Thriller

This document is intended as food for thought, in the hope that it will sparkle some discussion. [draft 2]

First, to set the context, read the Thriller scenario Thriller--thoughts for the Network Ecology (March 8, 1999).

Come back to where you started, and read how Thriller can become a reality soon.

© Copyright August 1999
Martien F. van Steenbergen
mailto:Martien@van.Steenbergen.nl
http://Martien.van.Steenbergen.nl
Ursulinenhof 46
4133 DJ Vianen
The Netherlands
+31 34 732 6430 (home)
+31 65 354 5960 (mobile)

How common sense will boost your collective IQ and make us smart

Thriller is a living organism, or ecosystem that uses common sense to boost our collective IQ, dramatically improving productivity, effectiveness and competitiveness and creating symbiosis between you and your environment--people, places, things and events. Thriller allows you to do more by doing less and learns from your actions as well as those from others. The total is much more than the sum of its parts, in every aspect.

Computing is disappearing into the woodwork, becoming a utility, infrastructure--invisible. Thriller takes advantage of this trend and can make us smart and make computing adapt to us, rather than the other way around and adds common sense. It will anticipate your next move and will attempt to serve you best, learning from your actions and behavior. Thriller can boost our collective IQ and dramatically improve our productivity, effectiveness and competitiveness. Thriller cultivates your relationships, both in business, and personal live. Thriller allows you to put not only your knowledge to work, but also leverage that of your colleagues, friends, and family. In fact, every form of team--be it you and the girl in the flower shop, or your family, or you and your team members working on a large project, or your company with 20,000 employees, or you and your suppliers and customers--can leverage its collective IQ, making the total larger than the sum of its parts. You can use this power in medicine, education, business, recreation, commerce, in fact, in every situation. As you will feed on Thriller, Thriller will feed on you, creating a symbiotic whole.

Thriller can make your life easier, more pleasant, a joy to live. Then again, life is what you make of it.

Thriller will help you articulate and cultivate your relationships with others. Since attention is getting scarce, interface and relationships are wealth, products are not. Relationships are the currency of the next era. Thriller will help you to understand and cultivate those relationships, and will enable you to get, keep and grow your customers. You can use Thriller for your Customer Relationship Management, for one-to-one marketing and Sales Force Automation. Thriller is also an excellent base for Customer Service, or can be deployed as basis for a Health Care system. Of course you can use Thriller to augment you personal relationships with your friends and family as well. People, places, things and events are the key assets for Thriller and will be a recurring topic in Thriller.

And, as more of your colleagues, friends, family or team members use Thriller, the smarter it will get. Thriller is constantly getting better at getting better. Effort put in by others is automatically shared by others that have access to it. And as other companies and organizations will be creating new knowledge or services, they can seamlessly and effortlessly plug those into Thriller and make them available to the community at large.

Thriller will give you an immediate positive pay-off for any effort you put into it. The more you invest in Thriller, the better it will fit you. Soon, it will fit you like a glove, and grow with you--you will not have to shed your skin. Symbiosis.

Thriller feeds on facts. That is, data facts on every phone call you make, every item you buy or sell, every appointment you make, and every trip you make can be fed into Thriller and make it smarter. Legacy data that has been accumulated over the past years can be fed into Thriller as well, creating a compelling picture of your customers so you can serve them better, while protecting, even augmenting your investment in that knowledge. Since Thriller knows about people, places, things and events, it can clean these facts up, improve integrity, and feed them back into your Enterprise Information Systems, making that better as well. Things like correct spelling and capitalization of personal names, and addresses with zip codes depending on which country you live in, are understood by Thriller and canonicalized when fed into Thriller. Stream this improved data back into your legacy systems and improve your customer relationship.

Initially, you will probably not even notice that Thriller is working for you, but after some time you will experience that Thriller will help you with your day to day work, using common sense. Thriller deploys biological concepts like survival of the fittest, finding optima, order and chaos, virus detection and elimination, and mutation to constantly evolve and improve itself. You as a user benefit enormously from this. You don't have to worry about where your information is stored, if it's backed up, if you pay reasonable prices for the services offered, about software installation and maintenance, etc. Just like in real life, you can periodically have a health check performed and get some advice on how to improve the pleasure of using Thriller. For example, if Thriller needs permanent storage for one of your photographs, it goes out on the network and announces that it is looking for this service. Storage service providers will bid for this request, and Thriller will select the one that best meets your requirements based on price, longevity, urgency, availability, etc. This is a core feature of Thriller and is used throughout its entire system, just as in real life and biosystems.

