Dave is live-blogging Connectivity 2002
One thing they are talking about is email & privacy.
Here's my 3 stage plan for the elimination of spam through email user experience improvement:
1. Integrate PGP signing and encryption so that they happen automatically, and are on by default. Adopt one of the various proposals for Key exchange through email interaction too. Yes, this may be less than perfectly secure but its a damn sight better than spoofable headers; hard core crypto heads can validate keys through side channels and mark them that way in address book (see 3 below).
2. Provide subtle UI cueing for different priorities - Bigger bolder type for high priorities, smaller lighter type for low priorities. Think how a print Newspaper uses type size to convey story importance, but get a smart visual designer to come up with the actual mappings. Have indicators for verified signed and encrypted mails.
3. Create a fuzzy-logic prioritization engine, that takes into account lots of info about the mail (Think trust metrics). Key input values are:
-Who is this from? (verified signed mail > someone you've sent mail to > someone in address book > random user)
Ideally, have a trust hierarchy in the address book - like a fuzzy kill file that can reward as well as punish
-Who is this to? (uses my public key > addressed just to me > me as part of CC list > mailing list address)
-Does it contain money? (Paypal emails etc).
-Does it match keyword/semantic signatures I like or dislike (eg I would like 'QuickTime' and dislike 'millions of email addresses')
-Has it been sitting in my inbox a while and I still haven't read it?
The point of this is that each of these stages is a fluid extension of existing UI and features that is useful in itself, and capable of further refinement, but acting in concert they provide a way for email to hold back the tragedy of the commons that spam represents.