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WhyWiki

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 7 months ago

 

April 28, 2008

 

TO: Members of IEC TC 25/WG 5

FROM:Professor Richard Doyle (US)

RE: Wiki Database

 

During our meeting of 24 October 2007 in Paris, we discussed the use of a wiki interface to gather and display the database material mandated by 80000 DB. Since that time, there has been some resistance to the use of wiki as well as progress towards its implementation with ISO, ITU and IEC, and with this text I wish to bring you all up to date concerning our common project. Because this memo is itself presented to you on a wiki, please feel free to click "edit page" ( in the upper left corner of this page) to make changes or additions. All versions will be saved, so do not worry about \"clobbering\" an older version created by your colleagues. If you wish to have further instruction concerning the use of wiki before proceeding, please click here. Otherwise, the password is displayed when you click on "edit". For redundancy's sake, I will give it again: The password is "zebrah!", no quotes. Yoy may also comment on the page by clicking on the comment button above, and you may also create a new page by clicking, yes, "new page."

 

In IEC 80000-14:2008, names, symbols, and definitions for quantities and units of telebiometrics related to human physiology are given. This part of IEC 80000 encompasses quantities and units for physiological, biological or behavioural characteristics that might provide input or output to telebiometric identification or verification systems (recognition systems), including any known detection or safety thresholds. It also includes quantities and units concerned with effects on a human being caused by the use of a telebiometric device. International Standard IEC 80000-14 has been prepared by IEC technical committee 25: Quantities and units, and their letter symbols in co-operation with ISO/TC 12.

 

With the acceptance of IEC 80000-14, standards organizations now have the proper metrological framework in which to develop standards with global relevance. As the first IEC physiological standard, 80000-14 promises to become a framework for the development of a wide range of standards for a whole range of physiological interactions between humans and machines. For example: The brain itself has now become an interface for interacting with video game devices, and this use of focused human attention to manipulate the digital world augurs the plausible transformation of the entirety of the human body into a programmable interface for manipulating and interacting with the digital world. By mapping different parts of the body to different effects in the digital world, both the brain and the rest of the the human body ( aka \"wetware\") become interactive and configurable according to individual desires and needs.

This "programming and metaprogramming of the human biocomputer" ( Lilly) makes us all the more aware of the interconnections between the body and its environment, and begs the question that drives 80000DB. What thresholds should serve as guidelines in designing systems for human interaction? As the first physiological standard in IEC, 80000-14 also reveals the absence of data and standards for such thresholds. While it may seem obvious, for example, that the involuntary TANGO-IN threshold for RFID Chip implantation in humans would be "zero" in most populations, the practice of implanting such chips in dogs accelerated even after research revealed plausible health risks to dogs and humans, in part because no relevant standards existed. Drawing on known thresholds from existing standards, the database will be bootstrapped from basic thresholds to create a framework within which users and researchers from around the world will be asked to add entries within the framework of the Telebiometric Multimodal Model.

 

This layer of the database will be accessible through a wiki hosted at Penn State University. Wikis - a user editable interface first used for sharing patterns of code in the US and created by Ward Cunningham - allow anyone anywhere to contribute data, both qualitative and quantitative - toward mapping the safe thesholds for human interaction with telebiometrics and other interfaces. As a wiki open to other users, the database will not be hosted on an IEC, ITU or ISO server, but will instead remain autonomous while displaying the logo of each standard organization.

 

Wikis are excellent tools for distributed non hierarchical knowledge production: Wikipedia, for example, has demonstrated that wikis are a robust technology for gathering, distributing, and correcting highly reliable and wide ranging information. While broadcast and print media often raised doubts about the efficacy of the Web 2.0 model of Wikipedia - user generated content - Wikipedia has continued to grow in both size and stature, making it the leading encyclopedia in the world in many languages. The Distributed Proof Reading project, while less well known, has an equally impressive output, as proof readers all over the world have helped correct and post over thirteen thousand electronic books to the public domain. The Linux operating system and Apache Server are themselves "user generated content"; these open source projects are created through the collaboration of users around the world.

 

The power of this sort of user generated content is at least two fold for a database devoted to telebiometric safety thresholds. First, "With a thousand pairs of eyes, all bugs are shallow". That is, both Wikipedia and Linux demonstrate that by focusing the attention of hundreds or thousands of contributors, errors are much more easily found and corrected. By leveraging the contributions of researchers from around the planet, we will ensure the accuracy of this (by definition) sensitive material, and the full range of human sensory response will be much more likely to be mapped. Second, as 80000-14 makes clear, existing standards yield little data about the "known thresholds" described in the Standard. By opening our inquiry to the multiple disciplines described in the Telebiometric Multimodal Model, we will ensure that all known thresholds are reported from those disciplines and researchers who respond. While access to the internet remains very uneasily distributed across the planet, a user editable internet site represents very real progress towards the goal of truly global standards.

 


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