To get a better view on how Thriller enriches your life, read the scenario that pictures how Thriller blends in to your actions. Read between the lines and think about how your next vacation might benefit from it, how it might help you manage your appointments and projects, how it allows you to watch the television programs you don't want to miss.

Thriller is ubiquitous--it is written in 100% Pure Java and builds on the Jini foundation--so, wherever you have a Java Virtual Machine available, you can use Thriller. It takes advantage of all unique features of the Java and Jini platform, its security, multi-threading, distributed computing, component-based, spontaneous communities, and self-healing capabilities.

Thriller consists of both a foundation, a basic software layer, a platform, and one or two horizontal applications to demonstrate its power and potential. As such, the market for Thriller is very broad. Thriller fits business, education, recreation, medicine, healthcare. In fact, Thriller raises the Java and Jini foundation to the next higher level of most important entities that we work with day in, day out: people, places, things, and events, and perhaps to projects.

So what is Thriller?

Thriller is a collection of fundamental pieces of software that takes Java and Jini to the next level. It provides a substrate on which the ecosystem described above can thrive and flourish. Thriller provides the basic software components that allow you to populate the emerging system with instances of people, places, things, events and projects. Thriller builds on the Java and Jini bedrock and is a fully distributed platform, consisting of a well documented API specification, reference implementation, and a compatibility test suite. To proof its viability, a reference implementation of a human relationship management system will be part of its first release. Besides that, Thriller will provide the principles, patterns and practice, APIs and examples to dynamically add services that perform natural language analysis on plain English texts. In order to optimize this analysis, this service will be capable to both obtain facts about people, places, things, events and projects from Thriller, as well as feed factual information back into Thriller in order to augment its knowledge. It will be an example of symbiosis between the two. The natural language analysis itself will be delivered by a number of third parties, and the interfaces between that and Thriller will be developed in close collaboration. Let's start a discussion on how Thriller's basic architecture might look like.

Other emerging ecosystems

Many disjunct efforts are underway that address one or two parts that Thriller covers. Thriller will be build so that these separate efforts can very easily be assimilated, augmenting Thriller and its users, as well as give the new functionality good chances to thrive and be successful as well. Thriller's strategy will always to create a win-win situation for new services and itself.

The one effort that builds on a similar concept as Thriller is the Oxygen project at MIT. Oxygen is a five-year, multi-million research project. It comprises of eight hardware-software technologies that enable natural use and increased human productivity: the Handy21--a portable universal device, the Enviro21--a space-centered device, the N21--the Oxygen network, and four technologies: knowledge-access, automation, collaboration, customization. Thriller differs from Oxygen in that choices for platform and communication network already have been made: Java, Jini and the internet protocols and standards. Thriller does not attempt to create new technologies in these areas. Furthermore, Thriller is 100% pure software. No hardware devices will be conceptualized or designed. Consumer electronic companies will be in a much better position to design and manufacture these devices, and as long as devices comply with the current computing and communication standards, they can be used in conjunction with Thriller. Also, Thriller focuses more on development and production of a working system, rather than just research. Finally, Thriller is a two-year effort, delivering its first usable result after one year into development. Thriller will actively investigate to collaborate with the Oxygen project, as well as with other projects that have the potential to be mutual beneficial.

Freedom, open to innovation

All of Thriller's technology will be made available as community source. This differs from open source in that the community source license enforces publication of (API) specifications (not implementations), and enforces compatibility with the existing specifications. This allows for parallel innovation, yet staying compatible with Thriller's state of the art. It also allows other communities to innovate and make money without intervention. Thriller will closely adhere to the Jini Community Process and will contribute to those processes as well.

