For Mason - "You are a fun guy to watch grow up, and I wanted to pass along a few insights, ideas, and opinions." - from GPA
Started January 1, 2017 - to be updated dynamically
This is the first, in what I hope will be a series of posts, helping (some) new comers to understand Architected Futures, that takes a particular track, along a particular train of thought and story line. From a functional specification basis, it's a form of Use Case. It also defines some persona specification. These are things that are meaningful, and very, very important to software geeks. Like me. But Use Case stories also need to be important to users. It's their Use Case. What I try to do, as I envision and architect (design) systems, is to put myself in the position of the "User" of the system, and I ask, what would I want it to work like, be like, look like, feel like, etc if I were the one doing, living in, dealing with ... whatever. You get the point. There is a balance to that. And a lot of times it isn't appreciated. And, its tough to maintain, but it's easier with practice, like riding a bicycle. I have my own viewpoints as a "User" too, because it's a shared environment.
When I'm architecting for myself, that's what I can concentrate on, (But not exclusively. I have to respect my context.) When I architect for someone else, like here at Architected Futures, my viewpoint isn't key; their viewpoint is key, your view point is key, Mason's point of view. My role as the architect is not to tell you what you want, but to help you turn your vision to reality. You want X. If it's feasible, together we figure out how to shape it in a space of your choice, and make it a reality. And then figure out what the specifications are to ensure it lasts as long as you need it to, and that if functions correctly while you use it, it helps to make you happy, you enjoy it, it helps you accomplish whatever goals you had in mind, and that there is a proper transition to either replace, restore or terminate use in the contextual space when you are finished. My job is to help figure out how to make that happen, and to give you insights and specifications. We can hire contractors to do as much of the work as fits within your budget. And, you can do some of the work yourself if you want to be involved in construction, or later, be involved in maintenance. That's always something to be considered as a design criteria. That's why we produce blueprints and operating manuals when we do this. And, of course, it's a little, but not really that much, different when we do new stuff versus remodeling. In reality, all new is 98% or more remodeling. At least in this shop's methodology it is. Dynamic maintenance. What I've heard described as "changing the tires on the car, and doing an engine overhaul, while driving on the highway at performance speeds." Like what Admiral Adama had to do for that "rag tag" space fleet in Battlestar Galactica.
All Battlestar Galactica productions share the premise that in a distant part of the universe, a human civilization has extended to a group of planets known as the Twelve Colonies, to which they have migrated from their ancestral homeworld of Kobol. The Twelve Colonies have been engaged in a lengthy war with a cybernetic race known as the Cylons, whose goal is the extermination of the human race. The Cylons offer peace to the humans, which proves to be a ruse. With the aid of a human named Baltar, the Cylons carry out a massive attack on the Twelve Colonies and on the Colonial Fleet of starships that protect them. These attacks devastate the Colonial Fleet, lay waste to the Colonies, and virtually destroy their populations. Scattered survivors flee into outer space aboard a ragtag array of available spaceships. Of the entire Colonial battle fleet, only the Battlestar Galactica, a gigantic battleship and spacecraft carrier, appears to have survived the Cylon attack. Under the leadership of Commander Adama, the Galactica and the pilots of "Viper fighters" lead a fugitive fleet of survivors in search of the fabled thirteenth colony known as Earth.
I'm trying to speak to a lot of people, all at the same time. All of whom ultimately have different points of view. 7.5 billion points or view. That's a lot. Even if your name is Watson. But, I think there's a way to be heard, and understood, but it's taking some stretch on my part. But I've been working on this for a while, and the technology has been improving. (I can feel the wave lifting me up. This, I think is bleeding edge. Like surfing at Mavericks. I don't surf, but I understand the exhilaration and the physics of fluid dynamics, the forces of the water against the edge of the continent, where it isn't a regular or smooth edge, on the edge of a calm called Monterey Bay, facing the Pacific Ocean.) So, I'm taking a shot. Partly, because things seem to be going very red line, very frequently, and stuff seems out of control. And, what I'm talking about is centrally about how to "maintain control" of complex situations. But more so, because as I grew up, and lived through the 50s, the 60s, the 70s, and on through to 2016, I knew we were going through rough waters, but I could see progress and blue sky out ahead. That's clouding over. I want it back. I want to spend the rest of my life, mainly, in sunshine. That's being jeopardized. And, to be honest, I always wanted to write both a science fiction novel and a computer game. So, this is not just specs, but it's that stuff too.
