So much of Computing and Information Systems, both the research and available technology (IT), is aimed at the 'organisation', with the individual as a footnote, as merely the minions who are at one with the organisation, at all times, who are assumed to be totally subserviant to their primary employer. It is time that more software was aimed at empowering the individual. We've made a Big contribution here with the DigitalFriend, starting with an architecture baised on arguably the most sophisticated psychology currently available aimed at personal empowerment and Self knowledge, right through to the user-friendly tools that enact the human-oriented architecture and which reinforce that in the user interface itself.
The above cited traditional IT lack of focus upon the individual is doubly the case with respect to Agent Oriented (AO) systems: the use of which are usually only suited to geeks and heavily trained technologists. But, in our case, we make AO tools aimed at the end user. I clearly recall employing artists back in the late 1980s (to design computer game components), and it seemed then that more artists than not were anti-computer. When I asked why, an answer commonly given continued to surprised me - "Computers are an artefact produced by the techno-military machine, and I don't want anything to do with them!" they remonstrated. Maybe that was an elaborate excuse then, covering a commonly held fear of technological change, and maybe not. Either way, most artists nowadays happily use computers. The reason I mention the anecdote here, is that 'software agent' research is currently heavily financed by military or national government funds closely related to the military. Personally, I believe that this overly-strong association between agent-oriented software and the military is a significant part of what has impeded adoption of the Agent Oriented (AO) paradigm, as a mainstream paradigm, one that could be on par or beyond the well-entrenched Object-oriented paradigm (OOP).
With the DigitalFriend we've turned the whole emphasise around: firstly, the software and the methodology is more focused on people, than on agent-oriented techniques within it; secondly, we aimed the usability of the software at the end-user community, rather than at technical specialists; and thirdly, we've largely self-financed the research and development (with the exception of funding from Telstra Ltd - Australia's domestic telco - in the form of a Telstra Broadband Fund grant).
Since at least the Renaissance man forward, we have become accustomed to muliple sub-personalities or sub-selves within. The one person may be: a traveller, a teacher, an artist, a photographer, a parent, an investor, and a sports person, without an fragmentation of identity. With each of those roles go a whole raft of experiences, memories and various associations - indeed a part of the psyche that encapsulates a sub-self, eminately skilled to deal with that aspect of a life, when needed. The DigitalFriend encourages you to identify such roles in your life (indeed, we have a new methodology to help you along with that), and the web services, rss feeds, data feeds and software agents you will acrue, are categories then accessed via such roles and sub-selves.
One way to think of the DigitalFriend and the methodology, is as: 'the Individual strikes back'. Since the invention of the East Indian Company by Queen Victoria, corporations have been treated legally as if they were a person, but without morality systems, such as those subscribed to by most individuals. The DigitalFriend allows the individual to be multi-skilled and have up to the minute data like an organisation - by building a whole organisation of sub-selves, with various capabilities to enhance the individual.
There is a methodology that facilitates the building of your digital friend with the DigitalFriend...
End User Computing
SOAP web services
Orchestration of Web Services
Your Personal Attention
Role-Based Message Lens
Personal File Manager
Personal Assistant Agents