Thursday, January 08, 2004

Automated Contextual and Conceptual Engineering

I just ran across something I wrote a few years ago... always interesting to look back at old notes...

Automated Contextual and Conceptual Engineering
I am attempting to convey a difficult concept to readers - right now. As I write this, my Microsoft Office is checking the spelling and grammar. It is putting my words and sentences into a context and using pre-defined rules to suggest areas of syntactic improvement. Dare I say it is using simple artificial intelligence (heuristics and a knowledge base) to improve my writing.

Visionaries have been promoting the concept of the Semantic Web for some time. By putting my words, sentences and paragraphs into context, the author is able to work with the software in a more advanced manner. If my word processor knew that I was writing a research paper on 'Automated Contextual and Conceptual Engineering', it could begin acting like an automated research assistant, scanning the web for applicable articles or illustrations, followed by suggestions on document structure, content, automated bibliographies, and footnotes. The more my software knows about what I am trying to write the more help it can offer.

Pushing context engineering to the next level takes us to conceptual engineering. Here, software not only understands the context of what I write, but understands the base concepts via conceptual ontologies. Once the software understands a concept it is able to look at the attributes of the concept and begin substituting alternative values suggesting related concepts. We would probably refer to this process as the elicitation of cross-domain metaphors or analogies.

Have you ever met someone that was good at connecting the dots in a business, scientific or personal problem? Typically these people are good at applying metaphors to problems. The goal of automated contextual and conceptual engineering is to create better content in less time while educating the author as he or she develops the content.

The Web has made it easy for anyone, anywhere to publish information. Browsers, cell phones and web pads are making it easy for anyone to read published information anywhere. I believe that the progress that we have made in mass-authoring content, cross-site syndication and ubiquitous rendering has made the world better. I now believe that the time has come to begin making the content better.

This is still an interesting concept. With the advances in web services, MS Office using XML and gains in the semantic web, this kind of stuff may be closer than I originally thought.

No comments: