Tuesday, May 25, 2004


This is pretty much dominating my free thought cycles at the moment. Basically an extension of the jabber IM system to include virtual and real "worlds". The simplest examples are the interconnection of MU*'s and the facilitation of inter-world trade. This trade is of the type discussed in the "walrus" article on Castranova's work.

The key behind the interworlds concept is the fact that the protocols over which the interworlds communicate need not be interworld aware.

Poppin' pillz

The ID token (which I call a pill, visualised like one of the powerups in Arkanoid, Revenge of Doh; this allows the user to take the pill and see how deep the rabbit hole goes :-) ) is a central concept. It operates similarly to kerberos in terms of trust relationships, but in many ways is very different.

So how does she work?

An example is in order. First the analog side:
I meet someone in the street (a world-space), they have no idea who I am, we have a conversation about quantum computing and then part ways without exchanging id info. He will then be able to recognise me by my face. (local world ID token)

I now know him by face and add think of him as "The quantum computing guy". (This is a one-entry meta contact with friendly name "The quantum computing guy")

The next time I am on the same street, I recognise the person and go talk to him. This works fine as long as the person's face doesn't change. (If it does change they are most likely not wanting to be recognised anyways.)

Enter the interworld

Now the person and I wish to take the relationship to another world-space, by exchanging phone numbers. I take his cell-phone number and missed call him, we have now authenticated our phone numbers and can recognise each other in the GSM world-space based our phone numbers. (world ID tokens, or pills)

Now I add the phone number to my knowledge of "the quantum computing guy", although our lacking social skills have meant we still haven't exchanged names. (phone number added to meta-contact)

Pillbox organisation

I then get a phone-call, and it is from "the quantum computing guy". (I have caller ID of course) I answer my phone, "This is Paul speaking." He says, "Hello Paul, this is Bob." I will then add the name "Bob" to "the quantum computing guy" (So now my meta-contact contains: Bob, the quantum computing guy, facial signature, cell-phone number)

I then set "Bob" as the primary id, as I feel Bob is a better ID. If bob wasn't unique, I could either create a composite ID or add another free-form ID string (which can include other ID's) that I feel is unique.

Trusted Authentication

Now it turns out that Bob is wanting to leave his job and I need a new quantum computing guy, so we discuss the prospects of employment. He tells me he went to the University de Computing a la Tiny (UCT) which is a world leader in small things, particularly quantum computing. He gives me their address and I walk over there, I look at his ID card clipped to his belt and add his staff number to my store. I then stop by reception and ask them about staffmember X1A3FF they tell me that he is a professor in quantum computing, has been there for 10 years and lives in room 314. I have now authenticated his UCT ID and store that info against his name. (I add the authenticated UCT pill to his meta-contact box)

This all translates quite nicely into my Interworlds structure which I will elaborate later.

See also:


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