DOVER-FOXCROFT — Dan Smith has been known by residents and business owners across Piscataquis County for over 15 years as “Dr. Dan,” the local tech guy that could fix just about any computer or software issue.
DOVER-FOXCROFT — Dan Smith has been known by residents and business owners across Piscataquis County for over 15 years as “Dr. Dan,” the local tech guy that could fix just about any computer or software issue. About a year ago, he sold the business to devote himself to a personal project – a new technology he is developing that has the potential to completely transform and eventually replace current communication & reaction systems found on platforms across the internet such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more.
Facebook, for example, once utilized a basic “Like” button until 2016 when they launched Facebook reactions, giving users the ability to also express love, surprise, sadness, or anger, in reaction to a post. By clicking on the reaction area, users can view how others reacted to the content. A user would then comment to further elaborate. On Twitter and Instagram, users can click on the heart icon if they like a post or comment if they don’t.
By navigating these individual social media platforms, a person could gain a general understanding about how their friends or the creators they follow might feel about the content they see, but these platforms are not connected, so from a global perspective, there’s no way to definitively capture this information in a way that is immediately, visibly obvious. Another downside with the feedback currently captured is that the responses are emotional, and there’s no way for the software to measure the quality of the content or to track, on an intellectual scale, whether a user believes something is true or false.
Political upheaval on social media elicits angry reactions, heated comments, and, as of late, “removed” posts and/or disabled accounts on some platforms if a user’s response is not acceptable by the powers that be. Some users have signed off indefinitely, deciding that staying ‘connected’ isn’t worth the negative impact technology has on their minds and emotions. What if individuals could quickly, visibly, and easily define how they feel about a post and also indicate if they feel the content is credible, without comment? How would this calm the social media storm?
Think about how useful it would be for political leaders to view, at a glance, how people from around the globe feel about a post, and whether or not they believe the content to be true. What if this new system could be used beyond social media as a plugin on news websites, internet forums, blogs, or anywhere a web-content voting-system is needed? A human’s exposure to global reaction would no longer be limited by the friends they are connected to, the news stations they watch or what side of the political line they stand on, rather, they can view in real time how everyone on earth is reacting to the content.
This novel system of analysis is exactly what Smith is developing for the world; it is what he refers to as Physix. “It is a way to help people see varied points of view through a filter of understanding rather than judgment and mere tolerance,” he said, “for humans to use technology rather than allowing technology to use us.”
Smith believes this new technology is a direct connection between artificial intelligence and human thought “with shared metrics across all languages and cultures, the patterns of preference and belief are visible and calculable; AI currently cannot understand compassion or our human thought process, this technology brings us closer to that,” he said.
Smith is working with tech companies in England, India and Canada, and is seeking a Maine software company to begin development domestically. His hope is that as business and political leaders in Maine become aware of his work, they will support the project, allowing him to take the tech to Silicon Valley to make it a reality. “Physix is in its infancy stages,” said Smith, “funding is needed to move it forward.”
Besides the obvious benefit of the technology itself, Smith can already see the significant economic ripple the success of Physix will have on the state of Maine. “Physix will replace any software in which opinions are recorded, from star-reviews to emoticons to 1-10 ratings,” he said, “this will create jobs in coding, but from there, I see software and video games utilizing this tech, and from the manufacturing side, jobs for card-game and board-game creation all ‘Made in Maine’– the possibilities are plentiful.”
For more information about Physix or to speak with Smith, please contact him directly at