Cory Doctrow: Seven Obstacles

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Friday, I attended a Keynote from Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google, and he introduced “Doctrow’s Seven Obstacles” in the Semantic Web:

1. People lie
2. People are lazy
3. People are stupid
4. Mission impossible: know thyself
5. Schemas aren’t neutral
6. Metrics influence results
7. There’s more than one way to describe things

It is interesting you can describe system behaviour (and therefore design systems accordingly) using these seven obstacles. Systems that failed due to mostly operator (or developer error) are referred as [Corey 3: Stupid], while low adoption of product or systems are referred as [Corey 2: Lazy].

At the same time, it provides a framework to design product or systems that could minimize these obstacles. What if people use it for malicious intentions [Corey 1: Lie]? What if people don’t take the necessary precautions [Corey 2: Lazy]? Could they do this some other way [Corey 7: More than 1 Way]?

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