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Subject: [wsia-comment] Re: Economics Conference Example

Hi Rex,

Thanks for resending your request.  I apologize that it escaped my
attention on the first round.

The story I told was real.  I'll give you the particulars as I recall them
followed by a generic scenario and some beginning thoughts on functional

An economist from Dept. of Treasury told me about her experience at the
GATT conference in Switzerland (about '93-94).  Every evening the US
representatives spent their time trying to compare/compile notes on what
was said.  There was no time to think/analyze/brainstorm - after that -
just sleep to begin again the next day.  She imagined how even more
frustrating it would be for non-native English speakers - and how mistrust
could fester in the meandering swatches of uncertain, but rushed meanings.
I suggested that they employ the real-time captioning approach used to
accommodate people with hearing loss. The English text would appear in real
time on a screen behind the speaker.  Everyone would leave the room with a
transcript - so the evening could be spent doing the critical thinking.

I have no idea what is in place today.  I just searched on GATT - not even
realizing the connection to World Trade Organization (its institutional
I just reviewed the final declarations from the Nov. 2001 WTO conference in
Qatar  - then I read statements from various country representatives.
There is an extraordinary gulf between these two sets of text - the country
representatives' carefully composed and advanced preparation statements are
worlds away from the final, collectively agreed upon declaration -which
sounds bland, technically abstract and flat.  Here I really don't know
enough to suggest how to make changes, but  -- its obvious the organization
could benefit from improved communications.  After Seattle, the stakes are

Possible Scenario -
It would be neat if during plenary/working sessions - the WTO
representatives could respond with several coded inputs (human markup
language tags) in real time to the speaker - indicating a continuum of
responses - ranging from  "I agree heartily, and I have a suggestion for
making this happen" to "You have no idea what adverse impact would result
from this suggestion. - Even simple color coding might work, anything that
would increase awareness of significant difference and accordance in a
manner that levels and advances fairness in the process of participation.
When electronic transcripts were distributed at the end of a session - they
could actually be hyperdocuments (per Doug Engelbart - www.bootstrap.org)
making it very easy to find the "critical points of departure" - encoded by
all 140 participants equally throughout a presentation - This could
indicate to all participants in a transparent manner - where confusion
reigns, harmony exists, or raging disagreement/misinterpretation is clearly
evident.  Perhaps an ethnologist or someone who studies the pragmatics of
language/communications would have some suggestions for coding a real time
audience feedback system.  Clearly there is an urgency at the WTO level
that you could argue for in a research proposal, while actually focusing on
a simpler, close to home testbed application to fine tune improvements.

Below are a few sites I found just now with snippets of background on GATT,
WTO and the recent conference in Qatar.  I'd suggest you look at this site
and compare the (limp) formal resolution language of the body with the
(spirited) ideas and concerns expressed by the 140+ country
representatives.  It reads like talented jazz musicians trying to be
energized by each others' differences, but failing because the
notational/comprehension/trust/social capital gulf is too vast.

I didn't know if you wanted me to send this to those you cc'd on your
request.  My apologies to these listserv members if I'm erring on the side
of inclusiveness.  Let me know.

Rex,  I would also suggest you track the http://www.itrd.gov site for
possible research opportunities in this and related areas.

In another vein, the proceedings of proposed US Federal regulations will
become available on a Federal portal soon - www.firstgov.gov.  How could
the humanmark-up tags help people to make this 2-D representation of how we
order our relationships with one another simpler and easier to understand
both during development and implementation of regulations.

Also, our next workshop on Feb. 19 will focus on natural language
interfaces being piloted to improve government service delivery.  We'll
have presentations from people at Stanford and EPA.  I'll forward the
agenda soon.  You're invited.


Susan B. Turnbull
Senior Program Advisor
Next Generation Strategies
Office of Governmentwide Policy
US General Services Administration
p 202.501.6214
f  202.219.1533

