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[REBOL] Re: I've had it with email.

From: pwoodward:cncdsl at: 29-Jul-2002 9:15

Email, dead? hmm - that's a tough one. I too get a lot of spam - probably about 20 messages a day are "spam", some of which a signed up for, some of it unsolicited. By and large it hasn't been too much of a problem, with a combination of inbox rules which sort my mail into folders - family, work, personal, lists, etc. Usually the only thing left in my inbox is stuff from someone/thing I don't already know. However, I've been investigating intermediated interfaces to the internet lately. Initially I downloaded and modified the REBOL proxy server, and added a little bit of logic to it to log out what I was browsing. I have since moved over to a Java based proxy - as I was able to acquire a framework for bots and spiders which was very useful. What I am hoping to do is write an agent which helps classify the content of various links. Things like HTML pages could be analyzed for their content breakdown, and eventually some crude media analysis done on non-text assets. In a similar vein, Email could be "proxied" - and to a certain extent already is. Many of us have more than one email address, which is collected by the same mail agent to present a unified inbox. One of the things I'm trying to work out is a mechanism like that found in Black and White. Essentially the agent functions in the background crawling the web for things you might like. You can then positively or negatively reinforce it's findings. By keeping a catalog of page analyses, and a positive/negative rating for "found" pages an agent could be "trained" to bring back things you're likely to find interesting. Another aspect of this process is aggregating and slicing and dicing this information retrieval. A default "home page" if you will, which is generated by the agent for you - clipping headings, and tracking changed links - all within one "dashboard". Clicking on a link could result in a customized page view after parsing by the local agent. Etc. However, there are several dangers inherent in this sort of approach. 1> Metaphore shear. When I say go to http://... you know exactly what I mean. As our interface to web assets becomes more mediated, it may be more difficult to communicate directly. 2> As our interaction becomes less direct, so to does our ability to verify the source and truth of a web asset. 3> If "direct" channels such as email become mediated (whether for autotranslation, or other purposes) there exists a chance for misunderstanding - or malicious corruption. 4> Acquisition of a persons mediation agent profile could reveal a lot of information about them. In short - I don't see email, or web disappearing - but rather the ways in which we interact with them changing. - Porter