Collaboration and Participation

Thriller actively invites other parties to collaborate and participate in research, development, as well as use. This builds on the Jini concept that encourages a federation of services to become larger than the sum of its parts. Participation in the form of funding entitles the participant to express and specify functional and user requirements which will be reviewed by the architectural board. Funding participants also have a proportional share in any revenues that Thriller may generate. Participation in the form of collaboration in research, development or by contributing technology entitles the participant to express and specify functional and user requirements which will be reviewed by the architectural board, as well as early access to specifications and reference implementations of Thriller. Both technology and funding participants can delegate a person to sit in on the architectural as well as the business board.

Advisory Board

The core team and architectural board are responsible for all architectural decisions. This core team mainly consists of young people (age 20-30), and their experience will be augmented by a group of peers in every field with at least 20 years of experience. This advisory board will be invited to sit in on regular board meetings (4-6 per year) and reflect on the project. Each advisory board member is also encouraged to mentor his or her peer in the Thriller core team.

Revenue

There are several ways that Thriller can generate revenue. First, based on the Thriller platform, a separate department and even other companies can create services and "applications" for a specific market segment, and sell their service and support. Second, Thriller as a platform and its initial two applications can be licensed to other companies, and supported for a fee. Third, Thriller technology as a whole can be bought out by a single company that productizes and evolves Thriller in the same spirit. Fourth--and this might be the most interesting--Thriller can be offered as a service to organizations and individuals where you pay for use on a micro-transactional way. Each transaction charges your account for a little bit. You don't have to pay for the software or the support, you only pay for its use. Given that the Network Economy is just starting to accelerate, billions of micropayments still form a lot of wealth. Thriller will evaluate, investigate and consider all viable options to create a healthy revenue stream.

Success

Thriller will be designed to be so successful that 10,000 or more "early access" people world-wide will already depend on it within one month after Thriller's first public release. Thriller's inherent quality, performance, stability, evolvability and resilience will make its users able to fully depend on Thriller from day one.

Thriller: Team, Talent and Temperament

The Thriller team is one of the finest in the industry. The team's power stems from the differences among team members. These individuals cherish these differences because they understand that exactly those differences is their right of existence. Thriller's team is constantly learning new things, and constantly changing, yet extremely focused on accomplishing its goals. The continuous effort in order to create a symbiotic, energized "Olympic" team that will be capable of winning several gold and silver medals as they go along creating world class software is the process that makes the team evolve.

Thriller's team also understands that it teams up with the environment, and that every rendez-vous is in fact the formation of a new team. And the same principles that guide Thriller's core team, form the foundation for such a rendez-vous and collaboration with others. Thriller's team actively pursues interfacing and collaborating with other teams.

Thriller's core team consists of a biologist, a marketer, a graphics designer, a writer, a human interface designer, and three system and software designers.

Biologist - Thriller's Survival Expert. The biologist uses its expertise to design an evolutionary software platform that is resilient against viral attacks, yet uses viral features to propagate in a benign way through the network. Survival strategies and mutation continuously improve Thriller as a whole, creating a fluid ecosystem where people, places, things and events can thrive. From the smallest objects in Thriller up to the highest levels, survival and reproduction are the principal motivation. Vaccines and serums will cure even the most severe attacks by diseases or viruses if they appear. Remember that in essence, evolution is an error management system. Thriller assumes things will err. Thriller is an ecosystem.

Psychologist - Thriller's Olympic Team builder and Emotional Computing Expert. The Psychologist excels in team building and improving communication. Thriller's core team will exist of top players in the industry. View Thriller's team as a skating team, challenged to win several gold medals during the next Olympic games. This job will form this team of excellence. Improving Emotional Intelligence is key. And not just intra-team communication is important, but also communication between Thriller and its users--human-computer interface and market development build heavily on psychological factors. Thriller addresses a human's emotions. "Emotional" computing.

Marketer - Thriller's interface to the User Community. The marketer needs to assess the market needs, project estimated sales, address international issues, functional specifications and market coverage, distribution and product lifecycle. He or she is key to the success of the product in the market and forms our ears and eyes to the market. The marketer represents Thriller's users.

