Last Edited: Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:05 PM -0600 /  Last Updated: Saturday, February 16, 2013 10:05 PM -0600

Dialogues

André-Yves Portnoff

André-Yves Portnoff has a doctorate in metallurgic sciences and is the director of the Observatoire de la Révolution de l'Intelligence (Observatory of the Intelligence Revolution) at Futuribles International. He is the co-author of La Révolution de l'Intelligence (1983-1985), the first report that introduced the concept of the intangible/immaterial society to France. Journalist and consultant in foresight ('prospective' in French, is different from forecasting  and futurology), he currently collaborates with large businesses and with SMEs interested in integrating the consequences of human and technological evolution into their strategy and management. He developed with Futuribles a method (called 'VIP') for evaluating the overall capital of firms. André-Yves is also researching the role of cultural and political factors on creativity and development; and he is likewise keen on identifying common elements in all cultures: Asiatic, European and African. He participates, from this perspective, in the deliberations of the Asia 21 think-tank. I, in fact, got to know him just before our round-table discussion of 11th January 2005.

Published both in English and French by Futuribles (December 2003)

André-Yves is the co-author, with Xavier Dalloz and Olivier Gradon de Vera, of this report published in French by Gencod, November 2000.

Denis Poncelet

Jack Park

When I bounced into Jack Park at XML 2000 around 12 Dec. 2000 at Washington D.C., after having read some of his thoughtful postings (especially regarding the viability of a Standard Upper Ontology) to the Topics Map mailing list over the previous months, it was immediately apparent that we were kindred spirits. We were then both working on taxonomy-building, Jack for the world of e-commerce, and myself for the IT industry. He had just begun putting together a collective volume on Topic Maps for the Web, the TOC of which reads like a who's who in this knowledge management standard/technology. Subsequently, I became a "development editor" of sorts in my spare time for Addison-Wesley Professional, and was able to enter Jack's circle of collaborators/interlocutors and interact constructively with several of the key contributors. By a strange "coincidence" Jack quit VerticalNet on 30 April 2001, the same day that I left InformIT/Pearson Education. Jack has been very involved with Doug Engelbart (inventor of the mouse and inspiration to a whole generation of technology innovators) and the latter's BootStrap project for solving the world's problems through futuristic networking technology.

Jack Paulus

Jack Paulus has degrees in Computer Science and Cognitive Engineering and significant work experience in the online services industry centered around the design, development, and use of message boards. From this experience came the realization that there must be a better way to have a rational discussion online that overcomes the standard problems of digression, irrationality, and repetitive posting. Realizing that these problems stem from the combination of prose combined with a flow of information that is always directed away from the discussion, he created a new method of online communication released in 2005 that overcomes these problems by breaking topics down into their constituent parts combined with the ability to have critique/rebuttal conversations (through revision) on any of these points. This tool is free and can be found at: http://Truthmapping.com; more info on this technique on About page.

TruthMapping.com is a free tool that provides a focused, rational method for adversarial discussion (patent pending) that overcomes the limitations of standard message boards, e-mail, and even conversation; it is a site for persons who believe that reasoning should be at the heart of public debate. The technique: 1) makes participant interaction always point inward, back toward the argument itself; the argument is the context which can not be escaped. 2) reveals only the "Aha!" moments (the final drafts of each person's position) while all earlier positions are automatically archived. Since each such critique/rebuttal conversation relates to a very distinct point within the topic this revision process leaves a very content rich view of a discussion since the noise is hidden. 3) breaks the argument down to its component parts where any critique is always directed against a very specific point in the argument so that any attempt to digress is apparent to everyone. 4) turns the discussion paradigm on its head through the combination of an explicit context and the use of revisions of critiques and rebuttals which focus the discussion inward toward the argument. This results in the ability of a critic to make a single, highly visible, devastating critique that the defender of the argument cannot hide regardless of how prolific they are. 5) elevates the level of public discourse by exposing all assumptions explicitly.

This recording of Jack's relatively well-attended presentation is available at the Indiana University site that hosted the event within its Tutor-Mentor Series. It was publicized across the various svAbhinava Yahoo! forums, and the transcript (without Jack's audio responses, which unfortunately suffer from regular breaks due to faulty technology) is also available in the Dia-Gnosis and Abhinava archives. Both Jeff Conklin and Sunthar participated in the chat following the presentation.

