|Subject:||[wsia-comment] Re: Economics Conference Example|
|Date:||Jan 23, 2002 3:04:46 pm|
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 requirements.
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 successor). 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 high.
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 susa...@gsa.gov
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).
http://www.wto.org/english/thewto_e/minist_e/min01_e/mindecl_e.ht 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 below:
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 achieved.
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.
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 services.
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 hearings.
"Rex Brooks" To: susa...@gsa.gov <rexb@starbou cc: ws...@lists.oasis-open.org, wscm...@lists.oasis-open.org, rne.com> huma...@lists.oasis-open.org, huma...@lists.oasis-open.org 01/21/2002 Subject: Economics Confererence Example 08:18 AM
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 now.
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.
Regards, Rex Brooks OASIS Humanmarkup TC Vice Chair, Secretary, Webmaster