          The World Trade Organization (WTO) was established in 1995 in the 
          final round (Uruguay Round) of the General Agreement on Tariffs   
          and Trade (GATT) negotiations. The WTO is not a simple extension  
          of GATT, but a complete replacement of it with a different        
          character. The WTO embodies the negotiated results of the Uruguay 
          Round and is the successor to GATT. The WTO is responsible for    
          enforcing the GATT agreements, which are designed to reduce       
          barriers to world trade. During the trade negotiations global     
          rules for international trade were improved and extended to most  
          trading nations on an equivalent basis and responsibility for     
          enforcing these rules was entrusted to the newly created WTO.     
          Additionally, the WTO provides procedures for negotiating         
          additional reductions of trade barriers and for the prompt and    
          effective settlement of disputes in all policy areas covered by   
          the new world trade agreement. The Uruguay Round established      
          dispute settlement procedures for the WTO. This was called the    
          Understanding on Rules and Procedures Governing the Settlement of 
          Disputes (DSU).                                                   
          m  (snippet from the Qatar conference is below)                   
          10.  Recognizing the challenges posed by an expanding WTO         
          membership, we confirm our collective responsibility to ensure    
          internal transparency and the effective participation of all      
          members. While emphasizing the intergovernmental character of the 
          organization, we are committed to making the WTO's operations     
          more transparent, including through more effective and prompt     
          dissemination of information, and to improve dialogue with the    
          public. We shall therefore at the national and multilateral       
          levels continue to promote a better public understanding of the   
          WTO and to communicate the benefits of a liberal, rules-based     
          multilateral trading system.                                      
          snippets from representatives from Burkina Faso and India are     
                                    BURKINA FASO                            
                       Statement by H.E. Mr Bédouma Alain Yoda              
          Minister of Trade, Business Promotion and Handicrafts             
 Globalization places a mark on the history of mankind and our peoples have 
 now  been  drawn  together thanks to the new communication and information 
 technologies.   Extreme  wealth and extreme poverty exist side by side and 
 still watch each other every day on television screens in a world in which 
 image  and information know no frontiers.  We must therefore take the full 
 measure  of this reality and these continuing imbalances, for although the 
 growing  integration  of the global economy has been the overall engine of 
 mutual  enrichment, a large sector of the population is nevertheless still 
 excluded  from  the benefits of this new-found prosperity and the progress 
                 Statement by the Honourable Murasoli Maran                 
                     Minister of Commerce and Industry                      
 1.   I am constrained to point out that the draft Ministerial Declaration  
 is neither fair nor just to the view points of many developing countries   
 including my own on certain key issues.  It is negation of all that was    
 said by a significant number of developing countries and least-developing  
 countries.  We cannot escape the conclusion that it accommodates some view 
 points while ignoring "others".  The forwarding letter most surprisingly   
 and shockingly also does not dwell on the substantive differences and      
 focuses more on what are individual assessments.  Even after these were    
 reiterated in the strongest possible terms in the General Council on 31    
 October and 1 November, we recognize that there is a refusal to reflect    
 these points in a substantive manner even in the forwarding letter.  The   
 only conclusion that could be drawn is that the developing countries have  
 little say in the agenda setting of the WTO.  It appears that the whole    
 process was a mere formality and we are being coerced against our will.    
 Is it not then meaningless for the draft declaration to claim that the     
 needs and interests of the developing countries have been placed at the    
 heart of the Work Programme?                                               
 After  the  setback  at  Seattle,  all  of  us  want Doha to be a success. 
 Success, however, does not necessarily require over-reaching objectives or 
 launch  of a "comprehensive" round.  Also the global unity achieved in the 
 wake  of  the most unfortunate and tragic event of September 11 should not 
 be   undermined  by  proposing  an  agenda,  which  would  split  the  WTO 
 membership.  Rather than charting a divisive course in unknown waters, let 
 this  Conference  provide a strong impetus to the on-going negotiations on 
 agriculture  and  services,  and  the  various  mandated  reviews  that by 
 themselves form a substantial work programme and have explicit consensus.  
 Who is well represented?                                                   
 Kristin Dawkins, director of research for the Institute for Agriculture    
 and Trade Policy, a Minneapolis nonprofit research and education           
 organization that safeguards the interests of family farmers, charges that 
 the deliberations leading to GATT involved little input from professionals 
 with expertise in public health or environmental sciences, while the       
 negotiators included what Dawkins calls "a lot of revolving-door types"    
 whose careers zigzag from corporations to government agencies to law firms 
 representing both. "Commercial interests predominated throughout the       
 proceedings and GATT's final text reflects their views," agreed the Sierra 
 Club's Goldman.                                                            
 Dispute Resolution                                                         
 Environmentalists fear that GATT dispute-resolution panelists, drawn from  
 the international trade profession, will automatically promote freedom of  
 the marketplace over human health and environmental concerns. They argue   
 that the Uruguay Round's fundamental principle might be stated, "First, do 
 not restrict international trade." In matters ranging from inspecting      
 cattle to banning the importation of chewing tobacco, nations are required 
 to do what interferes least with the international flow of goods and       
 It's true that WTO dispute-resolution panels traditionally met quietly and 
 kept no transcripts. The clandestine style evolved into official           
 procedures as stated in the Uruguay Round. Deliberations are confidential; 
 the views expressed by panelists are anonymous, although a country may, if 
 it wishes, make its own submission public. No public hearings are held, no 
 outsiders participate, and no provision exists for consumers or concerned  
 organizations to submit information, technical comments, or dissenting     
 views. Only the countries involved in the dispute are represented.         
 Critics of GATT want the decision-making process democritized, opened up,  
 and made less elitist. The United States, in fact, argued strongly for     
 exactly these changes in GATT negotiations, says William Jordan of the     
 Office of Pesticides at the EPA, one of many EPA staffers who assisted     
 U.S. negotiators. "We didn't get everything we wanted, but the panel       
 decisions and explanations, like decisions of a court, are a matter of     
 record. Under GATT, a dispute is between countries, not individuals or     
 corporations. Each country decides the level of access it wants to         
 provide. In the U.S., we regularly consult with people other than trade    
 experts, and involve citizens and advocacy groups. "                       
 Jordan likens the GATT process to that of a courtroom, with countries,     
 rather than individuals, filing positions or briefs. If it seems           
 exclusionary, he notes, it is because Americans are used to greater        
 openness than is traditional elsewhere. The EPA, he notes, regularly       
 involves interest groups and consumers in developing its positions on      
 trade issues. "We've never suffered from a lack of public input, but it's  
 probably fair to say we might do more to make the process more open."      
 Congress could lay out procedures to be followed by regulatory agencies in 
 GATT-related matters, and these might include provisions for public        

