Data detection in Mac OS X Leopard (10.5)

What if Mail recognized the address of the restaurant and let you map directions on the web?… Mail even recognizes relative dates (“let’s meet next Tuesday”) and keywords (“dinner tomorrow”), so you can act on information rather than enter it.

I took the time yesterday to watch the guided tour video to Mac OS X Leopard. Besides integrated notes and to do management it now offers also “data detection”. Here is what Apple says about it:

Say you get an email invitation to dinner. What if Mail recognized the address of the restaurant and let you map directions on the web? Or let you click once to add the date to your iCal calendar? With Leopard, it does. Mail even recognizes relative dates (“let’s meet next Tuesday”) and keywords (“dinner tomorrow”), so you can act on information rather than enter it. (Apple – Mac OS X Leopard – Features – Mail)

I look forward to try that feature out. It should become a nice little time saver for daily knowledge work.

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ECAP, Day #2

There is no answer to this hypothesis yet, but by capturing the essence of complex systems in computer models and observing robust regularities we may come up with a model of evolutionary creativity. On the panel on “The future of artificial intelligence”, Paul van der Vet, Anton Nijholt, Susan Stuart, Mark Bedau, and I presented our previous and current work, and how we look at the future.

And still more from the European Computing and Philosophy Conference ECAP 2007

The second day of ECAP is quite packed. Since nine o’clock in the morning until after seven in the evening three tracks are firing one presentation after the other on me. Some discussions I can follow …

The morning started with the keynote talk “The unsolved mystery of why evolution is so creative” by Mark A. Bedau from Reed College, Portland / European Center for Living Technology, Venice / ProtoLife SRL, Venice. Mark Bedau presented the arrow of complexity hypothesis: “Evolution inherently creates increasingly complex adaptive organisations”. There is no answer to this hypothesis yet, but by capturing the essence of complex systems in computer models and observing robust regularities we may come up with a model of evolutionary creativity. This talks very much showed how important models and the task of modelling have become.

On the panel on “The future of artificial intelligence”, chaired by Jordi Vallverdú, Paul van der Vet, Anton Nijholt, Susan Stuart, Mark Bedau, and I presented previous and current work, and how we look at the future of AI. My main point: Future AI is coupled to the (Social & Semantic) Web! (see slides)

Now, more presentations to go, and a conference dinner to enjoy!

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Mnemosyne – Connecting and Sharing Memories and Cultural Experiences

Mnemosyne explores these success stories in the information field of cultural heritage, on the web and outside the web towards a ubiquitous and serendipitous access of cultural information.Mnemosyne will comprise a set of technical and methodological solutions for:the support for sharing of cultural experiences by means of semanti-cally structured and unstructured annotation allowing for many-to-many communications and semantic search in the field of cultural heritage.the development of enhanced navigation systems based on semantics and user contributed knowledge.the management of personal knowledge through user-centric inter-operable applications.Mnemosyne realises an open-source service that provides a platform for the development of new type of applications involving users. The service distributed through cultural organisations will provide access to abundant semantic information and distribute the load of user contribution, thus en-hancing the navigation and application possibilities of cultural organisations web applications at low-cost and effectively.I was, of course, not alone in this endeavour.

Mnemosyne logo

Yesterday was an important day for many European researchers as yesterday ended Call 1 on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) in the 7th Research Framework Programme (FP7). I co-ordinated and submitted the project proposal “Mnemosyne”, initiated by Cédric Mesnage and myself. The proposed project addresses Challenge 4: Digital Libraries and Content. Here is the abstract of the proposal:

Mnemosyne aims at enhancing the way citizens access, contribute to and navigate cultural heritage information, create and communicate experiences, share memories, thus leveraging the structure of the whole cultural heritage digital sphere. Mnemosyne brings together museum experts and visitors, social scientists, designers, computer scientists, web engineers and Semantic Web researchers to explore the possibilities of the digital sphere to enhance the cultural experiences of European citizens. The Web 2.0 trend reveals the success of systems involving the user, enhancing the content and the navigation by means of their contribution. The Semantic Web eases interoperability between applications by creating a web of data. Mnemosyne explores these success stories in the information field of cultural heritage, on the web and outside the web towards a ubiquitous and serendipitous access of cultural information.

