Wednesday, September 10, 2008

imindi (2): what indeed is imindi?

Now let's forget the nonsense made by Mark Cuban but focus ourselves onto the main issue---why is imindi brilliant? Is imindi an unrealistic dream, or is it a service that have no financial future in near term, or is it something else?

I, probably more than anybody else in this world (even including possibly the two co-founders themselves at some sense), might be able to answer these questions. Unlike the two co-founders who in some sense have been over-occupied by their intuition, I may interpret the power and reality of the service from a much more objective viewpoint. So let me start to explain my view over this fantastic revolution.

(1) imindi is about embodying thinking.

Many people get afraid of this statement. "Get into your head", it looks like a dangerous term. Indeed, however, it is not frightening at all. For people still doubt of it, please watch the following question:

are you afraid of blogging?

Blogging, one of the most popular Web services ever, is indeed about embodying human thinking---turning authors' thoughts into blog posts. If people are not afraid of blogging, why should they be afraid of authoring a few thoughts using imindi?

If it is said "Imindi wants to get into your head," isn't blogging already getting into your head at a very profound level? What on earth can another service dig into people's mind deeper than blogging?

(2) imindi is similar to mini-blogging.

However, imindi is not a traditional style blogging. If we have to compare, the imindi service is closer to mini-blogging. imindi is a compact new way of authoring thoughts.

In this busy and extremely information overloading age, Twitter has demonstrated the power of mini-blogging by saving people time and triggering active thinking because users have to encode their thoughts within 140 characters. While quite a few skeptics questioned (some still are questioning) whether it could be successful, the popularity of Twitter until now shows the success of mini-blogging.

In similar, imindi restricts any thought unit to be specified into no more than FIVE words. Unlike Twitter, however, imindi allows users to describe a thought into a graph containing multiple thought units in contrast to a sentence of statement or question. With some simple graphical display of thoughts, imindi has at least identical power of knowledge expression as what mini-blogging can express.

(3) imindi saves time and help recording thoughts.

Does imindi cost investing more time as Mark Cuban accused? Not at all.

Suppose one has a thought in mind and wants to share it. Option 1 is to write a blog post about it, and Option 2 is to scratch a brief outline of the thoughts. Which option would cost less time?

For ones with just a little bit experience of writing, they may conclude almost immediately that Option 1 must cost more time than Option 2. It is indeed fairly sophisticated and time-consuming to convert a few main points to be a fluent article; every writer knows it.

Moreover, unexperienced writers often lose their points when writing articles because the processing of producing articles from a few thoughts is just non-trivial. Blogging is a hard work. Good blogging requires professional training of writing. Even with all of that, blogging is still a time-consuming job.

On the other hand, poor skill of writing does not equal to poor thoughts. Many people have great thoughts but they cannot deliver the thoughts since they cannot write well. At the same time, it would be much easier for them to just list a few main points of their thought since it does not require the technique of writing sentences and paragraphs.

Writing a list of main points of a thought is, however, exactly what imindi is asking. So, at least to those hundreds of millions of bloggers all over the world, imindi must cost them less time to express thoughts than writing blog posts.

Moreover, for billions of people who are not blogging, isn't it very much likey that a decent percentage of these people might join the force of thought contribution since imindi has now freed them from the requirement of high skill writing?

Are we excited now? Indeed, we are just warmed up. Some revolution is about to start.

(4) imindi automatically connects similar embodied thoughts.

This is the first revolution imindi brings to the world.

There is a breathtaking beauty in imindi's implementation of connecting embodied thoughts. It encourages the ambiguity of thought connection!

If you are not a true IT guy or if you are not a real geek, you may not feel how great the revolution is (though it is only one of the several revolutions imindi carries, and not even the greatest one). But if you allow me to quote a sentence written by Professor Seth Lloyd at MIT in his illuminating book "Programming the Universe", you will get it.

"... for computers, ambiguity is a bug. ... The ambiguity of human language is not a bug, it's a bonus!" (pg. 27)

Should I say more? On Semantic Web and artificial intelligence, computer scientists have struggled on solving the ambiguity of knowledge expression for many years. The reason is straight---teach computers to think while computers are bad at handling ambiguity. As the result, computer scientists have no other choices but to make ambiguity a bug and try to solve it in programming. Years after, many young generation computer geeks have nearly forgotten the origin of the problem by blindly following what they learned from textbook that ambiguity is a bug to solve.