Graphics Designer - Thriller's Identity. In order to make the product wanted by its intended audience, to lure them into Thriller even before it is released for the first time, a graphics designer will be responsible for the graphic arts and design of the overall product. Covering not only the graphical user interface, but also the overall design of documentation, sales collateral, and perhaps even the visual part of the source code. Needless to say, the graphic designer has a solid background in the graphic arts and computer games. The main objective for the graphic artist is to create a new, challenging and consistent overall look that creates a "I want that too" demand in the market.

Writer - The writer's main objective is to minimize all documentation, be it product, project, or user documentation (any documentation is a concrete evidence of failure), and ensure a consistent style and layout for all the project's words (including software code), be it on screen, paper, or any other form.

Human Interface Designer - Make it simple and beautiful, smooth and silky. The human interface engineer's challenge is to create a new paradigm in the interface between the Thriller and its users, them being end-users, system maintenance and administrative users, yes even developers, while ensuring harmony and interoperability with the state of the art in human-computer interaction. The human interface engineer is responsible of user testing all aspects: ease of use, installation and maintenance, user feedback, and managing Thriller. The product shall be fluid and responsive in behavior and adapt to the user in such a way that the user identifies with it. Thriller should allow to get its users in a state of flow easily, where excellence at the task becomes effortless.

Software Development Engineers - Thriller's Architects. The system and software engineers are responsible for Thriller's architecture, design, implementation and quality, guaranteeing best possible performance and using best practices. They will use and develop advanced tools and technology to create an object oriented implementation, yet easy to maintain and administer. Remember that the tools are an expression of technology and architecture. You are skilled in all aspects of Java and Jini. You are the master of behavior and state. You are component master.

Tool Smith - Thriller's Treasure Keeper. The best tools and infrastructure brings out the best in people. Development tools, communication to the rest of the world, software lifecycle and releases, and system administration allows Thriller's team to peak perform. Making sure the network is always on, their things are always there, 7x24.

All team members are skilled in computer science (some more than others) and excel in their knowledge of Java and Jini in their field of expertise, and fully understand the importance of fluid distributed object oriented systems. Every individual team member has a genuine and serious interest in the skills of other team members. This ensures active participation, synergy and collaboration and will provide a backup for each other when needed. Each team member should ask another team member: "Will you help me get better than yourself?"

Leadership role

Martien van Steenbergen will take leadership and ownership of this challenging and exciting endeavour. Martien van Steenbergen has many years of experience in the Network Economy. Since 1991, he works at Sun Microsystems in The Netherlands, currently as an IT Business Consultant. His vision and strategy builds on his broad interest and knowledge in network computing, biology, emotional intelligence, team building, and communication. His expertise comes from working with many customers, absorbing their wishes and requirements and mapping those onto current technology and solutions. He has an excellent network of relations, both in the Dutch business, research and development, as well as within Sun Microsystems and other non-Dutch organizations. Please refer to http://Martien.van.Steenbergen.nl/CV/ for his resume.

Martien van Steenbergen's roles will be to drive the project, recruit the core team and build this team to Olympic levels in order to win gold medals, search and cultivate the advisory board members, obtain and maintain the required funding, delivering the results on a timely basis, reporting to all participants, research and investigate other efforts that can be beneficial to Thriller's success, engage collaborations with other organizations, as well as participate actively and intensively on the architectural board.

Funds

Initial estimates show that Thriller is a demanding project and will consume somewhere around $1 million annually. Since Thriller will be developed predominantly in The Netherlands, by Dutch people, and since one of Thriller's goals aims to provide basic technology for global use, it has the potential to put The Netherlands on the map of information and communication technology, fulfilling part of the Silicon Polder dream. As such, the Dutch industry and government may be very interested to participate in this project and subsidize a part. The Thriller Endeavour will actively pursue this.

Commercial Funding

We will actively pursue finding predominantly Dutch venture capitalists. Large organizations (here, organization is used in a broad sense: any group of people working together to achieve a set of goals; e.g. a company, a government, a health care organization, a bank) will probably benefit the most from Thriller. As such, they are excellent candidates for early evaluations and large scale deployment. Since Thriller can boost productivity, effectiveness and competitiveness, these organizations may be very interested in participating in Thriller in order to gain a competitive advantage. As a result, these organizations might be extremely interested in making Thriller a success by funding large parts of the expenses. We will very actively pursue this opportunity.