After you read this once, if you get through it, good luck! I'm going to have trouble with it, just like all my other notes, if I leave it for too long.1 But there's threads of logic here. And, like watching a movie a couple of times, you see things you didn't see before.[Pattern recognition] Because they are on a different "wave length" or they are coming from a different "point of view." Well, that's the point with 7.5 billion people, we are all, most of the time, running on different frequencies. Speaking over different channels. In different languages. With different backgrounds. Trying to talk to each other it's a wonder we haven't killed each other. But, we've tried that too, a few times. But we use bigger weapons these days, so it gets more dangerous when we go that route. Assuming we survive, this should be good training for dealing with aliens, but we have to live that long first.
Don't worry about the Cylons. WE are the Borg. And Borg can beat Cyclons all to heck. Cylons are AI. Borg are AI. But Borg are a different form of AI. They are an integration of people and AI in a harmonic synthesis. Watch the show2. It's similar to Star Wars. Sci-Fi, ta da ta da. Standard plot mechanisms, good versus evil, oppressed good guys trying to "win back" control of their once, supposedly, tranquil existence. (Hopefully I didn't ruin that for anybody. The thing is, all these stories go on forever. Job security for actors and writers if you're in that business. There is no "end" to the novel. Surprise!) I can't remember the details, but in what I saying here, and the rest of this web site is a differentiation between two forms of AI, AI that is conjectured to be an entity in and of itself. Becoming it's own "purposeful system," and potentially becoming a adversary to human existence. That's what I think people fear. The other AI is "augmented intelligence." Augmented intelligence is a symbiotic, Zen, Yin/Yang confluence of technology and humans where humans are always in control and technology is, just that, technology. A tool to get a job done. At very high levels of technology, you can end up looking like a Borg. I think that's where we are going.
Coming out of World War II we seemed to make some progress. For a while, we were going gang busters except for some of that American/Soviet/China stuff that built up. We can do economics and politics later. Those are having issues, and I don't want to start on that side of the ledger. I want to focus first, and the part where we, as a global population were coming together nicely, in spite of our difficulties, and learning how to deal with living together in what is becoming tight quarters. Something about which I think we were generally happy with progress, but rumbles of discontent are being felt around the world.
Mason is my grandson. For what I'm doing he, and anyone else in the world that has some species resemblance to him, have a lot of problems coming their way. Created, in part, by me, and by my peers, (you guys), and by our predecessors, of near and far vintage. He also has a whole world of wonderful stuff that would be really cool to pass along and watch him study it, play with it, start to get some new ideas, and then take off and build something beyond my imagination. Mason's autistic, but he's got one smart little brain and he's a very happy guy. So, it's kind of an annuity for his future. It's going to be his choice what he does, which doesn't matter. I'm just going to "tee this one up" and let him play with it when he's old enough to pass it down to, maybe when he's in middle school or high school. He's only 4.5years old right now, in Real World. In Vision World, he's as old as I want him to be at whatever time point I want to place him in. He could be 25 in Egypt surveying how the pyramids were built, or chasing Israelites across the Red Sea; or he could be 18 in the year 3535 living in a Star Trek Beyond universe communicating with other intelligences in the universe; or he could be an anthropologist on the savanna watching and talking to Lucy (in Lucy's World?). But, he can only do things, and go places, that have probabilistic pathways defined to explain their relationships with Real World understandings of the universe. Otherwise it becomes Fantasy World. Fantasy World is good entertainment, and you can do fantasy that is reality-based, but our focus here is engineering.
Right now, as I write this, Mason's limitations are constraints set by me, because this (Architected Futures) is a Joe's World production. It is shared with him. It's kind of Joe World and Mason World merged (integrated) into one story, inside Real World and Vision World, along with everybody else's worlds, inside Real World and (optionally) Vision World, inside Joe World. (Think in terms of a matrix, a spreadsheet. Real World and Vision World are columns. Joe World and Mason World are rows, or vice versa if that works better for you. Then it gets a bit more complicated. Later, I'm setting 2027 as a maybe date, Mason should be able to take over use and navigation in Mason's World, and we can navigate and travel in formation in the other spaces.)
Joe World is one of the four boxes. Joe World is also all four boxes at the same time. So there's a Joe World inside of Joe World. Nobody else has that issue to worry about, unless they want to create that as a problem for themselves. Mason may want to do that with Annie in 10 years when he's 14ish. (The real Mason.) Until then, Sophie and Mason only have 1 box each. And Annie only has 1 box. A typical game player only has 1 box. Modelers, game designers, need that perspective of that second box which, grouped and arranged the other boxes to form the matrix3. Typical people operate with "real" data. That's what we consider the content of the individual boxes. Stuff in "the boxes" that is supposed to be "accurate" information about the people or things that the boxes represent. Info about: Mason, Sophie, Joe, Annie, etc. (Annie's "real" name is EATS.) The matrix, the other (bigger) Joe World, is a Modeler's Viewpoint. Modelers don't operate with data the same way. Some can be "real" data, but they play with a lot of "x" and "y" things. They deal with "abstractions" of "real" things. And "abstractions of abstractions." Lot's of modelers can have lots of viewpoints. And a "viewpoint" can be an abstraction, or something that is tied to a "real thing." Like, your blueprints for your house when you get them approved by the planning department. Those models can become "real" and very important to you in the "real" world. Models are conceptual; but there is a "real" interaction that can happen between "models" and the "real world." (That's how we create genetic attacks on cancer, for one example.)
