Making the most of hereish and nowish

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    for a blog post, inspired by Tom Coates' talk at kiwifoo.

    Rev Dan Catt, Tom Coates, and 36 other people added this photo to their favorites.

    1. antimega 116 months ago | reply

      I'm not sure. I *nearly* had a lattitude-only mediated meeting at the weekend. When London is full of -ishs - when-ish and where-ish in particular - the flashing blue bot of the present can be very helpful.

    2. moleitau 116 months ago | reply

      but I'd say then you're looking up from the 'now' in the lightcone. Hereish and soonish is where there's value, also. I should alter this to make the white bit narrower.

    3. adamgreenfield 116 months ago | reply

      Also, not to be a dick, but I'm not sure the past light cone originates in now. I think we have (from our perspective, anyway) one single light cone which originates from our birth and intersects the plane of a present continuously sweeping out the cone.

    4. dan mogford 116 months ago | reply

      Christ. This makes my head hurt.

    5. crouchingbadger 116 months ago | reply

      This looks like a graphic from The Day Today. Are you sure this isn't a fact travelling through infospace?

    6. Bopuc 116 months ago | reply

      one needs to consider that the "cones" are not solid but are the agglomerated view of "paths from the past to now" and "possible trajectories in the future". This resolves Adam's concern (there is only a straight time line between where you were at a specific point in the past to where you are now. Aggregate all those lines, every place you have ever been and where you are now, and you will get something that looks like a cone. A wobbly one depending the map used for the "hypersurface of space."

      Also, consider: the past is memories (archives?), the future is hopes and dreams (intentions? the best laid plans of mice and men...)

      Also this view leans heavily on "where ever you go, there you are" and "it is not I that is lost, but the village". what I mean by that is that your point in this graph matrix is fixed in the here and now: it is the map below and above you that moves.

      There is not nec plus ultra visualisation of space and time. This is a decent one. Let's stop squabbling. ;)

      (all of this has rather little to do with the intent of the slide itself, which if i get the context right is about finding commercial viability in archival and intention mapping systems (such as Dopplr and other location sharing things).)

    7. Tom Coates 116 months ago | reply

      I think the light-cone-ness here is simply a shorthand. I'm guessing the width of the cone at any point represents the value of the information. I'm not sure I buy this. An hourglass figure with the fat bits relatively close to the centre (1 hour to 1 week in the future / past) would probably make more sense to me.

      I get the general point though - that maybe the real-time ness of something isn't terribly interesting in an of itself. I think I half agree with it. Using the now to plan for ten minutes / half an hour / a day in the future is useful, as is plotting and reflecting on where you've been a few moments ago. But on the other hand, being alerts when someone directly passes your house, or using geography to *trigger* things immediately around you (like for example actions in a gaming environment, or tool-tips in an augmented reality tool, or home automation stuff) requires that immediacy.

      Essentially then, humans often don't need to know where you are immediately, but hardware / software might benefit from it — if only because they don't find the incoming pings distracting and can therefore give it their full and undivided attention...

    8. matthewirvinebrown 116 months ago | reply

      Slight digression, but at towers I'd say we are equally interested in all three - especially when hereish and nowish is within the bounds of whatever you're currently listening to. Lots of meat in there. For us, anyway. If I've got this right. I think.

    9. moleitau 116 months ago | reply

      I should point out I didn't draw the original light-cone diagrams... I pinched them from a physics article... The (seemingly-still-contentious) overlay is mine though.

    10. neb 116 months ago | reply

      i think i'd render the past as a set of stalactites dripping off the entire hypersurface, recording the people and objects with state history leaving traces into the viewers knowledgestream, information getting progressively less rich as it is dropped from the "buffers of near-now".

    11. Bopuc 116 months ago | reply

      snap! neb++

    12. warrenellis 116 months ago | reply

      I would render the past as an MRI of Roddy McDowall's prostate, and the future as a diagram of how one of Lady GaGa's wigs will dissolve due to UV exposure over the next twenty-one months.

      You'll get on that soon, I know.

    13. liminalists 116 months ago | reply

      I think we haven't had enough experience with the instantaneous forms of social communication to know if/how they're useful.

      FWIW, a number of the most useful communication tools are firmly rooted in the nowish; f2f / telephone / im, and don't work optimally if there are delays greater than about 500ms (allowing for non-verbal gestures, of course, which is why delay on the phone is more infuriating than delay in f2f conversation).

      There's something here, though - I suspect Tom's right, and value for social communication tools explodes "soon after the event" or "leading up to the event", and contracts from there.

      It's also very strongly media-dependent. Precise location data is past its best-by date about 5-10 minutes after publishing for moving subjects. City level location data is valuable until about two hours before you need to start the "exit city" procedures.

