Put-the-Cable (Candle) Back
REMEMBER the scene from Young Frankenstein where Gene Wilder is stuck trying to get behind the hidden bookcase? He states slowly to his lovely assistant: “now listen closely: Put. The. Candle. Back.” Let’s talk about that as it’s so sums up 2020.
In 2020, and the 21st century, the put-the-cable-back analogy is that now for new technology users, especially with next generation Internet of Things (IoT) devices, or an overloaded WIFI remote learning home: a new found remorse is clambering for the simple days with a wish to say:
“Put. The. Cable. Back”.
Think of the bluetooth speaker that automatically connects to your spouses phone call while they are in the other room talking into their now unresponsive device, or fighting the coffee cloud’s response time reloading your Starbucks card before you get to the head of the line, or finding the right WIFI name and matching password in a crowded building. Unbounded complexities that seem to rival the “Death Star” from Star Wars need new architectural and technology relief. And don’t get me started on the disaster of Zoom meetings being a new normal (teaching or bandwidth use).
With the Internet of Things (IoT) potential of billions of devices, such as the smart house, smart shopping, smart cars; the IoT Architecture Complexities will require new approaches, including better tools and formalisms to manage those complexities.
Computer Science to the rescue
I’ve been working and teaching about a new model based approach to help identify significant network/distributed computing complexities. Based on a fresh characterization of traditional computer science concepts, such as discovery, binding, routing, protocols and dissemination — a common vocabulary and language is combined with reusable models to provide necessary paths for architects to navigate through historical context and formulate next generation solutions. The abstractions of concurrency, scalability, security, and usability are also bounded. And I have “an app for that” …
My favorite CS paper by Robin Milner (ACM Turing Award’97) theorized that without a new logic of interaction, our systems will be too complex to understand (killer robots?). He stated:
1 Computing has grown into Informatics: — the science of interactive systems
2 Turing’s logical computing machines are matched by a logic of interaction
Information is flowing (streaming) everywhere, from mobile devices through what I call the semantic stream up to agents (or us) higher in the stream. We need new approaches to help manage the unbounded complexities and uncertainties. Packaging up parts of this into what I call “waves” of knowledge could help provide the right information at the right time (that elusive goal of network centric systems).
In the future, I believe that systems need be designed and built much like seeing the character Trinity in The Matrix movie as she confidently responds to a query from Neo: “Do you know how to fly that” with her reply “Not yet” She then asks Tank in the physical world for a reusable model of flying that Bell helicopter uploaded into her virtual avatar knowledge base; I call this Just in time learning (JITL). If fast and relevant enough, JITL’s could mitigate what Scott Adams calls our 18 second attention span. (Or at least our distraction is focused on a more fun aspect of the same challenge.)
If architects can mitigate these daunting IoT networking complexities, they can confidently reply to the cord-cutting challenge with “Cables? We don’t need no stinking Cables!”.
This series will motivate reading and thinking about mitigating these 21st century technical challenges using new computing agents (e.g., AI, Expert Systems, smart mobile & bluetooth devices, robots, smart routers, etc). By re-focusing on Computer Science fundamentals, new architectures and solutions will be based on sound solutions. New approaches for connecting the virtual world with the physical world are explored (Trinity talking with Tank, cataloging grandmas attic for later retrieval). More on this next time..
Mano the Shark
My agent is named after Mano the polynesian name for the mighty Shark. The shark is fearless at it navigates through the ocean currents. It also knows where it’s going. We need Mano to help us navigate our own complex information currents, what I call KonaCurrents.
This series describes how I’m creating my own navigator called KnowledgeShark with a goal to answer Trinity’s Bell Helicopter (JITL) query by asking:
“What could KnowledgeShark do?”
Wait ’til you hear what KnowledgeShark.me has to say.