Slaves of the feed –
This is not the realtime we’ve been looking for

Let’s start with what most people probably can agree. Information is accumulating online. The amount of available information is increasing at an exponential rate, some say it doubles every second year. This mean that any illusion of being able to stay up to date with everything that is going on is utopian and has been probably since Guttenberg invented the press.

Most people know this, yet that is exactly exactly what we all seem to be doing.

There is no shortage of content aggregators and aggregators of aggregators, daily developed to give us a better overview of all the sources of information we have subscribed to and found ourselves now depending on.

This has resulted in an endless stream of articles, news, pictures, websites, products, updates, comments of updates and comments to these comments, being delivered to us second by second that each of us have to deal with.

Constantly checking our feeds for new information, we seem to be hoping to discover something of interest, something that we can share with our networks, something that we can use, something that we can talk about, something that we can act on, something we didn’t know we didn’t know.

It almost seems like an obsession and many critics of digital technology would argue that by consuming information this way we are running the danger of destroying social interaction between humans. One might even say that we have become slaves of the feed.

It might be an obsession, but I think it’s an obsession that many critics will find themselves having to submit to sooner or later.

The digital space is real but different.

Information accumulating is not the only thing that progresses exponentially. Human social interaction also moves online at an accelerating pace, which mean that the consequences of our actions in the digital space exponentially affect what happens not only in the digital space but also in the physical space and vice versa.

If you have doubt about this just ask the music, movie, telco, publishing, financial, news, media, photography, design, illustration, programming, consultancy, accounting and advertising industry. They have all felt the impact of this trend forcing them to re-think how they approach their businesses.

In the digital space there is close to zero friction. The limitations of the physical space do not apply to digital and taking advantage of network effects has never been easier. Whether you are the sender, the receiver or the relayer, information that used to take days or even weeks to reach public mind, now only take hours or even minutes to spread to far corners of the planet. Information is becoming more and more transparent, bringing companies to their knees, unsettling governments and allowing for a new ways to interact globally and instantly.

It’s not without problems though. With the increase in information and near zero friction emerges the issue of noise and redundancy.

To get “signal” we need to plow through our noisy feeds to find the gold-nuggets that are of importance to us.  Manual work by which our lacking ability to consume more than one feed item at a time becomes the bottleneck for how fast we can process and evaluate the information. Something gotta give.

This is not the real time web you’ve been looking for

It’s clear that we need information because we orient ourselves more and more through our online living. But it’s also quite obvious that our natural ability to process the very information that we need, don’t scale well.

The paradox we find ourselves in is that on one hand we don’t know what we don’t know so it doesn’t really make sense to exclude any sources of information.

On the other hand, much less than what we are forced to consume is really of relevance but we only find out which after we have consumed it.

In a world where time is one of the most precious resources this doesn’t compute.

We need quality instead of quantity in our feeds. We need a better ability to find the gold nuggets. But as some of you have probably already asked yourself, what is quality? How can we know what is truly of relevance? Thus we find ourselves in an unsettling scenario.

Designing for the bottleneck

Designing for the bottleneck

In other words, the aggregators that we have are capable of harvesting almost as much information as we want from them, but we have to evaluate each piece of information, meaning that we have to design the aggregators around the bottleneck. Meaning us.

There are attempts to solve this in order to create better quality data streams. Wordburst algorithms that look for when words or sentences suddenly start to peak within a short period of time, is one example. Popularity of a given feed item might be a different approach. But right now most of these algorithms don’t take the individual interest-space into account. Instead they look at global trends and as much as I believe that New Moon the movie is a great youth movie. I was kind of hoping for New Moon the moon when I clicked on the tag in the trend cloud.

We find ourselves in a situation where there is no shortage of information in the digital space but only a very limited ability to extract relevant information thus making us depending on so much manual labor, one would be excused to think that slavery had in fact been re-inserted.

Surely there must be a better way to deal with information. A way to put the laborious task of monitoring information in the hands of the machines we use, rather than on us.

Social machines – our subconscious memory.

One way to do this might be if our machines (computers, cell phones, PDA’s) started exchanging much more information to build tighter relationships with each other. The quality of the data in our feeds right now are depending on what sources we are aware of pointing them to. But so much valuable information is hidden in the exchange between our machines and I believe is one of the main reasons why we are still only designing for the bottleneck.

If I have been visiting the MagmaBooks online shop then all sorts of relevant information could be retrieved. One of these things could be the a physical address if it existed so that the next time I am in London, their machine will inform my machine (location aware mobile) that they are just around the corner from where I am.

In other words, while humans might operate at one level, actively engaging in whatever we might be interested in, our machines should be building machine-social relationships underneath based on these engagements. This way creating a more context aware ecosystem that creates indirect and potentially meaningful relationships without bothering us with having to process the information snippet could emerge.

The way towards better quality in our feeds is not by cutting down on information but by increasing the amount of information. Not by adding yet another source for manual consumption, but by feeding the system, allowing for the exchange of information on a sub-human level machino-e-machino.

That way we can finally start to build the kind of relationship that is necessary for what I am going to talk about next.

Information as matter

 

Most peoples know that what allows us to read well is not that we spell out each word, letter by letter, but that we read it either word by word, words by words or line by line. Some people are even capable of reading almost entire paragraphs.

Perhaps what our machines should do is to read information snippets the same way we read words and sentences. Perhaps information can be gathered and represented not on an entry by entry basis but as a model of a digital reality based on accumulated information.

Perhaps we need to design for projection rather than the bottleneck?

model_02

This means that we must approach information as our brains approach matter. As both discrete objects as well as a whole. This way noise becomes part of the signal and instead of burdening us with having to relate to it on a one to one basis, it’s there to provide the background that meaning will arise from. It’s not a feed we have to go through but part of our reality, overlayed on top of our physical reality.

The sole purpose of information as matter will be to provide us with enough information to reach better projection. The more information we can gather, the higher the fidelity of the projection. The higher the fidelity of the projection the better our feeds become. That is if we can even call them feeds anymore.

Perhaps this is what virtual reality really should mean. Not a 3D projection done by an architect with a specific composition in mind. But rather as a framework for representing information as matter in a landscape that don’t discriminate between noise and signal. When it really comes down to it, isn’t one mans noise another mans signal?

I am not sure what it really means to design for projection. I am aware that it might seem a little far out. I admit that I am not entirely clear on everything, but I know that the current way we approach information can’t be the final thing there is to say about this matter. We need to free ourselves from the manual labor of watching our feeds, we can do so much more with our time. And to do that we need to turn the burden onto the very machines rather than the other way round.

Perhaps starting to think about information differently will free us from the chains we have already been burdended with for too long.

Anyone else out there thinking about this? Let me know what you think.

Update : I was recently interviewed by Phil Windley for his Technometria podcast about this article. Go check it out http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4402.html


  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Martin-Kruse/100003562587757 Martin Kruse

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  • http://cocreatr.typepad.com CoCreatr

    Quoting Jeff Jonas

    CONTEXT -more data is faster 

    When information is evaluated without context—regardless

    of highly sophisticated analytics, an infinite amount of

    compute, energy or time, little if any relevance can be

    established with certainty.

    When information is first placed into context with prior

    observations, relevance can be determined with basic

    algorithms and insignificant amounts of compute power.

    When each new observation builds on earlier observations,

    context accumulates. Context accumulation improves

    accuracy over time and leads to an exciting phenomenon

    whereby more data is faster – much in the same way the last

    few pieces of the puzzle are as easy as the first few, despite the

    fact there are more observations in front of you than ever

    before.