                    "Rex Brooks"         To:     susan.turnbull@gsa.gov                                            
                    <rexb@starbou        cc:     wscm@lists.oasis-open.org, wscm-comment@lists.oasis-open.org,     
                    rne.com>             humanmarkup@lists.oasis-open.org,                                         
                    01/21/2002           Subject:     Economics Confererence Example                               
                    08:18 AM                                                                                       

Greetings Susan,

This is a gentle reminder about the request I sent you Dec. 20, 2001,
just before the holidays. In it I said that  I wanted to revisit the
example of the Economics Conference you cited in the Oct. 17
Universal Access workshop to which Ranjeeth spoke and I attended by
teleconference. In that example, you said that in the economics
conference you attended  much time was spent on translations that
could or should have been spent on the actual intended work of the
conference and its attendees.

This is a specific example of a potential applications area where
HumanML needs to ensure that it can be useful. So, in line with our
decision to solicit information on the requirements of the
application areas which we wish to serve, I am asking you to consider
penning a short description of this example which we could cite as a
use-case where HumanML could serve to improve the performance of such
work. A more detailed description might be useful for our actual
specification, but that is further along the road than we can focus

If you could do this we would be very grateful, and if you could give
some thought to what requirements you see that we need to meet in
order to help build the applications to improve this kind of
performance, it would help us greatly in our forthcoming work. I
would like to make a similar request, without the specific use-case,
of course, of any other government agency or government-related
recording, reporting or information processing organizations for
which you can recommend a person to whom I can write.

I believe it is very important for our effort to be grounded by such
practical, pragmatic, reality-based examples for which we can provide
specific remedies. Work so grounded stands a much better chance for
being adopted, don't you think?

Also, in the time since I last wrote to you, I have joined the newly
formed OASIS Web Services for Interactive Applications Technical
Committee, (WSIA TC), specifically as a liaison to and with the
HumanMarkup TC. Since that TC is also gathering requirements and
using business scenarios as the first step in formally developing
those requirements, I think it is appropriate for this new TC to
consider Institutional scenarios as well as business scenarios
because Web Services will be employed by governmental, military and
educational organizations or entities as well as commercial ones.

In fact, I will be writing shortly to Susan Swearingen, of the DoD,
Air Force Communications Agency, who is also serving on the WSIA TC,
and it occurs to me that this would be an opportunity to combine
interests in a common example that can be used by all parties.

Thanks very much and I look forward to hearing from you.

Rex Brooks
OASIS Humanmarkup TC Vice Chair, Secretary, Webmaster
Rex Brooks
GeoAddress: 1361-A Addison, Berkeley, CA, 94702 USA, Earth
W3Address: http://www.starbourne.com
Email: rexb@starbourne.com
Tel: 510-849-2309
Fax: By Request

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