Controversial

The Thriller Challenge is controversial in many aspects. We will use psychological expertise for team building (emotional intelligence) and user interface aspects, publish a one-time and unique advertisement to recruit the core team, use biological expertise to create a revolutionary and evolutionary software platform as well as one or two "applications", make everything available as community source, use a participation model based on a combination of the MIT Medialab model and the Jini Community Process, weave biological, evolutionary and ecological functionality into its very foundation, and build solely on the Java and Jini bedrock.

As such, Thriller is a major challenge and takes a lot of courage to pursue. The risks involved can also be regarded as quite high. On the other hand, if Thriller should fail as a whole, valuable insights on both technological and human aspects are won, and made available to the public at large.

Thriller's success will be extremely rewarding for everyone who contributes and collaborates. Venture capitalists can look back at a profitable undertaking, the Thriller core team will receive international fame and might even end up in some history books. The Dutch government can use it to jumpstart a healthy Silicon Polder.

Well, I sure hope this gives you some food for thought, and helps you get a discussion started.

Succes en plezier,

© Copyright August 1999
Martien F. van Steenbergen
mailto:Martien@van.Steenbergen.nl +31 34 732 6430 (home)
http://Martien.van.Steenbergen.nl +31 65 354 5960 (mobile)
Ursulinenhof 46
4133 DJ Vianen
The Netherlands

Thriller--thoughts for the Network Ecology (March 8, 1999)

Every phone call I make, every email message I send or receive, every time I play some favorite music or watch some favorite tv program, drive, walk, bike or fly to some destination and back, stay at a hotel, take pictures with my camera, pay or receive money, buy goods, pay bills, make and cancel appointments, I want Thriller to absorb this stream of data, digest it and give me a whole view of my life. Making it easy for me to find info back, to augment my memory. But not only my memory. Whenever me or one of my colleagues writes a trip report, or a customer report, creates an appointment with a relation (customer, prospect, partner) from our company, or whatever, Thriller takes this data and puts in into context. So when someone else, one of my colleagues say, wants information about him or her, he picks him or her out of this soup, and drags along any relevant information, e.g. that I and some others had a meeting with him or her just the other week. That he or she just ordered for $2M goods & services from us, that he or she also has excellent relationships with other key decision makers w/i another account that we're trying to close a deal. Each ((e)mail) message is so chock-full of information (dates, recipients, subject, phone numbers, email addresses, event data (like appointments), things and places (like where you put that $300K camera), people, projects, etc. Thriller can change this information into knowledge and boost our collective IQ, letting us work smarter, more effective, more strategic.

I start typing a customer visit report to my manager as well as to some other people that I know are interested in it. I select the addresses I want to sent this message to from a list of people (and perhaps groups of people (mail aliases)). I start writing:

"Just visited Roel Pieper and we talked about..."

In the background, Thriller goes out and searches for "Roel Pieper", knowing this is a person (deduced from the text). Thriller finds him in a blink, and adds a hyperlink over that text that brings any reader who clicks on it to his personal home page, detailing who he is, what he looks like, where he lives, for what company he works, how to reach him by phone, fax, email, car, train, whatever. Thriller does this real-time and in a very unobtrusive way. I simply continue typing:

"...the interesting possibilities of mobile agents. He also referred me to Bill Joy who is doing..."

Thriller does the same here. This time not being able to find any reference to Bill Joy, it colors this text distinctively in red, telling me that this is a new account, a new relation. Whenever I like, I can click on the text, and Thriller allows me to enter any details that I have on him, so that the next time anyone refers to him will be able to get the most up to date information on him. I continue:

"...this project called Brandaris that involves..."