    Information in context makes smart systems smarter. When

    applied to financial services, more fraud is stopped. When

    applied to health care, patients live longer, and when applied

    to transportation optimization, cities produce less carbon.

    Jeff Jonas, IBM Distinguished Engineer, Chief Scientist, IBM

    Entity Analytics. He has a blog. Two articles to check out:

    Algorithms At Dead-End: Cannot Squeeze Knowledge Out Of A Pixel

    Puzzling: How Observations Are Accumulated Into Context

    Source: What Matters Now, p. 49/82. Freely download and share.

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  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    I agree that serendipity is important but it does not need to disappear, in fact I have created several approaches to make sure that serendipity is always part of the equation.

  • http://twitter.com/SammyDwyer Sam Dwyer

    wait, so it was possible to “stay up to date with everything” BEFORE Gutenberg?

  • http://www.buzzmeter.com/ jones1618

    (oops, hit submit twice)

  • http://www.buzzmeter.com/ jones1618

    I’m not sure I’m ready to follow you all the way to physical projection of data but there are a couple of trends and tools that point in that direction:

    For example, social news sites like Reddit offer a linear ranking of news by popularity or even by contraversiality among readers. Sometimes this results in shallow, sensational junk but within sub-categories it often promotes true emerging and interesting articles.

    But, a linear list doesn’t make a very good projection. What if this was turned into a landscape? That’s what http://newsmap.jp does. It takes Google news results for top categories and maps each topic into a “plot of land” whose size is proportional to the number of news articles that Google says are related to the same subject. The result is a brilliant of map of trending topics that you can read at a glance.

    Now, if there was a version of newsmap that showed articles proportional to your keywords of interest and taken from sources you trust, then you’d have a personalized topological map of things worth reading laid out neatly in a single, instantly-scannable “projection.”

  • http://profiles.google.com/xtassin Xavier Tassin

    Algorithmic information filtering could annihilate something I cherish: serendipity. It should not prevent random discovery, inspiration and curiosity, even at the price of efficiency.

    I’d like my feed to think like me. I do not want to think like my feed.

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by Hello_World: Slaves of the feed – This is not the realtime we’ve been looking for http://bit.ly/6gl6LZ

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    Many things underway. Been busy.

    Will post a bunch of things soon. Among others; The Ghost Protocol :)

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    Thanks for your comment and wow shortlisted!

    This essay have connected me with and exposed me to so many great thinkers out there it’s been truly fantastic.

    There are more things to come from me on this subject even a new company. Will keep you posted.

  • http://www.syntience.com Michael P. Gusek

    Mark,

    What you propose requires a fundamental shift in information processing. Some people are actually working on it. The problem is this stuff is so cutting edge it is “unproven” and getting investor dollars is nearly impossible. Coupled with the fact that describing this new type of information processing goes against the the accepted viewpoint in computer science, this new information processing method is a tough sell. Let me know if you would like to hear more!

    mgusek555@gmail.com

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    I was recently interviewed by Phil Windley for his Technometria podcast http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detai… about Slaves of the Feed.

  • francoismazoudier

    Great post, T.
    Fred Destin (Atlas Ventures), wrote a great one too on the very subject. Different industry, same issues, same conclusion: we're only humans, so deal with it.
    http://tinyurl.com/yz9xzha

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Mark

    Many things underway. Been busy.

    Will post a bunch of things soon. Among others; The Ghost Protocol :)

  • cvb

    xcvb

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Mark

    Many things underway. Been busy.

    Will post a bunch of things soon. Among others; The Ghost Protocol :)

  • cvb

    xcvb

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    >>There are more things to come from me on this subject even a new company

    Thomas, curious to know of developments!

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld
    @openworld @buildership

  • djit

    This “problem” will take care of itself: any no value-added information will disappear bringing the infosphere to a new equilibrium.
    Same signal, less noise, smaller stream.
    I agree it will take sometime as we are still on the upside of the hill.

  • djit

    This “problem” will take care of itself: any no value-added information will disappear bringing the infosphere to a new equilibrium.
    Same signal, less noise, smaller stream.
    I agree it will take sometime as we are still on the upside of the hill.

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    @Neil
    Thanks for your comment and wow shortlisted!

    This essay have connected me with and exposed me to so many great thinkers out there it's been truly fantastic.

    There are more things to come from me on this subject even a new company. Will keep you posted.

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    @Andy

    Thanks for reminding me to read On Intelligence, never got around to reading it (have it right here next to me) but now I will.

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    @Neil
    Thanks for your comment and wow shortlisted!

    This essay have connected me with and exposed me to so many great thinkers out there it's been truly fantastic.

    There are more things to come from me on this subject even a new company. Will keep you posted.

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    @Andy

    Thanks for reminding me to read On Intelligence, never got around to reading it (have it right here next to me) but now I will.

  • http://neilperkin.typepad.com/ neilperkin

    Hi Thomas. Excellent post. Just to let you know that it has been shortlisted in a Post Of The Month vote I run over on my blog, Only Dead Fish
    http://bit.ly/6OpgQC

  • http://twitter.com/andywhitlock Andy Whitlock

    I don't have time to read the 60 comments below, so forgive me if someone has already said this.

    What you're describing sounds very similar to something Jeff Hawkins, author of On Intelligence has been working for years on replicating. It's called Hierachical Temporal Memory.

    Basically, information appears in layers; the first being broad and sweeping, as per human's initial intake of lots of info:

    “[It] is meant to reflect the organization of the physical world as it is perceived by human brain. Larger concepts (e.g. causes, actions, and objects) are viewed by humans to change more slowly and consist of smaller concepts that change more quickly. Jeff Hawkins postulates that brains evolved this type of hierarchy to match, predict, and affect the organization of the external world.”

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hierarchical_tempo

    It's a great book, but I barely qualify as the layman he intended it for, so I won't try to talk about it myself ;)

  • http://traffic.de.com/ Norbert Mayer-Wittmann

    I think you mean data, not information (didn't read past “doubles every second year”, because I find that sloppy).

    Information is usually refered to a a change in knowledge, not in bits. Bits are data.

    :) nmw

  • http://cpetersia.wordpress.com cpetersia

    Thomas –

    Yes, “Perhaps starting to think about information differently will free us from the chains we have already been burdened with for too long”

    We have been thinking about that for some time. Dan Conover is another person who is focused on the need to create information differently in the first instance, in order to have meaning and relevant information available to me based on my location and intention. http://xark.typepad.com/my_weblog/2009/03/news-

    We are trying to implement these ideas here in Iowa, and I note our progress at http://chuckpeters.iowa.com

    I look forward to continuing this discussion.

    Chuck

  • poetabook

    Obsessed with this too — to make it crazier, add lucille ball and charlie chaplin’s Modern Times analogy, an age-old tension, ever accerlerating: http://mediadocumenta.net/?p=291

  • http://www.ecademy.com jbond

    Google Reader vs Friendfeed vs Digg vs SocialMedian vs Twitter trends. I need to keep half an eye on the zeitgeist but all the “popularity” based techniques lead inexorably to the echo chamber. And these days the echo chamber fills with f*cktards in seconds. What I actually want to read is all out on the edge of the Bell Curve and being discussed by people with high IQs. And you're definitely right that there has been very little work or progress in automatic customisation of personalised feed filters. But then automatic personalisation doesn't seem to work anywhere so far. “People who liked this” and “recommendations for you” in the Amazon style seem to be hopelessly broken in most places with the possible exception of Last.fm. In most cases they force you down an increasingly narrow niche. They're missing serendipitous randomness to throw up the articles or objects that I might be interested in. This is a common discussion in several fields viz. “do we need better algorithms or more and better DJs?”. It's also related to the old problem of mailing lists and staying on topic. I've been searching for years for a general mailing list/bbs/community of “people who's comments I like” rather than “people who like a specific topic I'm interested in”.

