Alexa, Jelly, and Web 3.8

Forget Web 2.0! That is so 2005! Now we have Web 3.8. Wow!

What is that? Remember ‘six degrees of separation’? Well, according to Biz Stone, the guys who came up with that theory have done more research and found that in this digitally connected era, the degrees of separation have reduced to just 3.8.

Rich Roll interviews Biz Stone in an intriguing interview where Biz explains his newest website and system – askjelly. Biz Stone is one of the guys who co-founded Twitter. Oh – that Biz Stone!


Askjelly is a systemised knowledgebase that uses people for answers instead of text-based information on the Internet. As Rich and Biz spoke I realised that Librarians might finally be out of a job. The famous quote by Neil Gaiman: ‘Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.’, might finally be defunct. Biz has found a way to crowd-source the subjective questions.

So I put askjelly to the test and posed the question: “What will happen to Librarians in the age of knowledge-bases, ‘jelly’ and AI?

And shortly thereafter I received two thoughtful replies:

From CallKathy:


And from Chris:


Biz’s theory is that there are not really unique questions, and that someone on this planet will have the answer for you.

He then went on to show how this technology works with Amazon’s Echo and Alexa and it evoked similarities to the AI robot in the movie Her.

Rich Roll has kindly listed a lot of the relevant articles and links in the show notes of his podcast information and it’s well worth a look.

As for the success of #askjelly and the future of Librarianship – only time will tell.


On the radio

Ray Jones is a radio commentator on the local community radio station 3RPCFM in the Western districts of Victoria Australia. He is an older guy who has been around Portland his whole life.

Yesterday he interviewed me for his program. The purpose of the interview was to advertise an upcoming event. Maura the Clairvoyant Librarian is touring Victoria as part of the Victorian Public Libraries Summer Read program organised and sponsored by the State Library of Victoria. Maura will predict your next great book to read. She will be in Portland on the Town Green on Friday 15th January from 11:00am until 2:00pm. The pre-recorded radio interview goes to air on Sunday 10th January and Wednesday 13th January during Ray’s program.

It was an interesting interview and Ray posed some tricky questions, that I was unprepared for. He posed the problem of the possibility of the internet crashing with far-reaching effects, and how our community depends so heavily on its functions. He talked about the deterioration of the English language and asked me who was to blame. He asked if I remembered Cuisenaire. I do.

I responded as the thoughts came to me. I told him (and the listener) that I had recently listened to the talk by Bill Thompson at The Big Issues conference held at the State Library of Victoria. Bill is a journalist from the UK and a commentator on technology and future trends. He stated that the current wave of online based technology is just in its infancy and no-one can predict what or how we will be using this type of technology in five years time.

I commented that the changes we see in English language usage – the deterioration of spelling and grammar (and perhaps our ability to express ourselves and communicate effectively) will only continue to get worse in my opinion. This is mainly due to the growing popularity and accessibility of online writing and conversations, such as this blog. I know my English language skills are not great and I do in fact blame the schooling system in the Victorian public schools in the 1970’s. Grammar was scrapped from the curriculum. (At least it was at the school I attended). I have had to work hard since then to try to bring my writing skills to an acceptable standard.

But further to that we all see how people abbreviate words for SMSing and the sentence constructions when using Twitter and Facebook. How long will it be before teachers start seeing this type of spelling appearing in school work? Maybe it is already.

By the way, Maura is not really clairvoyant, but a performer!! I think so anyway. I have been asked by customers if she is really a clairvoyant.

I have just finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson. It is the second in the trilogy and I loved it as much as the first one The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. I can imagine the movie with Bruce Willis playing the role of Mikael Blomkvist. What do you think?