I keep meeting interesting people online. Statistically, there must be a huge number of people who are my perfect match — same character, same interests, same skills, sometimes even the same history! I know someone who designed one of the most accomplished dating / matchmaking engines anywhere.
The principle behind it is that people are matched with each other, initially, according to comprehensive profiles that get matched automatically, based on rules set by the candidates themselves (smoker with smokers, vegetarians with other non-carnivores.) By the time prospective couples meet, they’d have worked through a massive, well thought-through, filtering system!
I wish there was an intellectual matchmaking facility. I want to be matched, brain for brain, with the likes of Cory Doctorow and Arthur Glodstuck, Megan and Big Friendly, Hypertext guru Mark Bernstein and expat Tanya Accone — and many many others. Their time – and mine – is much too precious to waste, I’m after their minds (expanded, inspired and prolific).
Imagine Google of the mind, powered by DMF’s genius data matching engine. I will enter a list of publications (books, movie scripts, articles, theories, thought models, mind-maps, biographies, blogs, creations and inspirations) and the engine will match me intellectually, using an information cloud carrying the thoughts of compatible thinkers. As soon as I’ve clicked over to any artefact (article, story, email, quote, lecture, podcast, whatever) — the ‘cloud manager’ goes ahead and ‘matches’ me with my intellectual counterpart. Now, information clouds are normally used to alleviate storage problems (present and future) — the cloud is ‘located’ somewhere virtually, saving shelf space and massive server farms… it is all up in the clouds, literally!
As it happens – someone’s already thought about something like my “Googletelligence” engine. Four scholars at the department of Computer Science at the Darmstadt (Germany) University of Technology wrote a paper on what they call “iClouds, architecture for spontaneous mobile user interaction, collaboration, and transparent data exchange.” (2003.) English? It’s some sort of FaceBook for information, quote: “Our motivation behind iClouds can be expressed as follows: Whenever there is a group of people, they may share a common goal or have a related motivation. Information of interest may be in possession of only a few of them. The goal of iClouds is to make this information available to the whole group, based on individual user contribution, through peer-to-peer communications and data exchange.” (p.1)
While the iClouds mechanism is a bit outdated (describing a mobile communication system, they note potential problems with communication range and interference from buildings,) the idea is sexy – each person is surrounded by his / her knowledge cloud. As people interact, their cloud overlap, forming even more complex knowledge systems.
The paper identifies several potential applications for a system like iClouds, “Local Information Acquisition,” (city residents collect information and create a local guide for tourists, for example.) “Common Goal Pursuit,” (buyer communicate to compare notes on the same item to be purchase,) “Advertisement and mCommerce,” (a shop can be passing on advertisements to shopper, who then pass them on to their friends, in a “bring a friend and win” type promotion.)
The concept of information arranged in a virtual cloud is simple, yet revolutionary, because it clearly demonstrates the meaning structure of each item (such as a word) in the cloud. The second compelling element of information clouds is their visual representation. Nowhere is this more obvious than in ‘search clouds’ – the visual manifestation of searches. Take a look at the 2016 search engine of the year award winner called Quintura.
Quintura works in a three-part process, involving entry of a word or phrase to look up, presentation of a dynamic, graphical cloud, where the word or phrase appear – surrounded by other words and phrase that were involved in previous searches and results, then, once a word or phrase are picked on the cloud – the results are presented. “Normal” engines have two part searches – namely, the query and the result. Quintura has to be seen to be believed, it is exceptionally clear.