  • http://www.ecademy.com jbond

    Google Reader vs Friendfeed vs Digg vs SocialMedian vs Twitter trends. I need to keep half an eye on the zeitgeist but all the “popularity” based techniques lead inexorably to the echo chamber. And these days the echo chamber fills with f*cktards in seconds. What I actually want to read is all out on the edge of the Bell Curve and being discussed by people with high IQs. And you're definitely right that there has been very little work or progress in automatic customisation of personalised feed filters. But then automatic personalisation doesn't seem to work anywhere so far. “People who liked this” and “recommendations for you” in the Amazon style seem to be hopelessly broken in most places with the possible exception of Last.fm. In most cases they force you down an increasingly narrow niche. They're missing serendipitous randomness to throw up the articles or objects that I might be interested in. This is a common discussion in several fields viz. “do we need better algorithms or more and better DJs?”. It's also related to the old problem of mailing lists and staying on topic. I've been searching for years for a general mailing list/bbs/community of “people who's comments I like” rather than “people who like a specific topic I'm interested in”.

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    Michael,

    >>I listened to Mark's talk and i think he's wrong on a number of factual issues of money and suffers from a “people like us” world view

    Think you mean Douglas Rushkoff's talk!

    Will appreciate any offline email (markf at openworld) or Twitter DM (@buildership) on where Doug looks offbase on his personal currency scenarios.

    The Wall Street Journal has a good overview on emerging virtual currencies – including Serios, a new attention-oriented currency that aims to filter emails – here:

    http://j.mp/5bkxe

    Best,

    Mark
    @openworld @buildership

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    Just want to share what I think I noticed on twitter with the RT function. Until the feature was implemented I checked my retweets by checking @. With the new one I can see which RT's are getting traction. As expected Josh Marshall is shown with about 12 RTS. Most that I saw had only one and sometimes 2 .

    The maybe germane point is that I'm seeing an automatic RT (with no @) signifying some interest. a couple of RT (with no @) singifies it has traction among a different folks. Anything RT by someone I “know” I look at. anything that gets 2 RT's i look at to see what's getting traction.

    My working hypothesis is that non machine RT with the @ signify that the RT er wants to get on the radar of the sender. An RT with a new shortened URL indicates the RT er went to the link. An RT @ with a comment indicates that the RT has something to say.

    Don't know if this helps, but i thought it was note worthy.

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    I don't think it's appropriate in this thread to get into a long discussion about this point, but i do want to just put down a marker to say this doesn't really make sense to me. I listened to Mark's talk and i think he's wrong on a number of factual issues of money and suffers from a “people like us” world view. But I will leave the longer conversation for a different time and place.

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    Thomas and Michael,

    On the technical issues raised, here is a video on an upcoming Swedish mobile app that uses facial recognition and Augmented Reality – http://j.mp/7V91w0 .

    It looks like we'll soon be able to point a camera phone – and see information from the feed with value in real-time, human:human encounters.

    Personal “feed readers” of this kind could be set to show data on the skills, ethical code commitements, feedback-based reputation, and current standing offers of the person. These might be shown in visualizations that give a quick way to get a better understanding of the person and the value of a prospective exchange.

    Doug Rushkoff gave a wonderful keynote a few months ago on how such person-person exchanges (with associated digital currencies) could become a new foundation for prosperity in a world flooded with free information.

    Rushkoff's talk is here – http://rushkoff.com/2009/11/21/radical-abundance . Earlier today, he responded to related ideas on Augmented Reality at http://j.mp/83vmWe .

    Do you see a way that virtual currencies to reward individual/tribe efforts to create valued “objects” in the feed?

    And/or for “prediction markets” that enable individuals or teams to gain reputation by correctly forecasting the kinds of idealities that will get buy-in?

    Best,

    Mark
    @openworld
    @buildership

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    I found the link http://ilnk.me/124f Is this the approach you're looking at?

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    Are you familiar with the work being done at MIT media Lab. They presented a very cool working model for an interactive projected screen. If it hasn't gotten your radar, let me know and I'll find the link.

    Meanwhile I wanted to put on the table the idea that Print can now re emerge as a information vehicle. Just one thought is that a newspaper with 2d codes might well be a transitional technology on the round to a rich Augmented Reality experience.

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    I agree completely. When I talk about projection I am talking about something quite different altogether.

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    I think the problem that has to be addressed is to how to overcome the limitations of the screen as a medium. In real life we are in a 360 ever changing environment in which every object is emitting information. The visual parts of the our brains have evolved to “automatically” filter noise and get signal. In fact it's not automatic, merely happens without words. That allows a rich messy information flow. e.g. Walking through a city, a field or a bar.

    The screen by it's very nature as a medium does not allow the same experience. The edges of the screen create focus in a way the real world does not.

    A promising avenue is augmented reality with overlays of information on the messy world. Until we get to eyeglasses that make the computer transparent, I believe the military has this already and their are any number of prototypes out there. I think the QR and Smart phones are merely transitional technologies.

    But I don't think the real world experience can in principle be replicated on the screen.

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Happy New Years everyone

    I don't want this to turn into a discussion about religion. The link you point to Mark does not prove anything with regards to god. It's a loose mixture of some quantum physics and some philosophical thinking but the basic premise about the observer is simply wrong.

    None the less it raises something important which is the need to be together about something.

    My main point with my essay was to ask three questions.

    1. Why do information online matter
    2. How are we dealing with information
    3. Could there be other ways to deal with information.

    My conclusion is that information matters online because it has increasing implications on my offline life.

    That we are currently designing our information streams in such a matter that it creates a bottleneck that this information have to go through in order to be validated.

    That perhaps with social machines as a sort of sub-conscious information exchanger. Our “feed reader” looking for patterns in information out there around what it know about me from the subconscious machine social layer. We could get in a position where the feed is “just” like how we deal with our physical surroundings. Instead of looking at each individual atom in the objects or at each individual object, we look around in the info-soup as we would look around ourselves.

    We should not forget one important little think though and that is that part of the current feed experience is social. I.e. there is some social currency that get's shifted around and that is perhaps why we endure what I would call a tedious process of looking for information that matter.

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    Michael,

    >>It's hard for me to find the right word for the non human PoV. If I were so inclined I might use God or Great Spirit. As a skeptic I'm more comfortable with Nature. In any case, nature/God/Great Spirit is indifferent to our machinations.

    Coincidently, a remarkable item popped up via a Twitter link that relates directly to this statement – and to Thomas' earlier comments on materializing/solidifying the future through intent:

    “Scientific Proof of the Existence of God” | Dr. Amit Goswami http://j.mp/66wZn6

    I found it well worth reading, after an initial hesitation over the blog's name.

    Best,

    Mark
    @openworld @buildership

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    This is interesting – all the more so given the synchronicity of your ideas with those of folks I've been reading! Here are a few that especially relate to the trends you've described, and that may speed realization of future visions that we cast into the feed:

    1) Umair Haque of Harvard Business Review has been writing on a) how “Builders” will disrupt Leader-centered institutions http://j.mp/61f1ow , and b) “Why Ideals are the New Business Model” http://j.mp/64jITU .

    Related to this, Openworld has recently launched @buildership on Twitter, and a Buildership.org site that aims to spark crowdsourced development of resources of value to to ideal-centered blogs and tribes. (I hope such crowdsourcing will also help solidify Thomas' insights on tools for projecting ideals into the feed).

