Web Services Wizard And Frederik Pohl's Joymaker
Can't my computer just take care of it? If I know the name of a song, can't my computer just go get a copy of it from iTunes? If I need an appointment with my dentist, can't my computer contact the dentist's office computer and find an appointment time that works for both of us?
One of the people working to make that happen in Charles Petrie, senior research scientist in the Stanford Logic Group of the Computer Science Department.
"A world wide wizard, through some kind of magic that I'm going to explain in a little bit, would know and do things," Petrie says. "He would know when things had changed in cyberspace. He would know the effects of those changes. He would know, because those things had changed, what else should be changed."
(Charles Petrie wants a joymaker
[even if he doesn't know it])
The Internet should make this level of interaction possible; ideally, this "cyberspace wizard" would not just be a program on your local device:
"This isn't just a piece of localized software running on your desktop; this is running on the Internet and interacting with a lot of peopleóthe guys in your band, your legal adviser, the songwriter that you're working with, the shipper for your equipment, the charter plane [operators], owners of the venue that you're going to," Petrie explains. "You're sharing schedules and budgets and plans as they're revised. There are a lot of people interacting here, and this wizard is controlling the interactions."
I always appreciate it when engineers share and work toward science-fictional futures like this one, which was imagined eloquently by Frederik Pohl in his 1965 novel The Age of the Pussyfoot.
In the novel, the lives of every person on Earth were mediated by joymakers, which were super-PDAs - or BlackBerries on overdrive.
The remote-access computer transponder called the "joymaker" is your most valuable single possession in your new life. If you can imagine a combination of telephone, credit card, alarm clock, pocket bar, reference library, and full-time secretary, you will have sketched some of the functions provided by your joymaker.
(Read more about the joymaker)
When working as a "cyberspace wizard," the joymaker made use of your interests profile:
"...Have you filled out an interests profile?"
"I don't think so."
"Oh, do! Then it will tell you what programs are on, what parties you will be welcomed at, who you would wish to know. It's terrible to go on impulse, Charles," she said earnestly. "Let the joymaker help you."
"...I don't understand," he said. "You mean I should let the joymaker decide what I'm going to do for fun?"
"Of course. There's so much. How could you know what you would like?"
Improving the technological magic behind web services is the subject of contests like the Semantic Web Services Challenge, held at Stanford in 2006 and sponsored by the Stanford Logic Group. The next challenge will take place in Innsbruck, Austria, in June. Judges certify that participants have solved the problems and then rank their software. I like the way they determine the winner - it's the participant who gets the task done with the least programming.
You might also be interested in another project to really give your "cyberspace wizard" a helpful face - see Rity - Sobot Longs To Be Near You, about a software application that can actually transfer itself from one computer to another to be close to you. Browse through some of the products and services predicted by Pohl in this novel, like cellphone caller lists, cellphones as credit cards, administer medications with your mobile device,
cellphone voice mail and even get a Virtual kiss via tactile net.
More via this Stanford press release - Web services 'wizard' may help computers do people's work, researcher says.
Scroll down for more stories in the same category. (Story submitted 5/6/2007)
Follow this kind of news @Technovelgy.
| Email | RSS | Blog It | Stumble | del.icio.us | Digg | Reddit |
you like to contribute a story tip?
Get the URL of the story, and the related sf author, and add
Comment/Join discussion ( 0 )
Related News Stories -
LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.' - Greg Egan, 1991.
Still Wondering If You'd Work For A Robot Boss?
'This is all coming to you courtesy of the simstim unit wired into your deck, of course.'
CIMON Space Sidekick For Weary Astronauts
I welcome our floating robotic assistants.
Biomind AI Doctor Mops Floor With Human Doctors
'My aim was just not to lose by too much.' - Human Physician participant.
Technovelgy (that's tech-novel-gee!)
is devoted to the creative science inventions and ideas of sf authors. Look for
the Invention Category that interests
you, the Glossary, the Invention
Timeline, or see what's New.
Amazing Kepler Space Telescope Decommissioned By NASA
'Thus it came about that the search for a planetiferous sun... was not unduly prolonged...'
ODYSSEUS Solar-Powered Stratospheric Plane Flies Forever
'The planes flew continuously, twenty-four hours a day...'
Augmented and-or Virtual Reality Shoes From Google
'The auto-treadmill's bumps and gullies matched whatever terrain the goggles showed me...'
Soon, Your Tesla Will Follow You Like A Pet
'... follow him as faithfully as a well-trained hound.'
Chinese Watrix Gait Recognition Watching You Always
'... those pesky gait-recognition cameras.'
FlexPai Foldable Phone By Royole
'...A paper thin polycarbon screen unfurled.'
Oh Yes, We're Building The Rotating Tower In Dubai
'Give me an old-fashioned tetragon on a central pivot every time.'
Bioreactor Helps Legless Frogs Get Their Jump Back
'An alien drug... Used by an insect race... It can repair bones and organs. It can grow new tissue."
Xinhua AI Anchor Puts CGI Face To Automated News
'...a congeries of software agents.'
Wirewax Watching You Watch, Adjusting Your Experience
'He adjusted the n, the r and b knobs, and hopefully anticipated a turn for the better...'
LawGeex AI Beats 20 Top Lawyers
'The Law Society has strict rules on the use of pseudo-intelligent software - terrified of putting... its members out of work.'
ROAM Robotics Skiing Exoskeleton
'The real genius in the design is that you don't have to control the suit; you just wear it...'
MIT Headset Lets You Communicate Without Speaking
'The subvocal read nerve signals, letting her enter words by just beginning to will them...'
Exploring Oceans Across The Solar System
'Black liquid flashed past the turbotís infrared eyes.'
SWEEPER Robot Peter Piper Picking Peppers
'... little machines, that went from plant to plant, apparently on caterpillar tracks, cutting off the ripe fruit.'
Oil from Algae - Can It Be Done?
'We dump everything that's waste into the tanks, pump the oil off the top.'
More SF in the News Stories
More Beyond Technovelgy science news stories