Another delivery from ACM TechNews: UCD scientist patents ‘smart’ email in the 6 April SiliconRepublic.com:
A University College Dublin (UCD) scientist has filed a patent application for a new technology that he believes can turn email into a much more effective business tool. [snip]
[Kushmerick and Lau] developed a machine-learning algorithm that automatically keeps track of tasks and associated emails, in order to build up a work flow for each task. “The vision is that rather than come in and download all your emails, you could just call up your to do list and manage your activities,” Kushmerick explains.
I like the thinking here. This sounds like a big leap from using machine learning to filter you mail into folders. The ML algorithms have to also figure out how you work and how email connects to getting stuff done at home and on the job.
Kushmerick is another Flowmaster. Or he is trying to come up with ways to help you become your own flowmaster. Clark's original sense of Flowmaster is someone within an organization who manages the flow of activity and removes bottlenecks that reduce effectiveness. If managing the flow of email is a constraint for people, then this idea is right up the alley of a flowmaster.