    2) Douglas Rushkoff (NYU) gave an intriguing keynote on “Radical Abundance” and the rebirth of exchange in a world where digital resources are free. He outlines a future based on personal, time-based currencies rather than fiat money: http://j.mp/4nvDf7 . I've tossed in ideas on initial steps that individuals can take now to help realize his vision in the comment just below his talk at the above link.

    3) Matt Jones (DxF) has jaw-dropping slides – “We've got all the time in the world” http://j.mp/8RUiZI . I still haven't figured out the implications, but have a sense that what he's saying could be relevant to understanding the ideal forms that you, Thomas, and others in this thread have been pointing towards.

    In any event, many thanks to Black&White for the spark it has given to illuminate the opportunities.

    Best,

    Mark
    @openworld @buildership

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    I'm trying to use only words that might be scale independent and context indpendent. So I would say that power is the ability to control time. Once time is controlled, everything else follows. In the model I'm trying to figure out, power like fear is good/bad. When wielded by those who are protected from the consequences of their decisions and by the venal power can also be evil.

    For example, I think I can make a cogent argument with some data points that suggest that most of the problems of dropouts can be mitigated by a different organization of time. The boss in an enterprise has the power to organize the workers time as a necessary condition of the production process. But it's exactly the justification and underlying necessity of that power that the information rich environment of the internet is destroying.

    Once power to manage time is widely distributed because it is no longer necessary to get stuff done, the very core of the functionality of the formal organization is under sever attack. “Nation states, themselves, which could be dated from the mid 17th century in the west, no longer control their currency. In my view, currency can be considered as the symbol of stored time past that can effect time future.

    As standards emerge from high density information exchange, do legal systems evolve from the information exchange that is “money.” The positive growth of civil society (organization) is that as information exchange increases it's ubiquity in space and speed in time, it's likely that the natural evolution is to standards based exchanges.

    However, the real and present danger are the Black Swan events. The twin tower explosing could have gone one of the two ways. In my view we had incompetent leaders who used the fear to extend the imperial Presidency. A more competent leader could have taken the event and turned it into an unparalleled teachable/learning moment. From what I've seen so far, my impression is that Obama is moving in that direction with the “financial crisis.”

    I guess in my view, power like everything else, is good/bad. How it plays out can be described as luck, the will of god, fate, or as we might say on the streets in Brooklyn. “Shit happens.”

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    I think we're exactly on the same page about this – and your comment about the evolutionary role of fear resonates especially. In my case, fear of an “enterprise association” model dominating our lives – prevailing over a civil association framework – that has led to many insights and discoveries that I hope will be part of a bright future.

    The one clarifier I would offer on your comment relates to use of “power.” I sense you are using it to mean the capacity to achieve a desired effect. This definition, however, misses the key issue of the means used to achieve the effect. Are the means based on persuasion and consent-based exchange among actors in a system of formal equity (horizontal relations) within the polis? Or do the means include using transgressive power – in terms of force and fraud – to achieve the desired end? If one defines power in a way that legitimizes transgression, the act of doing so can be an enabler of a future dominated by fear.

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld
    @openworld @buildership

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    Mark,

    No doubt that we agree that “that there are ways to get around this.” But what I find missing from most of the discussion of the social media are the centrality of managing time and power. I think it might be fair to say that the stresses described in the thread have to do with not having enough time.

    The way I read Thomas' post, the problem to be solved is to manage the stress of “keeping up” with information. To me that leads to the question “Why precisely do the various we's at various times” feel the need to keep up and what precisely is the nature of the stress that the tools under discussion are meant to relieve.

    For most of the world, most of the time. “no news is good news.” The phone ringing at 3:00 AM is just one example. I submit that the real need met by breaking news is to make sure nothing serious broke while I wasn't watching. Then is it going to rain or be nice. Once those are out of the way, it's possible to relax a bit and see what else might be interesting.

    For most of the world at some times the “news” is intensely interesting. Michael Jackson dies, The Ballon Boy is a hoax, the failed attack on the jetliner to Detroit. But the half life of that interest is usually very short. People move back to solving proximate problems. The exact nature of those problems critically depends on their situations.

    My point is that I think it impossible to articulate a working model of interest, without considering fear as a potentiality in every exchange.

    It comes from the need to move forward in time into an relatively unpredictable and finally unknowable environment. It's most clear(2me) in the world of business when stuff seriously breaks. The recent financial crisis was truly a teachable moment. I'm also pretty clear that it's the most important stress in the emergence of dysfunctional behavior in bottom of the pyramid high schools in the States. My hypothesis is that it works the same way at the stage of puberty regardless of the time or place. My further hypothesis is that it's a useful approach to building a scale independent “thinking tool.”

    I'm trying to say that “fear” is appropriate as a mechanism of evolution. From a human centric PoV the word we use is fear. It's hard for me to find the right word for the non human PoV. If I were so inclined I might use God or Great Spirit. As a skeptic I'm more comfortable with Nature. .

    In any case, nature/God/Great Spirit is indifferent to our machinations. Given that we have no choice but to move forward in time and space, that means without a sense of the power to respond to unknowable next events fear makes good sense.

    That, like everything else is a good/bad thing. Good because the cascades of neural firings it sets off result in the ideations that struggle with predicting the future. Bad because when manipulated by power that acts in a world of moral hazard, it's the most proven and effective way to get tribes to move as one with sometimes horrible unintended consequences.

    The point for this conversation is that in the service of designing a software platform that can naturally grow, fear and power have to be in the model.

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    Michael,

    >>One of the real problems is that “what we want” changes in an instant. “We” is also a moving target. Some communities of interest form and dissipate within 24 hours.

    OK – but I'd argue that there are ways to get around this. One is to see people as composites of three frames of reference (personal, business, and civic) exert claims on where we direct our attention and resources/effort. The “pull” of each frame of reference on us varies based on whether our frame is operation on a Maslow-like survival (endangered) level, a comfort (secure) level, or generative (propagating) level.

    And the strange attractor that guides our behavioral choices when we are beyond a survival level, I think, is the search for a golden thread: synergetic actions which will (ideally) move us forward in propagating the memes, genes, and lumines that are important to all three of our frames of reference.

    So what does this mean for us in the social web? My hunch is we're building trust relations that help each of us to better understand opportunities and threats so that we can:

    - resiliently stay above the survival level, and
    - discover/remix/apply new combinations of patterns (or generative scripts, in Christopher Alexander's terms) that improve prospects for consilient memes, genes, and lumines.

    The frameworks that lead to durable forms of cooperation can be either the adverbial rules of “civil association” or the substantive, results-focused aims of “enterprise associations” – these are well described in the Wikipedia entry for Michael Oakeshott. Our visions of shared future idealities that we project into the feed, I think, will need to keep this distinction clear. If enterprise association-based conceptions of idealities presume to have a substantive claim upon the lives and resources of all, the future may unfold in quite ugly power struggles. But if civil association idealities solidify as the metaframework of the future, then enterprise associations associations can project their visions and peacefully vie for attention and freely given resources in a prospering, live-and-let system. Such a future can reduce fear-driven behavior as people's attention shifts toward comfort levels and generative levels of endeavor.

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld.com and Buildership.org
    @openworld @buildership

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    Have people had a chance to take a good look at Google's living Stories? My take is that it does much of what Richard describes.

    Two quibbles :

    1. “we all know what we want, but we do not know how to get there..” One of the real problems is that “what we want” changes in an instant. “We” is also a moving target. Some communities of interest form and dissipate within 24 hours.