Mnemosyne will comprise a set of technical and methodological solutions for:

  • the support for sharing of cultural experiences by means of semantically structured and unstructured annotation allowing for many-to-many communications and semantic search in the field of cultural heritage.
  • the development of enhanced navigation systems based on semantics and user contributed knowledge.
  • the management of personal knowledge through user-centric inter-operable applications.

Mnemosyne realises an open-source service that provides a platform for the development of new type of applications involving users. The service distributed through cultural organisations will provide access to abundant semantic information and distribute the load of user contribution, thus enhancing the navigation and application possibilities of cultural organisations web applications at low-cost and effectively.

I was, of course, not alone in this endeavour. I was supported in the best way by the following consortium:

Now we have to wait for the evaluation report scheduled for mid-July.

Cross your fingers!

(Logo design by Bosse Westerlund. All rights reserved.)

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Embracing Web 3.0

Ora Lassila and James Hendler, who already six years ago co-authored with Tim Berners-Lee the foundational article “The Semantic Web – A New Form of Web Content That is Meaningful to Computers Will Unleash a Revolution of New Possibilities”, wrote kind of a follow-up, commenting on the use of the term “Web 3.0”. They—much to my delight—address the issue in a very positive and constructive way (See also earlier post).

Ora Lassila and James Hendler, who already six years ago co-authored with Tim Berners-Lee the foundational article “The Semantic Web”, wrote kind of a follow-up, commenting on the use of the term “Web 3.0”. They—much to my delight—address the issue in a very positive and constructive way (See also earlier post). Read for yourself: “Embracing Web 3.0

[composed and posted with ecto]

Document-oriented vs. people-oriented access

In my lectures on the Semantic Web / Web 2.0, which started yesterday, I formulated for the first time how my habits on searching the Web changes since social software is available.

In my lecture on the Semantic Web / Web 2.0, which started yesterday, I formulated for the first time how my habits of searching the Web are changing since Social Software is available. My search habits are shifting from googling using keywords and crawling long result lists to navigating through del.icio.us accounts. From time to time I go through my shared bookmarks and check out what others commented on those bookmarks; thus, finding experts on certain topics and valuable web-sites. Web-sites I would not have found via Google, I am pretty sure of.

Of course, this is the intention of such services as del.icio.us, bibsonomy, and diigo, but I think it hints on a more subtle change of the Web. The Web is adapting more to human behaviour. Whenever possible I prefer asking colleagues and friends about topics and valuable documents to searching for myself. Social Software starts offering such a “natural” access to documents on the Web.

[composed and posted with ecto]

Versioning the Web’s evolution

Having a tad more of an industrial background I never had a problem with the term „Web 2.0“ (probably more with the people who have a problem with it, duh …) So this blog post was nice to read:Regardless of whether you believe that the Semantic Web is all hype, or whether such a platform should in fact be proprietary, there’s no denying that this is an interesting space to keep an eye on. Microformats and tagged data are bringing more semantic meaning to the Web, and beyond Web 3.0 things get pretty interesting.

Having a tad more of an industrial background I never had a problem with the term „Web 2.0“ (probably more with the people who have a problem with it, duh …) So this blog post was nice to read:

Regardless of whether you believe that the Semantic Web is all hype, or whether such a platform should in fact be proprietary, there’s no denying that this is an interesting space to keep an eye on. Microformats and tagged data are bringing more semantic meaning to the Web, and beyond Web 3.0 things get pretty interesting. (SitePoint Blogs » Are You Ready For Web 3.0?)

Thanks to my colleague Michael Sintek for pointing me to it.

The future of Artificial Intelligence

[Wikipedia]) Maybe at some point in the far future some intelligent behaviour emerges from the development and use of complex information systems, but I don’t think we are capable of understanding what intelligence is and how to create intelligent machines in the first place…. Intelligent user interfaces rely on symbolic reasoning as only symbolic reasoning allows for explanation capabilities, which in turn are the basis for improved understanding and, thus, a better synchronisation of knowledge of the user and the information system.

