A communiqué from Ranjeeth Kumar Thunga invites all interested parties to "join in the discussion group for the Human Markup Language (HumanML). The initiative is an XML-based non-proprietary endeavor, open to the contributions of all parties interested in helping define human XML standards. These standards include various aspects of human communication process through markup, including 'gestures', 'thoughts', 'emotions', and 'attitudes'. The project has a goal of "enriching human communications and reducing human misunderstanding" through explicit mechanisms to represent paralinguistic features of human communication. The markup initiative would "provide a trusted means to markup the interpretive process. (1) Reduce miscommunication through a standard framework of referents to descriptions of emotional states (2) Enhance communication by enabling emotional states to be identified and used to query if requests and responses do not conform to predicted ranges for sequence and frequency within a genre. (3) Create communication through authoring tools that use genre-based schema to organize sequences and frequencies of emotional expressions."
The HumanMarkup.org mission is "To promote XML standards that will reduce human misunderstanding in society... through the explicit markup of various communication constructs including thought, emotion, purpose, and motivation."
"HumanML concerns itself with the 'human' aspects of communication, but that will be insufficient circumscription since anything done with markup has a human aspect. I suspect we will find the sweet spot in the markup and authoring of genre at the high organizational end, and gestures at the primitives with emotional states being the middle level . Unlike TEI, we are not exclusively focused on texts; we are taking on the challenge of emotional descriptions to enable transformation into rendered versions and annotation for stored versions. In short, provide a trusted means to markup the interpretive process. (1) Reduce miscommunication through a standard framework of referents to descriptions of emotional states (2) Enhance communication by enabling emotional states to be identified and used to query if requests and responses do not conform to predicted ranges for sequence and frequency within a genre. (3) Create communication through authoring tools that use genre-based schema to organize sequences and frequencies of emotional expressions..." [February 26, 2001 post to Yahoo Groups 'humanmarkup' mailing list.]
Another example, from Len Bullard, on the Yahoo discussion: "...Because sometimes the interpretation depends on the intonation to select the connotation and all depend on the medium to render correctly. For example, when you are trying to concisely convey to your child that putting their hand on the stove burner is not going to feel good, you might want to <strong>YELL AT THEM!!!!</STRONG> in HTML or in a VRML/X3D speech processor, send a volume control command to the text-to-voice engine, plus instruct the avatar head to orientation interpolate toward the center of the head of the child avatar and position interpolate toward their XYZ value in the global coordinate system. In both of these the common sign is one for immediate danger. <WARNING />..."
Other excerpts: "shallow markup [to support] dependent origination as a system based on feedback which shapes response which shapes behavior which shapes feedback. The ideal of HumanML is to make that precise by providing a negotiable framework of expressive types"; "the potential of XML to encode allusion, intent, inference, and meaning within the context of the written word of eBooks"; "Collect and categorize gestural sets...(1) proxemic: spatial relationships -- how close to the person do you stand when speaking, do you stand over them, etc.; (2) haptic: overt physical gestures -- handshake, smiles, etc; (3) kinsesic: non-overt physical gestures such as maintaining eye contact (4) artifacts: clothing, jewelry, makeup, etc. (5) textual/graphic: any written or drawn sign. Determine other relationships or qualities; address various areas of XML and human expression/communication through an encoding of 'baseline states' for attitude: internal human states/traits (Emotional, Sentiment Intentions, Attitude, Flexibility Personality), gestural representations, acknowledgements, etc."
From the Yahoo Groups 'humanmarkup' mailing list description: "This Yahoo Group has been formed to discuss and direct the 'humanmarkup' endeavor. This is a open non-proprietary effort to standardize Human Expression through XML. These aspects include various human traits including thoughts, emotions, gestures, motivations and attitude. All Members: Feel free to contribute in whatever fashion you can and jump right in. Don't hesitate, even if you are joining a thread midstream, don't have time for full involvement, concerned something may have already been mentioned, or are still gaining a conceptual understanding. If you would like, ask us individually any questions you may have. This Yahoo Group precedes, and will exist in conjunction with, the upcoming official OASIS Discussion List and Technical Committee, as a general forum for ideas setting the humanmarkup standards. This group will not only discuss the details of the standard, but also the practical issues involved in steering this effort. As owner, I am simply coordinating this effort--the ultimate success is up to the contributions of each member. I encourage interested parties to handle various roles in this effort. It is important to mention although ultimately linked, there are several layers within human expression and traits. These may likely be individual modules within 'humanmarkup'."