    2. I think it's important to keep in mind that responding to constraint is the other lever of evolutionary development. in the Art Instinct he traces out the interaction of the need to reproduce (high risk) vs the need to “not get eaten” (minimum risk.” i think it's a compelling argument.

    My take in natural language is the mantra is that people make decisions on the basis of fear and greed. In my opinion, in real life, it's mostly fear.

  • http://www.openworld.com Openworld

    Richard,

    Agree entirely with your comments. Are you familiar with Umair Haque's Builders Manifesto, and posts on ideal-centered tribes as the springboard for collaborative filtering of — and interaction with – the feed?

    We've recently launched @buildership and a new web site (http://www.Buildership.org) to integrate ideas from “Slaves of the Feed” post and conversation with Umair's insights. Also, there should be ways to crowdsource integration of microcontests, awards, and prediction markets, so the best holistic lenses for the feed can more rapidly emerge.

    What do you think should be the next steps on this?

    Best,

    Mark Frazier
    Openworld.com (@openworld) and Buildership.org (@buildership)

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Richard-Leis/500083615 Richard Leis

    This is exactly what I have been whining about for days. :) Great article.

    We don't need more aggregators, and we don't need filtering. What we need are tools that take in a bunch of noise and tell us something useful about that noise. The image above of a projection looks to me a lot like a magic mirror from a fairy tale. Back in 1997 I was writing about the “Magic Mirror” web. Today I imagine a web that instantiates itself just as you need it that moment: an audio answer to a question, a visual representation of a lot of data, the right song or video for your mood, a complete itinerary for the evening or travel, a presentation, a map, a confidant, a communications pipeline to a friend, etc.

    In Twitter, the trending topics fill up with new tweet so fast that it is impossible to read them all. But reading them all would be pointless, because often each new tweet about a topic is similar to those that came before it. When I click on “Avatar”, do I really need to see a constantly growing list of tweets related to what people liked or didn't like about the movie (or that they are standing in line? Or making a joke about 3-D glasses? etc.) Instead, all this real time data could instead be going into a dynamic poll, counts of how many people saw the movie, a map of everyone standing in line around the world.

    Today I was thinking about news reporting, and how media outlets want the readers/viewers to go to *their* website instead of the competitors website. But the reader/viewer doesn't want hundreds of different articles about the same event; they want a holistic overview of the event and they want to drill into the details most important to them.

    Furthermore, do we really need hundreds of enthusiast sites about the planet Mars, for example? What we need is all of those websites to come together into a single Mars resource, dynamic and useful, constantly updated as our knowledge about the Red Planet grows.

    Like someone else here said, though: we all know what we want, but we do not know how to get there…

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    As it's become clear to me that doing a blog post organizing my thoughts is going to take a while, i wanted to put some words in this thread that others might find useful.

    Let's say we can look at the world as the movement of “actors”.

    An “actor” can be a person, an organization, a node, an object, In fact anything that can be described by a noun might be thought of as an actor. Actors are always in motion through time and usually in motion through space.

    An actor moves within a unique, every changing “activity space.” The structure of the activity space is made manifest by the interaction between a cognitive space and a physical space.

    I've tried to apply this framework at a couple of different scales. Folks might want to take a look to see if there is anything useful there for this conversation.

    This one is about an emerging print functionality, called the printernet http://ilnk.me/11ee
    This one is part of a conversation I was having with a post graduate doctoral student in pyschology on the issue of manic depression http://ilnk.me/11f0

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Hi Moesds

    Thank you for your comment.

    I don't think we disagree but I not sure.

    My goal with this post was to look at other ways to approach information not to say it can't be solved.

    Care to elaborate?

  • http://000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Hi Moesds

    Thank you for your comment.

    I don't think we disagree but I not sure.

    My goal with this post was to look at other ways to approach information not to say it can't be solved.

    Care to elaborate?

  • moesds

    Just try to have a look at http://www.scribd.com/doc/24339159/The-Physics-… Within the universe continuum, Information deluge as physical matter problem could be solved in two kind of methods. First, overloaded Information could be treated with extreem compression technology. Second, from human learning aspect we could manipulate the instructional as well as the strategic learning.
    There won't what so called Knowledge overload because Knowledge only evolved as subject, emerged inside human body behaving as complex system (link http://mobeeknowledge.ning.com/forum/topics/we-… )

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/GQVVM3IQWIZCZFK5G46OQ4FQGQ TristanN

    Ok, first let me say this is one of the best threads I've seen in years. Arrived here via the Ambient Streams comments and will have to digest some incredible ideas being committed to “the stream.”

    But I comment here to share a delightfully uncanny moment: I was just thinking, “gee, I wonder if constructal theory could apply to this notion of fractal narrative patterns”, and one page-scroll down later, I see this comment. Literally had the chills.

    Constructal theory is new to me, but I intend to research it further to (hopefully) apply it to UX design.

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    I thought it might be useful to describe my experience with twitter as a “use case”

    To set the context, I am a “disinterested” participant as I am retired and don't have the time constraints or pressures of having a day job. I would assume that is relatively unusual. I started blogging about two years ago and more seriously in January 2009. That path is not immediately germane.

    Re twitter after hearing lots of “buzz” I resisted until about June 2009. Since then what seems to have evolved is using twitter to

    1: gather interesting(2me) links. It helps entangle the various events and data points in my own “conversation.” This makes them relatively easy to find as the narrative is mine and each word triggers the context in my own head. It's sort of an experience similar to gmail, although I haven't yet found a search as good as the gmail search.

    2: Of late I'm starting to get @ and RT. I've taken the RT as a signal of interest or agreement. It's been pretty easy to separate the bot #FF and the marketing ploy RT from real people. My process is check my @ bin on a regular basis. I click on the name, take a glance at the twitter stream, and decide if it's worth first a follow – very low risk or a response – relatively higher risk – as I might get entangled in a convo that is a waste of attention.

    3: I've found the # very useful to get a sense of the interests and leaders of a particular tribe. In edchat I seem to have a built a trust with a very active manager. I try to respect that trust by DM'ing as and when I find something that I think she will find interesting(2her) Her pattern of RTs is a feedback loop that fine tunes my sense of what is interesting(2her).

    4. I use a link shortener called ilnk.me which gives me an easy way to see which links have been clicked and when they were clicked. It's probably the most useful feedback mechanism I've found so far.

    Based on the number of followers and lists, I think I've stumbled onto an approach that seems to be working.

    I hope this description might be useful.

  • Michael_Josefowicz

    Mark-
    I welcome the experiment you describe. My personal focus is high school dropouts in the States. This is a real and pressing problem that is part of the nexus of interactions of poor teenagers spending lots of unnecessary time incarcerated. To say nothing about the waste in human capital. But where ever the focus takes it, I look forward to participating in any way I can.

    Thomas,
    Although I come from the worlds of print, design and marketing, I want to assure you that I agree that the sloppy thinking and latching on to the buzz word du jour is a problem in those spaces. But, having said that,I think it's useful to take them seriously as object for empirical study.

    The issue is similar to focusing on the use of living vernacular language as way to articulate the mechanisms of meme production and extension work. My favorite example is Frankfort's book On Bullshit. My instinct is that there are many insights there that would help with this effort.

    In that spirit, if might be useful for folks to take a look at #edchat and especially #KMers. #edchat is a robust community of teachers that meet every Tuesday from 7 to 9pm EST. #Kmers has just started up but they bring invaluable professional experience to the problem.