      Photos have one kind of value based on search that extends way back in time, but immediate conversation about stuff you're in the process of uploading is probably more interesting (as a social tool) in near-real-time than a day or week later. I see flickr photos sometime between a few minutes and twelve hours due to the slow aggregation of bloglines, but I'm obsessive, and my family usually takes a week to comment on photos. Because I'm not thinking about the photos a week after uploading, the conversational value has deteriorated.

      etc, etc. Looking forward to the blog post! :-)

    14. salimismail 116 months ago | reply

      Tom, consider that you might be over-analyzing this... see this diagram showing the news cycle: - it came from a Mary Meeker report and is very valid today if you consider Twitter a discovery mechanism.

      Also, check this diagram about how we thought about real time info at PubSub. We graphed the age of information vs how much of it we were able to collect.

      Happy to discuss, but the above diagram is missing an important element: context. If you have context for information, then low latency delivers extremely high value irrespective of whether it's social or not... 2D is often plenty good enough? : ))


    15. Bopuc 116 months ago | reply

      love those graphs. I remember going over them with Ethan Zuckerman and Rebecca MacKinnon, explaining them to Reuters on one of our visits to them (as team)

      Embarrassingly, I broke out into a "precogs! precoooogs!" chanting fit... hehehe

    16. michal migurski 116 months ago | reply

      Reminds me of this thing that Adam and I came up with Oakland crime stats:

      Something important to include in the illustration is density: the present is very small, but also very massy. The past and future are broader, but diffuse and hard to get a grip on.

    17. neb 116 months ago | reply

      taking into account @warrenellis' "prostate directive" and @migurski's astute observations about the diffuse nature of the notnow, perhaps the diagram should be refactored thusly:

      The Possibility Jelly lives on the hypersurface of the present. ;)

    18. Just_Tom 116 months ago | reply

      I love this thread!

      Speaking of which, perhaps the present is tightly spinning the fleece of the future into the yarn of the past.

      Which has a nice old-person ring to it... "spin us a yarn, grandpa?" and also the fleece of possibility sounds like a Greek myth :)

    19. Rev Dan Catt 116 months ago | reply

      Personally I think the top cone should be replaced with an interlocked bifurcating kline surface connected to the past which is still effecting the potential future chaos attractors. To better represent what's more likely to happen rather than all possibilities.

      Of course passing an opinion is easier than drawing it.

    20. michal migurski 116 months ago | reply

      Moleitau And The Fleece Of Possibility: Moleitau and the Moleinauts encounter Stalactus, the hypersurface jellyfish.

    21. Rev Dan Catt 116 months ago | reply

      PS. You missed an important bit, hope this helps ...


    22. neb 116 months ago | reply

      @rev_dan_catt who said anything about drawing? [although I admit our hero Moleitau is quite the sketch artist]. it's all about pinching diagrams and/or photos of Stalactus using the past-combing stinging tentacles of referential hypermediation™.

    23. liminalists 116 months ago | reply

      You people are insane. Also, I will point out that my earlier remarks make no sense whatsoever in this new context. Comment threads that don't account for the hypersurface of the present just end up with Schrödinger's cat having kittens on account of all this possibility jelly.

    24. Bopuc 116 months ago | reply

      how about this:
      this hypersurface of the present, or "now" if you will, is a separatrix between what we call "the past" and "the future", neither of which exist but as information (memories and projections).

      We all exist in this non-existent point! Together, man!

      /me takes a toke, passes it on... :)

    25. dan mogford 116 months ago | reply

      May I order 1 x "Possibility Jelly" T-shirt (Large). Thank you.

    26. michal migurski 116 months ago | reply

      In the Marvel universe, Moleitau is herald to Stalactus, Eater Of Time™.

    27. plugimi 116 months ago | reply

      Just briefly glanced over this thread but I knew that the Sonnabend Model of Obliscence would appear in all its glory!

    28. Bopuc 116 months ago | reply

      on further caffeinated armchair philosophomasizing...
      I don't think there can be any one model or visualisation, other than highly stylised ones (as the magnificent example above) as there are as many possibilities as there are events in a moment. If we maintain that there is only one "now" however, then that becomes the center and focal point, on which we can center overlaid views of all these moments and events, and we might end up with a giant blob...

      ... or sphere. And thus I am reminded of Borges, speaking of Pascal, who adapted an old saying to his own case (where he could not reconcile his christianity with his mathematics):
      "Nature is a frightful sphere, who's center is everywhere and perimeter, nowhere."

      /self throatpunch ;)

    29. GavinBell 115 months ago | reply

      One late to the party thought.
      We rarely want who-ish, except when ringing our parents at home.
      Generally we want a specific person or a service from a place.

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