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Discussion Platform

Key Members

Shinya Hanano, Yoshihiro Kaneko, Makoto Takema

Project Objective

E-mail is suitable for making contacts, but not for discussions. Discussions by e-mail often cause excessive arguments, goes out and drifts. This project aims to develop a system consisting of logical and perceptual interfaces to support constructive discussions through computer networks and establish a communication environment which is different from current e-mail and WWW systems.

Current Status

Our analysis of e-mail discussions proved that participants cannot concentrate into discussions unless human coordinators do not actively lead the discussions.

Thus, we designed the network discussion platform to provide the coordinator agent and the active mail with two types of interfaces. The logical interface arranges messages, stimulates participants' attentions and guides constructive discussions. The perceptual interface displays transitions of discussions on a WWW screen with a sense of presence.

  1. Coordinator Agent:

    The Coordinator Agent interprets a set of transition rules called a scenario. It supports a human coordinator to grasp the discussion situation. The internal expression of the scenario is based on available protocol description languages, i.e., AgenTalk and Estelle. We also developed a simple GUI editor for defining the rules.

  2. Active Mail:

    When an e-mail is sent, the sender adds the active mail script to his/her message. The script runs on a receiver's computer. The script can perform various functions including visualizing discussions.


Future Direction

We are going to use this system for the following purposes. We will apply the system to various fields after building an early prototype.

  1. As the information disclosure, citizens are getting a huge amount of information through the networks. This project supports integration of opinions from citizens and helps citizens to join in the administration and politics.

  2. The organization of companies becomes flat introducing network systems such as intranets. This project aids decision-making in the network-oriented organizations.


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