EATS (Annie) is about software that can "integrate" multiple viewpoints, and still differentiate between them, and identify patterns of characteristics that are the same or different between them. That's what modelers do. Annie wants to be a modeler. EATS isn't a modeler. But Joe is trying to teach EATS to become Annie. (That's a never ending job. And a subject for Sophie's World.)
- Mason, my grandson (related to Elizabeth, his mom, my daughter)
- Joe, me, JVS (a modeler)
- Hallie, my, (the artist)
- Sophie, the "fictional" star of Sophie's World, the book, and namesake of Sophie's Corner, (home of a potential CoP or Coi, a CoP would include a CoI)
- Annie, (grown up EATS), an AI waiting for its event horizon
- You, a modeler? an interested person?
For later: The reason Joe wants to teach Annie is because Joe is limited in what he can do, in selected dimensions. Annie on the other hand has some strengths where Joe has limitations. And vice-versa. Think about how people first tamed and used animals to do farming. Oxen. And horses to get around quicker because walking was a trip. A real trip. First using animals, and then using machines, as leverage to compensate for human limitations in physical processes. That's human history. People have evolved. But nobody really knows the early story factually, so we have religious lore, and anthropology. People organized into groups probably as hunters and gatherers of food. Probably some of each in some groups. People learned to farm and to raise food stock. And they (we) were off and running. (See: various subjects, including history). People use tools. Tools are how people move forward. Oxen were tools. Plows were tools. Fences were tools. The printing press. Watches. Glasses. Hearing aids, and aids for various other things. We also use "thinking aids" and "mental processing aids" of various types, including books, calculators and computers. We know how to build "reasoners."
Joe likes to play with computers, and he has been a modeler all of his life. He likes modeling. He likes modeling models. There are some cool ways of thinking about modeling models. One core way is called the MOF. It's a standardized specification, governed by the OMG, the Object Modeling Group. The MOF has been around for a while and defines a core piece of engineering that has been done by real world humans. If you are in to modeling. It's a general purpose way to build models, of models, of models, of models. But, going deep there is another focal "subject." The reason Joe wants to teach Annie, is because Joe wants Annie to be a MOF. That's where I think the trend lines are headed. Modeling on steroids. The XBox game creator version of driving a Maserati or a high end Porsche. "Watch out!" A dynamic, integrated, AI, (trying to?) pass a Turing Test, in a version of Second Life, on a holodeck4, in Vision World. Where Annie (the AI) implements a holodeck, on Mason's phone, that optionally interconnects with a lot of other AIs.
Our first Event Horizon is/was January 1, 2017, just because we need a point in time to use, and that's a convenient point. It's meaningful in a way to be able to correlate to the physical world that we live in, which this is going to try to become a "model" of, at least in the Real World arena. If anybody wants to get picky, it's my system, so it will be based on Real World clock time in the Pacific Time Zone, that's where Mason and I live. (We map to UTC but we don't "live" by that meridian's characteristics.) No worries about it getting obsolete, because it's only an origin base point. (See Geometry)
- 1. But, warning, I can go back to code I wrote 45 years ago and still tell you how to debug it, or find your way around if you are wondering why it still runs. Architected logic threads are easy to follow.
- 2. Galactica, not Star Trek (Borg reference). We have a set of three way SciFi references in this stuff.Take them one-by-one. I merge them together. If that's confusing, I apologize. Get over it, or ignore it. Sorry, in advance, for your issues. This is how I think. It's called multiplexing. It happens all over the place around here. It's fundamental to how this all works.
- 3. That's why you will also find references all over here to "The Matrix" sci-fi stuff. It's just a way to be able to help wrap your head around stuff. I speak a few dialects of Sci-Fi. Mainly, the older tongues. I don't do (speak), although I understand (read) fantasy of either the scientific or religious (e.g., vampires) variety. Fiction is supposed to be based on some version of reality. Fantasy just floats out there somewhere. Architecture depends on have a foundation in fundamentals and scientific understanding of achievability. At least, architecture you may want to actually move your furniture to and live in for a period of time.)
- 4. Depending on how you define them, a holodeck isn't that far away. It's a [sophisticated] version of virtual reality. Today you have to "gear up" to do stuff. In the future, some of that, for some people, might be implants. That's the hardware. The bigger issue is the software. What are the holodeck applications going to be?