Jeff Conklin

Jeff Conklin is a facilitator, consultant, and teacher. Over the past 15 years he has developed a dialogue mapping facilitation approach (previously called Visual Issue Mapping System, or VIMS) that is based on Horst Rittel's Issue Based Information System (IBIS). The technique uses graphical hypertext software (Compendium) to interactively map the meeting dialog of project teams working on "wicked" technical problems. In addition to using Dialog Mapping as a consultant with various clients, he teaches the technique in a 2-day workshop (see http://cognexus.org). He is passionate about getting the knowledge of IBIS and Dialog Mapping out to a wider audience, and has just published his first book on the subject, Dialogue Mapping: Building Shared Understanding of Wicked Problems. Jeff wrote an early survey paper on hypertext that was published in IEEE Computer (1987), developed the gIBIS software at MCC in Austin, Texas, and launched a software company, Corporate Memory Systems, that created the predecessor to the Compendium software, QuestMap. That experience, and the company's financial demise, taught him a lot about the practical side of collaborative technology. He is also very interested in knowledge management and organizational memory, and is collaborating with the Compendium Institute on other collaborative technology extensions of Compendium. Jeff and I sort of sizzled on the same wavelength, without however getting to meet, in the discussion following Jack Park's presentation at Knowledge Technologies 2001 in March 2001.

At Knowledge Technologies 2001 (Austin, TX; March 2001), Jack Park's Englebart-inspired paper, advocating (the use of Topic Map technology for) open issue-based information systems (IBIS) as a means of consolidating and harnessing global brain-power resources, provoked much positive discussion (esp. in relation to classroom pedagogy and the constructive role of a moderator). One skeptical member of the audience asked, rather disruptively, why we've seen so little progress in this direction though online forums and mailing lists have already been around for so long. The answer had indirectly been provided, already on day one, by the keynote address by Scott Cooper (Senior Vice President and General Manager, Knowledge Management Business Unit, Lotus Development Corporation): in their research around the Lotus Knowledge Discovery System, a suite of technologies designed to allow organizations to discover the contextual relationships between people and information, they discovered that interaction is much more productive when the participants know each other's background, i.e., where the interlocutor is "coming from." My intervention emphasized that such familiarity helps ensure that (unlike what's seen on many open, esp. anonymous, mailing lists) participants would take greater responsibility for their statements and also take pains to express themselves in a manner that helps build a (sometimes precarious) sense of community around a shared purpose. Jeff, who was sitting a few rows in from of me, turned back appreciatively to endorse and elaborate my observations in the light of his own work. Our subsequent correspondence presented here pursues, on a technical level and in relation to the Abhinavagupta project, this sympathetic chord struck at our first encounter.

Michel Biezunski

Michel Biezunski is an inventor, and works now in the field of information and knowledge management. He has created the Topic Maps paradigm which has become an international standard and is used to create topic-based navigation systems for online information. Since 2006 he is working on the Data Projection Model, a model that enables information systems to become auditable, and is based on the idea that no information item lives in isolation. By describing all information as transactions, information systems become auditable, in a similar way that accounting is based on the idea that money flows are described as transactions between accounts. The Data Projection Model also enables to decompose information into its most elementary components, therefore enabling multiple views to be applied on the same information items. Michel's background is in history and philosophy of modern physics. He is the author of two books (in French), one about the reception of the theory of relativity, one is a history of modern physics. He also has edited and published letters of Albert Einstein addressed to various correspondents in France. He has translated several books from English into French. Michel has created a curriculum for engineers on electronic publishing in France in the early 1990s. He has moved to the United States in 2001 and is now working as an independent consultant in New York. More information about his activity is available at his web site: http://www.infoloom.com.

I was introduced to Michel in early 2000 via email by Dr. Claude Vogel (Founder and CTO of Semio Corp. specializing in data mining) when, as Director of  Research at InformIT (web portal for Pearson Technology Group) I was researching standards (Topic Maps, RDF, etc.) and software toolsets for building a collaborative taxonomy of the IT-space. I subsequently met Michel and his wife Isabelle in Paris while participating in the XML World Conference (June 2000), only to discover that we had several other interests in common, such as the philosophy of science and Judaic traditions, particularly Kabbalistic thought (Michel is a cousin of David Biale, author of Gershom Scholem: Kabbalah and Counter-History). Elizabeth and I subsequently introduced them both to Charles and Aline Mopsik, while they introduced us to Michel Grossman, who had made a French documentary on the (remnants of the) Dönmeh (Sabbatian) movement in Salonika (Greece) and Turkey, and that we all watched together at the home of the Mopsiks. Isabelle and Michel Grossman had also collaborated on a documentary entitled "Nemt: A language without a people for a people without a language" about Yiddish renaissance in Vilna. Michel was also instrumental encouraging Jean Delahousse, CEO for Mondeca, taking me on for consulting work in technical documentation and marketing. Michel and I have since met several times in Paris, Chicago and during XML conferences in the US.