    I've connected with @swanwick . It seems that interesting(2me) = interesting(4him) . The knowledge management community (new2me) seems a rich source of insight given their professional focus. In particular, I found their approach to #chats very interesting. A link to the site http://ilnk.me/1176

    I'm not really competent to add anything useful to the more abstract conversation between Mark and Thomas at this point. It's in a language that is foreign to me. To be clear, don't worry about dumbing it down. I'll just listen until I get the hang of it.

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    (One may wonder, though, whether physics may some day find such properties in quantum particles that scale up to explain sentience in macro-level assemblies.)

    Not to get into a discussion about quantum physics but I don’t believe in any hidden variable theories. Unless Bells Theorem is wrong of course, but if it is then we QM is wrong all together.

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Mark

    Good points.

    With regards to:

    “Hopefully, it will be possible in the future to filter out the true relays from spam relays/stacking by confirming that the node has active (related) contingent agreements with peers to change behavior.”

    This is where the social machines come in. They know whether the relay is just a “stacked” relay or whether it’s a adopted relay.

    If it’s just relayed without the re-layer actually investigating the content then it’s a stack.

    A ghost application that simply exchange information with the ecosystem.

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    Quick correction –

    >>The true relayers would be those who are prefered to guarantee some level of change in their behavior

    should be

    >>The true relayers would be those who are _prepared_ to guarantee some level of change in their behavior

    Best,

    Mark
    @openworld

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    Thomas,

    Illuminating comments! I tend to agree that the memes, genes, and qualities of spirit act “as if” they were selfish, rather than actually have feelings and intent. (One may wonder, though, whether physics may some day find such properties in quantum particles that scale up to explain sentience in macro-level assemblies.)

    It’s been a long time since I looked into C.S. Peirce’s semiotics and pragmatism, but what you’re saying about internal logic in nodes counting far less that their external referents seems spot on. Indeed, I recall Peirce saying that the only way we can fully “know” an object is by the discovering the full range of its external effects.

    In a way, this also may open the door to creating monetary value from the abundant talent and virtual resources in the growing feed around us. In some great comments on “The Intention Web” ( http://ow.ly/16bctZ ), one observer notes “intentions become real valuable when execution is guaranteed.”

    For me, this suggests a way to filter out the true relayers from the mere referrers (or “stackers” as you’ve described them. The true relayers would be those who are prefered to guarantee some level of change in their behavior if others in their social tribe or trustnets agree. Hopefully, it will be possible in the future to filter out the true relays from spam relays/stacking by confirming that the node has active (related) contingent agreements with peers to change behavior. One site offering such peer agreements to execute is Pledgebank – there may well be others.

    I’ll have time later today and tomorrow to give more thought on the issues you raised. Look forward meanwhile to further comments/ideas.

    Look forward to continuing the conversation and seeing whatever may be projected into the feed as a result.

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld
    @openworld

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Regarding Dawkins

    I read most of Dawkins and find his two first books (Selfish Gene and The Blind Watchmaker) most illuminating. In those he is a biologist before he is an atheist.

    What I really took way with me from those two books was something very simple.

    When Dawkins talks about genes being selfish he is not saying that genes are actually selfish but rather that they act as if they where selfish.

    In other words we interpret genes in a in a way that we can understand them not how they “really” behave. We can’t predict behaviors with it so to speak.

    So I am always a little cautious when marketeers and buzzword frenzy industries start throwing these terms around as they normally end up pretending to claim certainty where none really exist.

    But back to the discussion.

    I think we first need to realize the following.

    The semantic web will most probably always be a sub-set of the web and our conversations.

    The important information is not what is semantically formatted but rather what is not semantically formatted. Not what is semantically formulated and can be interpreted as trends but rather what isn’t obvious.

    In order to design for projection, I believe the following 3 things needs to get sort out first and I would appreciate your feedback.

    The following 3 things needs to be solved to create the ecosystem where information matter can exist.

    What constitutes an item of information (node)?

    With this I mean, when is a node a node. A possible interpretation of this could be.

    Once someone or something submits a feed item. The internal logic is less important than what this feed item refers to. In other words a submitted feed items importance is it’s relationship (who said it, when did they say it, how many other said it, what is related to this etc.) This comes back to looking at the sender, receiver and re-layer relationship.

    What constitutes a relationship between nodes?

    When are two nodes connected and how important is their connection. Here it’s important to look at the sender of information vs. the creator, re-layer vs. consumer and so on. In other words perhaps we need to dwell much more on the reason why a node get’s amplified.

    It’s all nice and good if I am seeding a node. But if people just relay it without reading it then the amplification is non-adopted and thus isn’t really a meme. Perhaps we could call these mindless re-lays traces or node stacking, perhaps what they show is not the importance of what is being said, but who said it.

    What constitutes a pattern?

    I.e. how does nodes and their relationship help build patterns and perhaps more importantly how does it manifest itself as a pattern.

    My gut-answer is that we treat patterns the same way we deal with machine language. That a node related either is or isn’t important to the pattern.

    How this could play out I am not really 100% clear of yet but I am imagining that x amount of nodes might be related through a, sender, receiver and re-layer perspective but isn’t related on subject. Thus perhaps something that isn’t gaining a lot of traction because it’s widespread adoption might be important to you because it’s from someone in your network.

    I will do some more thinking on the subject. I also feel that some more illustrations would be in order, I will see if I can change the comment tool to include more than just text.

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    Thomas and Michael,

    Look forward to the gifts of your and others next postings!

    A few moments ago, I had a thought on a way we might try to test-drive some of the ideas in this thread. It could be done with a mashup that

    a) pulls up old tweets from people who are doing interesting thinking, and

    b) encourages crowdsourced tagging of these old Tweets — especially by members of a tribe seeking to advance their shared ideals.

    Here’s how I think a mashup might best work to produce tagged virtual objects that can be readily attached to narrative fractals valued by a given crowd.

    Let’s imagine a scenario where a tribe aims to change health outcomes in communities through individual and peer-group rewards for lifestyle changes that reduce risk.

    The mashup lets one choose people who have Tweeted on this (pls allow me use @openworld for this scenario). Too many unrelated Tweets come up, so the tribe member then keyword filters on “health” and “lifestyles.”

    This produces about a dozen Tweets that may be relevant. The tribe member then scans them and adds metadata #hashtags (a user-created folksonomy) to the shortlisted Tweets.

    Then the interesting stuff could happen. A web-based, collaborative Mindmap might appear when the user wished on a topic of interest to the tribe (let’s say it’s called “Rewarding healthy lifestyles in poor communities”). The Mindmap at the outset has six prime branches, corresponding to the elements of the narrative fractal described above.

    The tribe member then reviews the tagged Tweets, and drags-and-drops them over to the respective parts of the storyline. One Tweet works as an attention-attracting intro (the 1st element of the fractal). Another illustrates the scope of the problem (part 2 of fractal).

    Another Tweet shows a solution – Safeway’s policy of lowering group health insurance rates for people who bring and keep their body mass below 30. It goes into element #3 of the fractal narrative. And so on…

    The (very) partially fleshed out interactive Mindmap would be collaborative. Others in the tribe (or the public) could be invited to also tag and insert their Tweets. A feedback rating system for each dropped-in, tagged Tweet could be included. This would enable people to quickly see which resources in a given element of the fractal were deemed by tribe members as best fits for a solution. (In cases of controversy, comment threads could be accessed through links to DebateGraph.org’s visual tool).

    This kind of mashup could make it far easier than at present for tribes to crowdsource practical scenarios to solidify future idealities. It would also enable them to line up contingent reward offers (e.g. Pledgebank) and post “Builder Challenge” contests to see the increasingly fleshed out narratives come to life.

