Stephen's Web

By Stephen Downes
January 24, 2003

Brief History of Artificial Intelligence Handy timeline with links to the important and authoritative works in artificial intelligence, including expert systems and neural nets. This should keep you busy over the weekend. Heh. By Bruce G. Buchanan, AAAI, August 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Content Management: Our Organized Future According to the author, "Content management is the management of content (any digital item - video, audio, text, graphic, links to physical resources, etc.) to allow for contribution from varied sources with points of control to ensure quality." And in education, "digital content creation is far outpacing management." I don't completely agree: there's a lot of both content creation and content management; unfortunately they are separate systems with separate sets of objectives. Anyhow, the author goes on to provide a useful process for content management, a list of some of the benefits, and a look at some of the finer points of the process. By George Siemens, elearnspace, January 23, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Desire: Connecting With What Customers Want OK, here's the business recipe (via elearningpost) for short term gains, loss of perspective, and ultimately harmful business practices. I hate to sound so negative. But the point of this article is to show that our socioeconomic structure is largely about selling ideas. "Our work is largely mind driven: intellectual capital, the power of image, brand identity, consumer confidence, investor courage -- all of these intangible things are quite real." A company's brand therefore its greatest asset, its marketing is about creating a demand for the brand, and this demand is created by associating the brand with what people really want, identified (incorrectly) in this article as peace of mind, a sense of importance, and someone to choose for you. Now why is this bad? Because the article recommends essentially that you base your business on selling nothing and fooling your consumers into thinking that they're buying something. A business based on selling nothing can't last, but it can do a lot of social damage while pretending otherwise. If you wonder why people have lost faith in government and business, this is why. And when you realize that this entire business model is about getting the consumer to, as the author says, "submit to authority," the very real dangers become clear. So. What works instead? A sound business will provide people with the tools that help them define and meet their own interests and objectives in their own way, that helps them govern themselves rather than be governed, that lets them create, for themselves, genuine peace of mind, self-importance, and capacity to decide. Or whatever else they might happen to want and would value more, perhaps, than the lives of contented sheep: a sense of adventure, the overcoming of challenges, the capacity to create and imagine... Teachers: are you listening? By Bill Breen, Fast Company, February, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

News That Comes to You Yet an introductory article on RSS (it's hard to believe that this technology is half a decade old). "Instead of the hunt and peck of Web surfing, you can download or buy a small program that turns your computer into a voracious media hub, letting you snag headlines and news updates as if you were commanding the anchor desk at CNN." Substitute the word "learning" for "news" in the quote above and you see why I'm such a strong advocate of the RSS approach to e-learning. For those who want more, the author posted the full interviews to another website. By J.D. Lasica, Online Journalism Review, January 23, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

More E-Portfolio/Web Log Thoughts Good post in today's Weblogg-Ed weblog taking the discussion of "electronic portfolios" at the recent NLII meeting and substituting the word "weblog" instead. The result is a list of questions that would - if answered - help someone build a strong case for the use of weblogs in a given learning situation. By Will Richardson, Weblogg-Ed, January 20, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Powers of Ten The famous Powers of Ten series of images has been placed into a nice Java applet for easy (and impressive) viewing. By Matthew Parry-Hill, Christopher A. Burdett and Michael W. Davidson, National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, January 16, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Venture Capital: Online Education Attracting Support Describes investors' attitudes toward online learning, illustraing that theme with an account of Howard Schultz's $7.5 million investment in Capella (Schultz is known for such other moderately successful enterprises as Starbucks and eBay). The theme, in a nutshell: ""There are some big problems in the educational arena and we think we are tackling one of the biggest. Big problems usually translate into big money-making opportunities." By John Cook, Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 24, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

Kubrick2001 I would do a couple of things differently (including getting the rights to use Also Sprach Zarathustra) but I think you'll agree with me that this goes far beyond what we typically think of as online learning. By various Authors, New Media Giants, January, 2003 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

JamSpam: It just might save the Internet Relief against unwanted email (of which there is a lot) may be on the way as industry experts are beginning to coalesce around the idea of an industry-wide anti-spam consortium intended to create an open, royalty-free, interoperable, anti-spam protocol. This will no doubt involve protocols that email services (such as OLDaily or any email your institution sends) will have to follow; the trick will be in ensuring that it is cost-free. By David Berlind, ZD Net tech Update, january 23, 2002 [Refer][Research][Reflect]

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Copyright 2003 Stephen Downes
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