Thriller now "remembers" that Brandaris is a project -- the term "Brandaris" has been used in a new customer context quite intensively lately -- and marks it accordingly. Clicking on it brings you to all relevant information on this project. You can easily see who are involved in this project and what roles each and everyone has, view the minutes, which meetings took place and who attended them, the people that were invited but did not show up. Later, someone else can use a magnet on this Brandaris project and find out that I have been talking about this project with Roel Pieper and Bill Joy recently. Curious and easily distracted as I am, I click on Brandaris, and to my surprise, this project has everything to do with Sales Force Automation and Customer Relationship Management. Wow, now that's interesting, since I know that Bill is highly respected at a prospect that is looking for a state-of-the-art CRM infrastructure. I want to meet Bill and discuss with him to jointly visit this prospect, so I start MeetingMaker with Bill as an "argument". MeetingMaker immediately compares Bill' and my calendar and finds an available time slot this Friday at 2 p.m. Knowing that Bill just finished a meeting within 30 minutes from our office and that I'll be in the office all day, MeetingMaker suggests to meet at our office, in meeting room "The Veluwe". I click Schedule, and type in a short subject of that meeting: "Brandaris opportunity at Talens Inc.". The only thing Bill has to do if he's got the time is accept this meeting, or reschedule it for another time and/or location. Or get me on the phone to briefly discuss the meeting options and preferences.

The appointment itself of course has all the details with respect to the people, places, dates, times, as well as the project, available as links to their respective streams. I go into the Brandaris stream and mark some of our (non-sensitive) information accessible by Bill, so Bill can get a feel about our knowledge on this project. Also, any (email) conversations that were done and relate to this contact can be found back easily. So you will never get emails from your administrator anymore, asking about availability of people, who initiated the meeting, etc. And you don't have to keep separate and personal files and folders on each and everyone, every project, etc. Just define a simple view on it. (Or better, let Thriller intelligently suggest a project name if it recognizes a certain behavior in meetings an people and topics and dates and events and locations. Thriller: "Hey, it seems to me that you've been discussing this before. What if we created a project view for this. What name would you like to use?")

So, back composing my message, I erase the last few words "that involves", since I've got more than enough clues to get the addressees informed. And I close by saying:

"...I am setting up a meeting with Bill to discuss this opportunity at Talens."

In split second time, Thriller highlights "meeting", "Bill" and "Talens", referring to the pending meeting I've just scheduled, Bill Joy (again) and the Talens company. I sign off and send out the message.

Later we meet, and Bill brought along his new manager as well. We all but Bill' manager open our PalmPilot and we all exchange electronic business cards in a blip of time. Another event in our life streams and easy to find back later, either in your own life stream or in the Brandaris stream. Thriller puts all of this in context.

During that meeting, Bill's manager, who is quite old-fashioned and refuses to use modern technology and still uses a notebook, is flipping through the pages in his notebook trying to find this other name that showed up in a similar occasion. He flipped through his complete notebook twice, from front to back and vice versa. He couldn't find it. Invaluable notes. Yet completely worthless. Two months later, he got fired. He "didn't fit in".

While talking, each of us jots little notes and keywords of the conversations in our PDAs. The back end network (yes, we're always on-line) puts each and every key word in context, marking them accordingly. Unknowns again show up highlighted so that you can add information later. Or, better still, ask anyone in the meeting if he or she knows more about it, since we don't have anything on it!

Thriller sucks in all these little infobites. Others have shown interest in certain things, are working on the same project, or have shown interest in some of the key players in this business opportunity. So they get notified whenever there appears new information on this project or person in the knowledge space. Better still, Thriller users are encouraged if not addicted to provide it with useful and accurate information. Just because it has immediate and very valuable rewards if you do so. Failing to do this makes you contribute less to your organization. And this will show. Thriller makes you and your company extremely successful and competitive.

As you can see, Thriller turns into a knowledge system, boosting our collective IQ. And not only ours, but also that of our partners, our allies. And even our families and personal friends. Whenever we talk with others, go to a meeting, make appointments, give or receive presentations, travel, etc. we generate and collect a wealth of information. If we could only blend this information together into a more coherent synergetic whole, it would give us tremendous power over and insight/topsight over our life, our business.

It's such a waste to keep retyping email addresses, people's names, project names and descriptions, phone numbers, locations, appointments in all those different information systems, both small and large. I want this organism to intelligently collect and manage all this info, have infobots or agents look around for other interesting information related to this unique business opportunity that we've put a project team on. And, for the time being, until Thriller is the de facto standard, outgoing streams keep my legacy tools up-to-date as well, pushing info into Outlook, my (UNIX) Calendar Manager, my email outbox, our corporate customer database, etc. At the same time, these infobots keep sucking information out of those order entry systems, ERP systems, financial systems, service center database, and into Thriller. Until the day that, yes, we can shut the last of those legacy systems off and run fully on Thriller (our new legacy ;-).

