A couple of three things came together for me and I wanted to set them down next to each other.
The first was Jon Udell’s keynote at the Kynetx Impact Conference. There was a moment when he was talking about a meeting in local government where the agenda was managed using a web-based tool. Udell talked about wanting to be able to hyperlink to agenda items, he had a blog post that was relevant to one of the issues under discussion. The idea was that a citizen attending the meeting, in person or virtually, should be able to link those two things together, and that the link should be discoverable by anyone via some kind of search. And while the linking of these two things would be useful in terms of reference, if the link simply pulled Udell’s blog post into the agenda at the relevant spot, that might be even more useful.
The reason this kind of thing probably won’t happen is the local government doesn’t want to be held responsible for things a citizen may choose to attach to their agenda items. A whole raft of legal issues are stirred up by this kind of mixing. However, while the two streams of data can’t be literally mixed, they can be virtually mixed by the user. Udell was looking at this agenda and mixing in his own blog post, creating a mental overlay. A technology like Kynetx allows the presentation of a literal overlay and could provide access to this remix to a whole group of people interested in this kind of interaction with the agenda of the meeting.
The Network provides the kind of environment where two things can be entirely separate and yet completely mixed at the same time. And the mixing together can be located in a personal or group overlay that avoids the issues of liability that the local government was concerned about.
The second item was Apple’s acquisition of Siri. While I never made the connection before, the kind of interaction that Siri gives users is very similar to what Kynetx is doing. I can ask Siri with a voice command for the best pizza places around here. Siri orchestrates a number of data services to provide me with a list of local pizza joints. Siri collects identity information on an as needed basis to provide better results. While Kynetx is a platform for assembling these kinds of orchestrations, Siri is a roll up of our most common activities – find me the best mexican restaurant; where is this movie playing? What’s the weather like in New York City; Is my flight on time?
While I haven’t hooked my credit card up to Siri yet, it does have that capability so that a transaction can be taken all the way to completion. On the other hand, Apple’s iTunes has had my credit card information for years. Once the deal closes, Siri will have acquired my credit card.
Phil Windley, in his presentation to the Kynetx conference, discussed an application that could be triggered by walking in to, or checking in to, a Borders bookstore. The Kynetx app would push a message to me telling me that an item on my Amazon wishlist was available for purchase in the store. It strikes me that Siri might do the same thing by orchestrating my personal context data, my Amazon wishlist, which I’ve registered with it, a voice-based FourSquare check-in, and Border’s local inventory information.
The third and last item is Facebook’s open graph protocol. This is an attempt to use Facebook’s distribution power through it’s massive social graph to add “semantic” metadata to the public internet name space. This is an interesting example of the idea that the closed can include the open, but the open can’t include the closed. Jon Udell’s story about local government and blog posts has the same structure. The private network can include the public network, whereas the reverse isn’t true if each is to maintain its integrity.
While there’s a large potential for mischief in letting everyone make up their own metadata, it provides more fodder for the business of indexing, filtering and validating of data/metadata. Determining the authority of metadata is the same as determining the authority of data. The ‘meta’ guarantees syntax, but not semantics or value.
By setting these events next to each other, you can begin to see that to include both private and public data in an algorithm, you’ll have to do so from the stance of the personal and private. It makes me think that privacy isn’t dead, it’s the engine of the next evolution of the Network.