Thought Repository

Media Lab Woofie

At work on Wednesday, Alex and I settled on an idea for a joint project for our Ambient Intelligence class. This was a load off my mind. First of all, the toughest part of a project is getting the idea. Being able to brainstorm with someone else was only the beginning of what make me prefer not working alone. Having an idea is a big load off my mind. Also, knowing that I'm not going to have to do it alone, but will have someone to help me get over the obstacles, makes it feel much more bearable. I'm glad to be working with Alex both to be working on any sort of group project and because we are good friends and it will be good finally to be able to discuss a project we have a shared investment in. Finally, I think our different skills and preferences will complement each other well.

The idea is one based on a concept we frequently talk about so it is good to have something that already interested us to work on. The project is basically implementing the woofie system from the book Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom. He shared this book with me and I loved it. We frequently talk about their respect based economy, woofie being the name of the "currency". While I don't particually care for that name, the idea of respect rating systems is a good one. It's not original, but whether you call it karma, kudos, plusplus, props, or woofie, there is no existing electronic system that is ambient and pervasive like described in Cory Doctorow's book and like we want to build. Most are restricted to a single website or IRC channel for a limited domain of people. Although for our project and demo it will probably still only cover the media lab, it won't be intrisically tied to this population. Not that I expect our idea to take off, but it's fun to think about.