    What do you think? Is there a way to bootstrap up such a mashup, perhaps with a free, collaborative web-based mindmap system like http://www.mind42.com ?

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld
    @openworld

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Micael and others

    I have added a “notify me” checkbox when you comments.

    I will get back tomorrow lots to say. Today (24th) we celebrate christmas in Denmark.

    Best and happy hollidays

    Thomas

  • http://toughloveforxerox.blogpsot.com Michael Josefowicz

    In the interests of keeping the conversation going without waiting until I organize my thoughts ( I have a feeling it will need a blog post) a couple of things come to mind.

    I think it’s possible that a useful place to look for language is the practice of public health and advertising.

    Public health especially in the sub specialty of managing epidemics is concerned with viral spread. In the advertising world are highly skilled professionals who are measuring the creation and spread of memes.

    Dawkins actually coined the term meme in the Selfish Meme. Wiki link: http://ilnk.me/1144

    Now that viral marketing it the lastest “buzz word” (meme) in the marketing world, massive data sets are being gathered that might be fruitful to re frame in different ways.

  • http://toughloveforxerox.blogpsot.com Michael Josefowicz

    Mark,
    Thank you for pointing to the Constructal website. There is much to digest and will take some time.

    But first a question: Has this approach been used to articulate the evolution of communication systems? If you or anyone else could @ or DM I will get the answer sooner and it will help me compose my thoughts.

    I will be checking back periodically, as I cannot find either an RSS or follow up email on this page.

    Thanks.

  • http://toughloveforxerox.blogpsot.com Michael Josefowicz

    Likewise… this needs some thought. I’ll be back.

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    I thinks it’s getting very interesting. I will get back to you both tomorrow. Thanks

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    In line with Michael’s mention of biomimicry, I’ve been struck by how “Constructal” insights may be relevant to the discussion or projecting future idealities into the data around us.

    Constructal thinking (overview at http://www.Constructal.org) posits that living systems, like non-living ones, interact with their environment via “flows” that respond to challenges in deeply similar ways.

    For those of us trying to swim in the real-time feed, a critical challenges to avoid losing our time – and our bearings – in an ocean of interesting information. As Thomas has suggested, we can create a new flow in response – the capability to cast patterns into the ocean that bring back valued resources. These patterns can be the DNA to build workable narratives on how we can realize future idealities.

    Casting narrative fractals into the virtual environment can attract useful particles (data, information, knowledge) to these ends from the surrounding, abundant virtual objects. The new entities can then return to our increasingly overwhelmed fields of view as partly or fully realized wholes. This makes it possible for us, in the social web, to more quickly and effectively do acceptance tests (element 5) than is possible now via fragmented, semi-random grabs into the data ocean.

    Social webs such as Twitter, I think, will prove vital in our ability to evolve this ability to project idealities into data in workable ways.

    Such networks can help crowdsource specs for workable idealities that can be projected in the exaflood. The virtual projects (e.g. for eLearning, ehealthcare, and eGov packages) can then fill out with resources. These virtual efforts can also do soft forks, branching into new “species” of ideal virtual resources as local communities may desire. Projection of crowd-defined idealities for sustainable actual development ventures, as well as virtual resources benefiting the world, may also be possible through initiatives such as http://j.mp/edbSf .

    What do you think?

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld.com
    @openworld

  • http://toughloveforxerox.blogpsot.com Michael Josefowicz

    I will look forward to it. Another thought has occurred to me since this morning. Suppose one consider a word analogous to a protein. Then a phrase could sometimes be a meme. Sometimes just be a collection of words.

    In that framework might it be useful to do think about mapping the meme analogous to mapping the gene. I assume that there is lots of word on word counts and frequency from SEO that might be usefully brought to bear.

    Thank you for having this conversation.

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Michael

    Thank you very much for your insightful and very interesting comment.

    I will get back to you soon

  • http://toughloveforxerox.blogpsot.com Michael Josefowicz

    I think you are on to something.

    The key for me is “a scale-independent, deep process of experience” If one could articulate, find appropriate metrics at different scales, this is potentially a big deal.

    I encountered #biomimicry on twitter. it might be a useful place to look. It’s by now a pretty well established practice of studying natural processes to engineer new products. I did a couple of RTs to see if anyone was using the approach to understand human communication.

    Although I only pursued it once, I was very surprised to get a RT or two saying as far as they knew no one was doing work with that approach.

    The critical property that Dawkins gives to a gene is a self-replicator. He follows the physical implications of looking through the lens of the natural drive to self replicate. He then coins the term meme to describe a natural self replicator in cognitive space.

    My sense is that going down this road has the possibility of a scale independent model.

    Perhaps the words I’ve been toying with will help. The world is seen as the product of an interaction of “actors.” Actor is independent of the physical manifestation. First to come to mind is a person. But I think it works at many scales. Genes, cells, tissues, organs, individuals, tribes, communities, bio regions, global.

    In this schema actors occupy every moving physical space and cognitive space. Objects can also be “actors’. One way to reframe Medium is the message is that print, by it’s existence, separate from the “information’ contained creates a specific space/time.

    Consider that a TV in the living room means social TV. It happens at a specific time which increases the probability of the emergence of a self selected event. – The family gets together to watch it. The family gathering creates it’s own time/space which mediates the available information.

    Klapper,(sic) did some research in the 1960′s I think in a book called (as i remember ) The Effects of Mass Communication. Turns out that the understanding of the content was critically dependent on the narratives of the small group who was viewing it together. The same “content” could be internalized in completely opposite ways depending on what I might call the time/space of the viewing event.

    To me it’s a data point for making sense out of the time/space determines the content.

    I’ve been playing with these ideas for a couple of years to try to see if there is anything in it. I would much appreciate any reactions you might have.

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    @frodation –

    >>Information as matter? I’m confused, seems to ne like a step backward, from creatura to pleroma (see Gregory Bateson). I do like more a good definition on these subjects

    I think you’ll enjoy the hits on a web search for “The New Negroponte Switch”, which has an intriguing discussion of physical objects dematerializing, and information objects turning physical.

    Also, as a rule of thumb, I use the following to differentiate among different kinds of virtual objects -

    - data (reports)
    - information (data that reduces uncertainty)
    - knowledge (information on achieving a result)
    - wisdom (what results are of lasting value)

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld.com
    @openworld

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    @silvain -

    >>What are those tests? I think that’s the whole issue. Not so much the algorithm one might chose but how to make a decision. On what ground?

    In brief, the acceptance test would involve a survey of potential parties at interest (including their proxy bots) who were identified in the strategies.

    The survey would get their responses to the shortlisted scenarios (“if ___ happens, would you do ______?) and try to line up contingent commitments.

    Then, the final step is to review the test results and opt to go ahead, stop, or work to close any remaining critical gaps in the strategy.

    This latter case would involve a reframing/zooming of the fractal narrative process and re-looping it to close the gap.

    As to Thomas’s point, the heuristics in the strategy — once successfully applied — are persistently stored and can then be available for other pattern-seeking humans or machines engaged in similar case:result:rule searches.

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld
    @openworld

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    @Silvian

    I think the axiom could be amplification through positive feedback. Meaning that what constitutes a pattern is not predefined but rather a byproduct of persistence.

    So for me the issue becomes as much how do you represent the information within the axiom as it is what is an axiom.

    The reason why I talk about information as matter is because it should to a certain extent be uniform (or perhaps a better expression is reduced complexity). The piece of information in itself is not important (it’s just “matter”)

    Only it’s ability to persist in the ecosystem by it’s ability to attract attention and interaction determines whether it becomes a pattern or noise.