Raju, C. K.

C. K. Raju holds an honors degree in physics, and a masters in mathematics from Mumbai. After a Ph.D. from the Indian  Statistical Institute, he taught in both  mathematics and statistics departments of the University of Poona for several years (1981–88, before playing a key role in building the first Indian supercomputer Param (1988–95). He has proposed a new type of (functional differential) equations for physics, using  a “tilt” in the arrow of time, in Time: Towards  a Consistent Theory  (Kluwer Academic: 1994,  Fundamental Theories of Physics, vol. 65). He  has articulated a radical new philosophy of  mathematics in Cultural Foundations of  Mathematics (PHISPC and Pearson, 2007), together with a new history of  the transmission of the “infinitesimal”  calculus from India to Europe, and the accompanying  epistemological difficulties. In The Eleven Pictures of Time (Sage, 2003) he explained how the science-religion relationship is mediated through time perceptions, how time perceptions were modified to suit the politics of  the “clash of civilizations”, and how a new perception of time leads also to a new ethic. He has been a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study (1991–93), the National Institute  for Science Technology and Development Studies  (1995–98), and an Affiliated Fellow of the Nehru  Memorial Museum and Library, where he  coordinated a project of the Indian National  Science Academy (1998–2001). He has been on the  editorial board of the Journal of Indian Council  of Philosophical Research and is an Editorial  Fellow of the Project of History of Science, Philosophy and Culture in Indian Civilizations (1999–). For the past several years (since 2000) he  worked as a Professor of Computer Science, has  taught computer courses on television, and has  authored software for educational and industrial  use. Three of his lecture notes on computer programming are to be published by  Universities Press. His current research interests include the time/logic interface in quantum computing. He is listed in Marquis Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, Who’s Who in Asia, etc. He is married to an economist, and has two  children—the elder one is currently pursuing a  Ph.D. in physics at Harvard. 

Time travel and the reality of spontaneity (Aug 2005)

This essay was also subsequently published online in Foundations of Physics (SpringerLink), 0015-9018 (Print) 1572-9516, Volume 36, Number 7 / July, 2006 (pages 1099-1113), Saturday, April 22, 2006. A preliminary version of this paper was presented at a Seminar on ‘Reality in Physics and Philosophy,’ S. N. Bose National Centre for the Basic Sciences, Calcutta, 24-25, Feb 1996.

Eleven Pictures of Time: The physics, philosophy, & politics of time beliefs (2003)

See the reviews and endorsements at ÇK Raju's homepage and Sangeeta Barooah Pisharoty's report in The Hindu (18 Sep 2003)

Stuart Sovatsky

Stuart Sovatsky (AB Religion, Princeton; PhD; Psychology, CIIS) received the only US Federal grant (1976) to bring yoga and Sanskrit chanting to incarcerated youth, was first in the US to introduce yoga (1978) to the homeless mentally-ill; convened the first International Prison Yoga Conference and is co-convener of the twenty-country www.WorldCongressPS2008.org in Delhi, inaugurated by Samdhong Rinpoche, Prime Minister of Tibet in exile. He has presented on tantra yoga at some forty conferences. His books include Words From the Soul, (SUNY) Eros, Consciousness & Kundalinî (US, India, Russia) and the poetic work on pariyanga, Your Perfect Lips: Journal and chapter topics include "The History of Euro-Hinduism" (Robert Thurman, editor), suicidal linguistics, awe and terror in infant crying, grihasthya (sacred family life), impermanence and psychopathology, spiritual psychology of eros and gender, Greco-Christian forgiveness psychology and Meher Baba and clinical admiration. A 35 year kundalinî yoga anâhata-nâda chant-master, he has three CDs with Axis Mundi (www.soundclick.com) and has performed in the US, Europe and India. A marriage therapist, he directs the first spiritual emergence service in the world, Kundalini Clinic, since 1983, is a trustee at Calif Inst Integral Studies, and is co-president of the US Association for Transpersonal Psychology.

Sunthar Visuvalingam