indicate it is implemented/supported through a process I call variously "alignment," "intelligence" or more simply "experience," "analysis" and "history" which over time produce useful "knowledge" through refinement of accuracy.

The good news is that, like the alphabet, my technology has an underlying simplicity that makes implementation straight forward, see for example an explanation of how technology can augment human intelligence.

The bad news is that it is counterintuitive, because this method occurs innately in the human mind, and so is hidden from our daily lives. Therefore, to grow awareness and use of this advance, requires, in part, getting critical review by people like you and your colleagues.

Of course, I realize everybody is busy these days. If I don't hear from you, just wanted you to know I appreciated your paper.




Rod Welch

Copy to:

  1. Keeler, Mary

  2. Joslyn, Cliff >