In general, I'd like Thriller to give me the topsight on:

People - single individuals, or groups or communities of individuals. A project team, a department, a company, yes even a country, all examples of communities. Not to forget your family. The smallest community being a single individual.

Places - locations, collections of locations; a room, a desk, a car, a building, a planet, a position on a printed circuit board. In absolute 3D coordinates, or as a ZIP code, x-y position, or relative to another location. It allows me to find out where things are, where to go for a meeting, where I left my laptop, etc.

Things - single things, like your camera, your laptop, your pen, or assemblies, collections of things grouped together for some purpose. E.g. all the stuff you pack for a holiday. Or all the stuff in your office. Ideal if it gets stolen and you can supply the insurance company with a list of missing items. Or when you move internally in your organization. And of course, things are at a given location at a given time.

Events - single events: a birth, the date and time you bought that CD, the time you received your books ordered at Amazon, the appointment you have with Bill and your manager. Events can take some time, a second, 30 minutes, an hour, several days. Events can recur, like Christmas and Eastern. So events have a frequency: once every day, every first monday of the month, every third Sunday after full moon. Zero meaning this event occurs once. And events have a duty cycle (or duration), daily between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., every second hour, 15 minutes past the whole hour, this weeks episode of the X Files is broadcasted.

Projects - a collection of all of the above (including (sub-) projects itself) in order to achieve some goal. Going on vacation is a project, organizing a trip to JavaOne this year, with all Dutch Javaneers is a project. Get this deal at Talens is a project. All these projects involve people, places, things, events and projects.

So, I can track where things have been lately (if the owner allows), where things will be going soon. And if it can meet the planning requirements. Flow, stream. The system anticipates depending on my behavior . It also learns from my behavior. The more information and experiences I put into the system, the better it will anticipate me and my enterprise. The better it will suit me and know about my preferences. The better I can be in pursuing opportunities, doing projects (in the broadest sense). And what's even better, I can share my experiences and knowledge with others if I like. I'll still be in control of who's allowed to see what and when and for how long. But I want to share. I thrive by sharing, since that's the only way we can get that project done successfully and on time, efficiently, effectively.

If I ask our (internal) travel agency to book a trip from Holland to the Sun Mountain View campus in California, it will anticipate the flight, the rental car, the hotel. And yes, it will pre-cache my electronic office to a nearby server, so that when I'm in my hotel, I can do all the things I can do in my home country, with the same speed and responsiveness, real-time. And I don't have to carry all this stuff around. I don't have to carry my 10 GB around with me, worrying about backups, disk crashes, confidential information (if it gets stolen). The only thing I have to carry around is me, myself and I (yes, I have to lose weight).

Now, when can Thriller do all this?

And how does it all work? Well, read David Gelernter's Mirror Worlds based on the Linda System. Thriller uses that as its foundation.

Can Thriller help me to get topsight over my 200+ MB of mail (which is my life), stored in 25+ folders and in 1200 different files?! And let me share this stored, yet untapped knowledge with my colleagues and partners, and in other contexts with my family and friends.

David Gelernter asked himself if this topsight would change us rather than us changing topsight. I think it'll work both ways. We will work and communicate and live differently if concepts as Thriller gain presence in our day to day life. Yes. As we feed Thriller, it will feed us. As Thriller adapts to us, we will adapt to it (or him, or her?). It will create symbiosis between man and "machines" (better: a vast network of infobots). We cannot live without each other anymore. If either dies, the other will perish. Make my day. Succes en plezier,

© Copyright August 1999 - Martien F. van Steenbergen
mailto:Martien@van.Steenbergen.nl +31 34 732 6430 (home)
http://Martien.van.Steenbergen.nl +31 65 354 5960 (mobile)
Ursulinenhof 46
4133 DJ Vianen
The Netherlands

Thriller is a trademark from Martien van Steenbergen.

Come back to where you started, and read how Thriller can become a reality soon.