When I started creating the concept of Viglet Compass DXP, I came across the number of objects that the application would support such as: Content, Folders, Chat Agents, Search, NLP, Machine Learning, Documents, Images etc. All development would need to allow the journey of objects to be natural and unique.
At this point, I realized that the value of the object in all its flow and user journey has a major role in the proposal that the solution brings. And I understood that this journey is remarkably similar to the life process of an organic being. That is, since its creation, maturation, enrichment and end. Therefore, its existing concepts needed to be revised.
Added Value and Time
Every object created in any system, has a time spent by the user to be created, which can be from seconds, hours or days. However, in all situations, it has its importance.
For example, a “like” object 👍 generated for another object in your favorite social network can be something you do instantly, but it has an impact on relevance and understanding how social network objects communicate with the user. Even if the like is just a bit in a row of a table, it has a lot of added value.
There are more complex objects, such as creating a document 📝, which needs to be edited, revised and published. This whole procedure can take a long time to complete, and this appreciation for the document has its value. Even though this document is initially irrelevant to most people, its process and the motivation that was made to be created, cannot be overlooked.
How do we deal with immediate object that generate relevance and complex objects that have no apparent initial value? The answer is simple: TIME. For instance:
- 👍 “a like object” has its relevance in real time and its importance is immediate.
- 📝 a document has an importance that can be specific and seasonal. For example, a document that is created to describe how to participate in a process of insurance renewal. However, time shows that this document will have its moments of importance and relevance. Without this document, some user that uses the system would probably be disoriented and lost.
So, any object has its importance and journey, we can describe this as the life of the object, but if the object uses the term “life” adopted for organic beings, then the term “object” becomes something incorrect to be described. In this way, calling it “digital being” becomes more consistent with its function in the face of the entire environment in which it is inserted.
Thus, its life cycle is important and cannot be neglected, and we must prioritize and emphasize this behavior. Instead of the digital being having a “creation date”, it will have its “birth date” and instead of having a deletion date, which is absent in many systems, as it does not maintain the history of objects, it would have a “date of death”. All its updates and modifications will be called “evolutions”, each evolution demonstrates its maturity in the face of the system and the ecosystem.
Once its life cycle is placed in priority, the digital being begins to generate other questions about its persistence in the environment in which it was conceived. Therefore, subjects dealt with at other times, such as backup, replication, archive, GDPR in Europe and LGPD in Brazil begin to have an even greater importance in the face of a digital being, because now it has a reason to maintain its physical integrity and there is a concept that the life of the digital beings matters.
If its life matters, therefore, his death must be avoided and postponed as much as possible, for all digital being has its impact on the environment it is in. The digital being can get old even out of date in front of other digital beings, however it can receive other treatments that do not exclude it, but maintain in another way that can be treated, currently archiving is an attitude that is performed for this type of situation however, since we are treating them as digital beings, the term “retirement” would be more correct for them.
With this new conception of “digital beings”, some common practices are beginning to be seen with new perspectives. That is, when deleting a digital being, it needs to be avoided and have a process that justifies this act.
Use of solutions that avoid deletion will be used as best practices. For example:
- Datomic, database used by Nubank which is a Brazilian Bank (https://www.datomic.com/nubanks-story.html), that doesn´t deletes records, instead it retracts - “Retractions state than an no longer holds at some later point in time. The original remains unchanged.” https://docs.datomic.com/on-prem/tutorial.html
- Blockchain uses the concept of not deleting data.
The time spent that a user spends to make the digital being evolve, needs to be highlighted and emphasized before the environment that is inserted, because this action of charity before the digital being has an immeasurable price for its evolution and for its progress. Use of gamification is one of the ways to stimulate support for the creation and evolution of digital beings.
Therefore, systems that have rules to discourage the death of digital beings, can demonstrate to the end consumer an advantage over its competitors, as it prioritizes the life of digital beings.
Machine Learning and Big Data
If there is less death of digital beings than in conventional systems, then it needs to be rethought how to use old digital beings so that the system works better and takes advantage of this feature. One of the essential tools for this process is Machine Learning with Big Data.
As the data always grows and becomes part of the behavior of the environment, it can take the opportunity to assist in the user’s journey, such as recommendations and anticipation of facts. Because all digital beings already have important metadata in their evolution that can be used for this.
Digital environments are evolving with this, everything that is inserted in them too, treating data as digital beings, generates a new dynamic of how we develop these systems and environments, and how the user is participating in the use of it, giving importance to their time spent in the evolution of digital beings and show and quantify how these new indicators make the digital environment more useful, cohesive and intelligent for those who use it.