But here is the critical point---for real thinking, ambiguity is a bonus but not a bug. Hence, the change is eventually asked by someone who is not a computer geek, such as a neuroscientist, Dr. Galen Kaufman, a co-founder of imindi. From his profession, Galen has intuitively insisted on constructing the mind index of imindi service (called mindex) in a different way (actually closer to real neuron connections in human brains) that normal computer scientists may not adopt. Without disclosing the technological details, the consequence is that mindex favors the mixture of semantics, i.e., the increase (but not decrease) of ambiguity of semantics in mindex. Be honest, both the professional developers of imindi and me have not gotten the point of design at the beginning. I finally got the point only after reading Prof. Lloyd's book. This is indeed the beauty of human thinking. And this is the first step that makes imindi service unique.

imindi actually empowers computers to improve human thinking in contrast to enhance computers to simulate human thinking. imindi is working on human intelligence but not artificial intelligence.

I believe all of the panelists, including the most geeky Kevin Rose, missed the point because the founders of imindi failed to tell them. Here is, however, a very unfortunate double curse of knowledge. What intuitive to imindi founders are novel to the geeky panelist such as Kevin, what intuitive to Kevin is unknown to the imindi founders. As the result, great innovation becomes a classic mess of miscommunication.

(5) imindi discloses and constructs a new layer of the Web.

In essence, such a layer essentially exists but implicitly. But imindi service turns it to be explicit. This is an attempt of disclosing the implicit web.

On the superficial level, imindi is constructing a web of human mind. In its real meaning, as suggested by the company name and visioned by the founders' vision, imindi is constructing a web of individuals, i.e., "i"s. That is, the company is "i-mind-i".

Be responsible to the interest of the founders, I would not disclose more details of this vision publicly in this post. I have participated much thinking of constructing the vision. I must say that it is another revolution. By discussing the details with the co-founders, I was really amazed that imindi turned many difficult problems to be much easier pieces to solve. I just cannot help expecting the future of imindi.

(6) Besides these aspects, imindi has several other great innovations that requires more human and financial resources to develop. After deeply shared with the imindi co-founders, I have to say that I am deeply impressed how far imindi can carry us. The most important thing is, however, none of them are wild dreams. From a professional computer scientist's point of view, all the innovations are realizable because of the unique vision and design of infrastructure created by the imindi co-founders.

By the way, after understanding these described innovation, does anybody still doubt of the business model of imindi?

imindi is a revolution. If the two innovators of imindi are killed on the stage of Silicon Valley by a few irresponsible dirty words, I would rather say that it is one of the most shameful events in the history of Web innovation.


gregory said...

that stage killed no one, it was a very necessary learning experience.

gregory said...

first, "embodying thinking" as a phrase ... i take this to mean that it reinforces the structuring of abstract thought into language in such a way that it reveals linguistic connections. it might reveal connections that were not apparent between groups of ideas in language.

crystallized thoughts/memes. in sanskrit they were/are called sutras. very short aphorisms that contain thought in seed form. extremely sophisticated ideas can be strung together using simple sutras.

imindi seems to also add a graphical shape component, a spatial arrangement of ideas. in this it reminds me of two things for which it could be a precursor. ideograms, and sacred geometry. there does seem to be a near-decorative compnent to the ways they are used. like a crop circle.

and machine-readable.


the no-mind state of zen, which exists prior to verbalized thought, can go directly from pure awareness to idea, bypassing words, which are only employed later in the expression of the idea. a yogi might find imindi to be a cumbersome middle step that is not required..

i write these thoughts having never seen the product ..

even with yihong's post, the story of imindi is not being told in a way that gets it. my first phrase would be, "a shorthand writing system for ideas" ... but i know nothing. yet.

enjoy, gregory lent

Yihong Ding said...

thank you, gregory. I think your thought has been close to the truth of Imindi. We are going to open our beta test in about two weeks. At the moment, you may have a better evaluation of the service.



Restitches said...

My first thought: outside the nine dots. I can conceive of many applications. Do you include implicit info on "how ambiguous" (maybe subjective, clearly relative)? Maybe "how many rabbits went down this trail?" Really interesting fresh application of implicit info married to explicit - or is it metadata?
Very exciting stuff. I assume much more than shorthand because the fragments are connected as a network, not linearly?
Could be very helpful in streamlining the information gathering process as well as analysis.
How can one follow developments?
2 snaps in a circle, wish I had investment $ left.

Yihong Ding said...

Restitches (or Jonni?),

thank you for the comments. You are right. Imindi is a very exciting one. I do wish its success because its potential is unbelievable. Very rare we may find such a product. Only thing I regret is that I do not have much money to invest it myself either. :-(