Last year’s fifty’s anniversary of Artificial Intelligence sparked discussions about the results of AI research. Many advances already became so mainstream that they are not visible anymore. Fuzzy control in washing machines is a famous and often cited success story, but by far not the only one. AI research also led to view software development in a new light, e.g., modelling became a commodity.
But where is AI heading?

I am a firm believer in weak AI. (“Weak AI refers to the use of software to study or accomplish specific problem solving or reasoning tasks that do not encompass […] the full range of human cognitive abilities.” [Wikipedia]) Maybe at some point in the far future some intelligent behaviour emerges from the development and use of complex information systems, but I don’t think we are capable of understanding what intelligence is and how to create intelligent machines in the first place. I believe in further developing many more decision support systems, each very specialised but on the other hand better integrated with the environment and with improved communication abilities. I do not talk about spoken language understanding capabilities here but of more intelligent user interfaces in general.

In my opinion, research on intelligent user interfaces is an important topic. Intelligent user interfaces rely on symbolic reasoning as only symbolic reasoning allows for explanation capabilities, which in turn are the basis for improved understanding and, thus, a better synchronisation of knowledge of the user and the information system. It is probably worthwhile to look into hybrid approaches where sub-symbolic reasoning engines are supported by symbolic reasoners that can interpret what the sub-symbolic reasoner is doing. But this is outside the scope of my explanation research.

Software systems get embedded more and more in electronic devices providing contextual and personalised information. New opportunities arise for supporting everyday activities. For example, GPS-enabled digital cameras already provide the necessary position metadata to place photos on GoogleMaps or create other Web 2.0 mash-ups. And powerful mobile devices such as Apple’s upcoming iPhone lets me wonder what one could intelligently do with it. So it will surely play an important part in my upcoming FP7 project proposal.

User centric design, personalisation, context, social software are topics addressed by our research department for quite some time. Their importance is visible in and through our projects as well as the Competence Center Computational Culture and the newly created Competence Center Human Centered Visualisation HCV.

Benjamin Horak

Benjamin Horak, one of my students, has won the IBPM award for his diploma thesis ConTag – A Tagging System linking the Semantic Desktop with Web 2.0.Congratulations, Ben! Well done.

Benjamin Horak, one of my students, has won the IBPM award for his diploma thesis ConTag – A Tagging System linking the Semantic Desktop with Web 2.0.

Congratulations, Ben! Well done.

Webmontag in Kaiserslautern

Nun findet also morgen in Kaiserslautern auch ein Webmontag statt, ganz nach dem Motto: wo sich IT-Leute ballen und Semantic Web und Web2.0 Projekte entwickeln, da sollte man unbedingt über Instituts- und Organisationsgrenzen hinweg zusammenkommen und Ideen austauschen. Als mich Stephan Baumann daher bat, mit ihm diesen Event zu organisieren, war ich natürlich sofort dabei, auch wenn Stephan zugegebenermaßen maßgeblich die Trommel gerührt hat.Wollen wir doch mal sehen, was wir hier in Kaiserslautern und darüber hinaus in Sachen künftiges Web noch alles auf die Beine stellen können.

Nun findet also morgen in Kaiserslautern auch ein Webmontag statt, ganz nach dem Motto: wo sich IT-Leute ballen und Semantic Web und Web2.0 Projekte entwickeln, da sollte man unbedingt über Instituts- und Organisationsgrenzen hinweg zusammenkommen und Ideen austauschen. Als mich Stephan Baumann daher bat, mit ihm diesen Event zu organisieren, war ich natürlich sofort dabei, auch wenn Stephan zugegebenermaßen maßgeblich die Trommel gerührt hat.

Wollen wir doch mal sehen, was wir hier in Kaiserslautern und darüber hinaus in Sachen künftiges Web noch alles auf die Beine stellen können.

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