“The web is transforming society”
“Web Squared: how the web transforms the world”
“Web Wide World” transforming “World Wide Web”
Several very interesting publications and postings over the last couple of weeks, all confirming that something very profound is happening with our core systems, our core values, and how the collective intelligence of the web is gradually but surely transforming our value kit for the nearby and long term future.
First, i would like to point to 2 very rich and profound postings by Nova Spivack.
On Nov 4, Nova posted The Web Wide World — The Web Spreads Into the Physical World.
A world in which every physical object, everything we do, and eventually perhaps our every thought and action is recorded, augmented, and possibly shared. What will the world be like when it’s all connected? When all our bodies and brains are connected together — when even our physical spaces, furniture, products, tools, and even our natural environments, are all online? Beyond just a Global Brain,
we are really building a Global Body
Even more profound and more elaborated is his posting What after the Real Time Web ? This supposes that you already have an idea what Real Time Web is all about. It’s a very long posting, but worth every minute/word of it. Some highlights/bullets with some personal comments:
About Web Attention Deficit Disorder: You can experience this every day if you are a Twitter, Facebook, Google Reader user. It’s about having tools to filter out the noice and focus on the essence
About Web Intention Deficit Disorder. Great “bridge” from attention to intention. I was thinking in terms of moving from “Crowd-Sourcing” towards “Crowd-Targeting”
About Messaging. Messaging as we know it for 20 years is going to change 180°. In these days it is somewhat insane that we still send messages from A to B, whereas with today’s technology it’s more about having something stored centrally and collaboratively participate to this "information object in the cloud”. Google Wave is a powerful trendsetter.
About Semantics. What can i say. It should be clear by now for any semantic standards setting organization like SWIFT, like GS1, like… that their knowledge to deal with semantics in “messages” can now have a ten-fold impact in a “semantic web” world, where we now can automatically semantically tag any form of information, whether that information is already structured, or not (like in Word, PDF, images, digital information footprints, etc)
About Attenuation. About helping someone focus their finite attention more efficiently on the things they care about most. This makes me think of Generation-M (see elsewhere on this blog). The generation that cares about things that Matter.
About The WebOS. I like Nova’s statement that “the winning WebOS is probably not going to come from Google, Microsoft or Amazon — rather it will probably come from someone neutral, with the best interests of developers as the primary goal.”
About Decentralization. “By this time the Web will be far too vast and complex and rapidly changing for any centralized system to index and search it”. It becomes increasingly clear that “central control” or “central policing” does not work in this Web Wide World. Definitely not if you don’t add value in the middle.
The intelligence is moving
to the edges
About Socialization. There is no escape. No hiding possible anymore. The future is for those who can share. That will be rewarded in new “currencies”. See elsewhere on this blog about the Whuffie Bank.
About Augmentation. Just today i was reading another post about augmented reality eye-lenses. And about Google Latitude now offering historical tracking on your whereabouts. Nova is mainly talking about real-time augmentation. Adding the historical tracker to all of this is pretty exciting.
About Collective Intelligence. Just quoting here: “This collective mind is not just comprised of humans, but also of software and computers and information, all interlinked into one unimaginably complex system: A system that senses the universe and itself, that thinks, feels, and does things, on a planetary scale.”
About Social Evolution. “Existing and established social, political and economic structures are going to either evolve or be overturned and replaced.” This has been my thesis since the beginning of my blogging. Stronger, it’s the raison d’être for my blog. If all this happens, what is the 2020-2030 impact on our core systems, on our core corporate and personal values. How will our companies, countries, world systems going to be organized and how can we prepare for the day when “Top-down beaurocratic control systems are simply not going to be able to keep up or function effectively in this new world of distributed, omnidirectional collective intelligence.”
About Physical Evolution. In essence, Nova describes the age of the Singularity, when our human brains will be complemented by the collective and give leeway to a different type of human being.
The environment we will live in will be a constantly changing sea of collective thought in which nothing and nobody will be isolated. We will be more interdependent than ever before. Interdependence leads to symbiosis, and eventually to the loss of generality and increasing specialization.
This must sound as music in the ears to my friend and coach André Pelgrims, who is fighting the sort of societal and corporate change management that is often not more than a big illusion, because the company has been focusing on aligning (not event fusing) of departmental silos, and was not able to descend to the level of person-to-person connection and enlightenment.
These are just some of the changes that are likely to occur as a result of the things we’re working on today. The Web and the emerging Real-Time Web are just a prelude of things to come.
The last element i’d like to ask your attention for is the existence and activities of the Web Science Trust.
The Web is the largest human information construct in history. The Web is transforming society. In order to understand what the Web is, engineer its future and ensure its social benefit we need a new interdisciplinary field that we call Web Science.
Have a look at some of the big names behind the Web Science Trust: Tim Berners-Lee, etc. Also very good to see that some European (UK) universities are starting to take the lead.
Most interesting is to look at the Research Roadmap. Just look at the research perspectives, and it gives you an idea of the deep profound impact of the Web Wide World:
- Computational perspective
- Mathematical perspective
- Social Science perspective
- Economic perspective
- Legal perspective
And the integrative research themes:
- Collective Intelligence
- Openness of the Web
- Dynamics of the Web
- Security, Privacy and Trust
I took the effort to download one of the students research reports. Oh boy, how interesting how these young people study, research, reflect, analyze. I’d love to be back at university 🙂
Here is one sentence about the WebSci’09: Society On-Line Conference:
Thanks to the support of the Web Science exchange bursary, I had also the opportunity to participate in the WebSci’09: Society On-Line Conference, which was held in Athens, Greece from 18th to 20th March 2009. The conference was actually a very special one, as it was the first conference I have ever been to where I had the chance to exchange ideas with not only computer scientists but and legal studies.
I believe it is key that
we start building companies
made of the “hybrids”
Not only computer-scientists, but people with cross-fertilizing expertise. Like “experts of other areas including social science, humanities and legal studies” and bio-engineering and nanotechnology.
All the above is very close to the suggested scope of our Think Tank on Long Term Future.