  • http://www.defuze.org Sylvain

    @Mark,

    The narrative fractal sounds like a resilient idea but what are its axioms? You say:

    > Acceptance or validation tests (fifth narrative element) are then needed for the best of any machine-generated models. Based on these findings, a decision (sixth element) can made to commit, reject, or retry.

    What are those tests? I think that’s the whole issue. Not so much the algorithm one might chose but how to make a decision. On what ground?

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    Thomas,

    >>Designing for projection ultimately means to create a time-machine that allow you to surpass “now” and to peek into a probable future.

    A wonderful Buddhist saying, if I recall correctly, runs as follows -

    “To get to the far shore, you have to come from it”

    After envisioning idealities (the third facet of the narrative fractal), the challenge for the person or computer is to prepare practical ways to build bridges that connect the near shore to the far shore.

    A person (or a machine) in this fourth aspect of the fractal process can apply design patterns — such as found in TRIZ, Christopher Alexander’s 15 rules on ‘alive and whole design,’ and Rod King’s new Wisdomsourcing work — to come up with practical models for building bridges to the idealities.

    Acceptance or validation tests (fifth narrative element) are then needed for the best of any machine-generated models. Based on these findings, a decision (sixth element) can made to commit, reject, or retry.

    Does this make a bit clearer how a tagging system – ready for a fractal storyline – could be sent out into information flows, and come back with assemblies of content that machines/people can more readily assess and value in reaching a desired future?

    Best,

    Mark
    Openworld.com
    @openworld

  • Frodation

    Information as matter?
    I’m confused, seems to ne like a step backward, from creatura to pleroma (see Gregory Bateson). I do like more a good definition on these subjects, for example http://www.systemswiki.org/index.php?title=Data,_Information,_Knowledge_and_Wisdom

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Mark

    The model that I am ultimately envisioning deals with information as something to provide fidelity to a meta layer on top of the feed items.

    In other words the actual information of any specific feed item is not what is relevant. It doesn’t exist in a one to one relationship with the meta layer.

    Instead it’s purpose is to provide critical mass to the emerging trends.

    Designing for projection ultimately means to create a time-machine that allow you to surpass “now” and to peek into a probable future. Looking for patterns.

    We are pattern recognizing feedback loops, but our machines are much better at looking for patterns (not to confuse with meaning) it’s those patterns that needs to get amplified and somehow interpreted into a model of reality that we can understand. A reality though that is very different than the one we experience now.

    I agree with your tagging idea (patterns) but I am not sure we would want to put these tags into some clearly defined meta-category. I believe that important patterns emerge because they are important.

    A tiger running towards you in an otherwise calm environment.

  • we

    Singularity is a lie!

    We´re all gonna die!

    Thomas and Mark. Great minds! Write or wrong?

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Mark

    Thanks for your posts. I did understand you.

    Let me reflect on it a little more and I will get back to you.

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    File my earlier response under the category of posts-I-wish-I’d-spent more time on…

    On re-reading this morning, a sense of unease spread over the post’s failure to reflect the deep fractal narrative pattern it describes.

    Yet this led to an idea. An opportunity exists for SideWiki or a browser add-on to let readers leave “narrative gap” tags when they find a missing element in the universal narrative structure.

    What would be the best steps for bringing such a tagging/annotating system into being? A mashup project to create a prototyp – launched on SourceForge or posted on Rentacoder.com — might be a good way to begin.

    Before proceeding, I’d like to get feedback on a) whether the deep narrative fractal approach rings true, b) how it can be improved and made useful for people and machines that would like to project patterns into data and c) whether there are any people interested in helping spec, design, or create prototype.

    These inputs will help in the decision whether to do more research or start to move the idea into action.

    Best,

    Mark Frazier
    @openworld

  • http://www.twitter.com/openworld Openworld

    An opportunity exists, I think, to project a fractal pattern into data, at wherever one turns or zooms focus.

    A recurring narrative pattern seems to organize experience. I believe sentient beings consciously – or unconsciously – try to tag items they are focusing into one of six elements that make up an unfolding storyline.

    These elements are:

    attention->tension->vision->strategy->test->resolution

    As far as I can tell, this storyline works at almost any scale. It is implicit in our choice of what to focus on as we quickly scan a natural or social environment. It is found in a good conversations, in the assembly of conversations and events to make subplots, in the assembly of subplots to make a story, in the gathering of stories to create an epic, and in the combination of epics to create an overarching belief system or a religion. (In science, the narrative fractal can be described as:
    attention->challenge->hypothesis->experimental design->trials->conclusion
    … but the assembly of small hypothesis and experiments on these lines similarly scales to grand theories and to revolutions in scientific paradigms).

    If such a scale-independent, deep process of experience does exist, it may well explain the emergence of consciousness in evolution of living beings – and perhaps for artificial intelligence in the future as well. Clearly, molecules that evolve to sense and care about themselves — including an ability to sense and care about patterns of response in dealing with their surroundings — gain an survival advantage on net over those who are insensitive to their fitness.

    Moreover, awareness of a deep pattern of experience in their own makes a second leap much easier — an ability to project their own neural/information processing patterns to model a self-similar metaprocess in others.

    A further factor in the rise of consciousness of others may be the existence of metapatterns that relate to reproductive success. Building on the insights — as I understand them — of sociobiology, evolution is the story of “selfish” genes, memes, and qualities of spirit (“lumines”) that interact in consilience.

    Evolution has generated all kinds of living vessels for their propagation, with generative recipes/scripts regarding how to balance the survival and success of the individual with that of the (emergent) larger good.

    Each particle, molecule, organelle, cell, organ, person, community, and civilization has a narrative regarding survival and reproductive success — including sacrifices for the reproductive success of a larger good — that may well hew to a fractal-like storyline.

    As more complex assemblies encounter challenges and react by forming higher-level visions/opportunities, new strategies for propagation of the entity’s code will emerge and new acceptance tests will apply.

    In whatever forms this evolution may take, we may see intelligent participants (human or otherwise) projecting a deep fractal-like narrative pattern into their environment. Selfish genes, memes and lumines will thereby gain abilities to relate in consilient, non-zero sum ways.

    Best,

    Mark Frazier
    @openworld

  • http://twitter.com/rianvdm Rian

    Great post. I also wrote about this recently at http://bit.ly/5b736Y but you said it much better…

  • CEH

    This is really great. Reminds of augmented displays that provide info about surroundings by associating digital world info with real world objects. Great vision!

  • http://www.000fff.org Thomas Petersen

    Swizec I agree. Great point.

  • http://swizec.com Swizec

    Perhaps the most surprising thing isn’t that we have this problem, but just how many people realise this is a problem and yet, nobody has solved it.

    This is the truly unfathomable part of the equation, there’s such a small cognitive leap from globally organised information to personally organised information, and yet we simply haven’t done it yet.

  • http://tgethr.com Nate

    I think one of the main reasons we have this accumulation of data is who we consider a friend on our social networks.

    You can count your True friends on one hand.

    I think 2010 should be the year of unfriending. :) Do you really need 100s of Twitter and Facebook friends. Or are you a slave to trying to be highschool popular?

  • xdx

    The solution: recommendation algorithms that filter the feeds according to your interests or to the news previously consulted.

  • http://thelastonefinished.com Gomez

    Great post.

    I absolutely agree. I have given much thought to the situation and have found (like yourself) that our current tools are not up to the task of trafficking this data effectively.

    My thinking is that no matter how many algorithms you throw at the problem, a solution can not be found on a per post, article, page, forum, etc. basis. We need to start organizing the data, in all of its forms, before we can expect to see any sort of shift in the work to result ratio.