My goals are simply to make text better connected and more interactive, as informed by my philosophy of Liquid Information and the work of my mentor Doug Engelbart.
- Quick to create robust & accurate (and when desired ‘typed’) connections to make resources conveniently available for readers, not simply web links which are not robust over time (link rot), or citations which are not connected.
- Preview & analysis of connections should be instant & trustworthy, to allow the reader to see deeper & wider
- Flexible views. Users should be able to view documents as they see fit, flexibly choosing what to see and what to hide, as well as how the information should be laid out
- Supporting rich metadata at low cost to create and maintain
- Opportunities for further interactions should be made possible as they become available, such as through integrations with AI systems
- See XR environments as opportunities for text and extending what text can do for us, not as competing environments where text is not as useful
It will be key for this to be done in a robust manner, not simply with focus on interactions for what can work for a week or a year. The focus should be on a robustness to give the information a reasonably high chance of surviving for at least 500 years, including with associated metadata, to better connect not only over space, but also over time.
The text knowledge cycle
Another perspective on this is to look at the different sections of the text knowledge cycle, aiming to augment how students, academics and scientists in general and eventually the population at large:
- Consume textual information. Including the reading done while conducting research, skim reading, deep reading, analysing and more, to have a wider reach, faster and more fluid interactions to gain deeper insights.
- Think with textual information. Using text in advanced graphs, and beyond to see their own thoughts and the concepts in their fields flexibly to be able to change their point of view and their minds when useful.
- Communicate with textural information. Writing, editing, doing layouts, using artificial intelligence services and speech to text to clearly get their intentions across.
I believe much of the future of text should be in the form of documents, since documents, rather than text on servers or in databases, is more robust in terms of longevity and addressability:
Document Focus | Document Infrastructure
Instead of writing about this in the abstract, here is a demonstration of how I am implementing the notions of ‘better connective and more interactive in my own software, Author & Reader. This is of course only the tip of the ice berg of what is possible, it is just what a very small, independent software developer such as myself can produce:
Copy & Paste to Cite
layered interactions : difference between Layout & Connections
full introduction to Author
AI for IA
Yves Jacquier, executive director of La Forge, Ubisoft’s research division, writes in Edge magazine† that “Our approach is not to assist the creation, it’s to assist the creator.” This is a reasonable and modern take on Intelligence Augmentation and this is what guides my approach for adding AI to document creation and consumption. The first step is adding AI to Reader.