David Weinberger (dweinberger) Thu 20 Sep 12 08:35
Craig, do say more... I'm unlikely to have much to say in response. As I've mentioned, I'm just sort of dumb about privacy issues. All the more reason to hear what you have to say...
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Thu 20 Sep 12 08:56
re <50>, I'm with you and thanks for the explication. I'm thinking that this is going to become the ennui or malaise of the digital age. It really is 'too big to know' and we're just going to have to become comfortable with that. At least we can understand the dynamics and limitations: the algorithms behind search, capture and analysis of what's "out there" are limiting in themselves in terms of what we can find and utilize. The semantic web should help us 'dial in' a bit, but there's never going to be a time we grasp it all ourselves (as if there ever was:)). And if I understand it correctly the computers, or programs, are talking among themselves as well - not sure of the limitations there. Great science fiction territory. This all underscores the importance of trust and reputation in the networks that we use and rely upon as well as what new ones will emerge. It all gets a bit meta and philosophical after that, huh?
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Thu 20 Sep 12 10:40
Every remember something that didn't actually happen? Maybe you thought about it hard enough that it became real for you, or you dreamed it (or in the Gurjieffian sense, dreamed it while you were "awake"). I may have quoted this before, from Firesign Theatre: "everything you know is wrong." At least it's suspect: knowledge and truth aren't the same thing, and much of what we call "knowledge" is neither true nor real. I've been close to many news stories, and I've never known a reporter to tell it the way I saw it. Was I "wrong"? Or were they? The point I'm making here is that knowledge is inherently human and limited, which, to some, would be to say it's broken. When we say we know something, we can really only say that we think it, from our single perspective as puny humans. I wanted to bring that limitation of knowledge into the mix. Some knowledge has authority, but even authoritative knowledge bears scrutinize, and when scrutinized, often changes. (Remember the recent story about how revisiting studies and replicating experiments, we often get different results?) I don't mean to denigrate scientific method, but to expose what I hear from the best scientists: you can do your best to understand and "know," but you should always ask, and repeat, questions, and never take knowledge for granted.
Craig Maudlin (clm) Thu 20 Sep 12 11:19
Which sort of loops back on: > With complex systems, we well may not be able to understand what's > happening or why it's happening. And our intuitions are likely to be > wrong. This just struck me as a very concise statement of something we know to be true (remember when the earth was flat or the Sun revolved around the earth?). Of course, we should expect an exploration of the big data universe to generate many false hypotheses. With luck, most will be quickly falsified. But who will be the experimental subjects?
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Fri 21 Sep 12 16:08
re 52. Ted, you toss off a crucial point: "but there's never going to be a time we grasp it all ourselves (as if there ever was:))" That's one important reason why networked knowledge feels true-er to us (I think anyway): we always knew that the old, traditional, paper-based idea of knowledge was beyond human capabilities. As if we could ever KNOW anything in the old sense! Hah!
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Fri 21 Sep 12 16:10
Re 53: Yes. Knowledge is human and hence is incomplete and fallible. Even revealed knowledge needs to be interpreted to be understood (that is, needs to be understood), so it's not even that God could tap you on the shoulder and whisper it to you...although I'm saying this as a Jew who is violating the Sabbath. Nevertheless, the Jewish view of Scripture as something that must always be interpreted I have always to be found appealingly modest and healthy.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Fri 21 Sep 12 16:13
Re 54, Craig, some of the hypotheses will be testable in the old scientific way, but some (hypotheses about how masses of humans behave) will be verifiable only by looking at more stats. But I understand statistics soo poorly (= not at all), so I shall opine no further on the topic.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Fri 21 Sep 12 16:14
On a personal note: Our daughter is getting married on Sunday, which is going to be make me even less responsive to The Well than I've been already. Sorry! I'll do my best to keep up with the discussion here, but I think I'm probably not going to be writing replies on my cellphone during the ceremony :)
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 21 Sep 12 18:56
Best to you and yours, enjoy the family time.
(fom) Fri 21 Sep 12 19:16
#53 makes a good point. dweinberger, congrats on the wedding, and have fun!
Craig Maudlin (clm) Sat 22 Sep 12 06:11
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 22 Sep 12 06:22
Have a great wedding Sunday! We'll pick this up again Monday.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Sat 22 Sep 12 09:01
Thank you for your wishes. But it's only Saturday. I didn't mean to take the entire weekend off!
By E-Mail from Rouan van der Ende (captward) Sat 22 Sep 12 09:16
I see it as a natural system that follows the path of least resistance. I guess that's evident from the explosive growth of wikis, google, irc, facebook, twitter etc because that's where communication has been the easiest. In my opinion interoperability is key, and JSON is likely to win out in that regard where html has tried and failed. We're likely to see the "server" move back to the hands of the user and communicate directly with other nodes instead of needing the middleman "walled gardens". Where your information stays in your control. Perhaps you can liken it to the planet becoming self aware, where human "cells" can self organize and co-operate to solve really difficult problems. The biggest resistance to this change is engineering and the masses learning how to deal with information flow. Technologies like NodeJS and socket.io are pushing us as a society where everyone can program, perhaps in a simpler language than we know now, perhaps this becomes a design problem rather than a technical one.
Craig Maudlin (clm) Sat 22 Sep 12 09:50
> I see it as a natural system that follows the path of least > resistance. I tend to agree w/ Rouan on this point -- although there's a pretty complex adaptive system wrapped up in the notion of "the path of least resistance." We could say something similar about all of human history, it would seem.
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 22 Sep 12 10:08
I don't assume the walled gardens will disappear. We need contexts for our communications. So while we can always talk directly and gather informally, we still go to bars, clubs, meetings, etc. for connection and conversation. So I suspect Facebook, Twitter, the WELL et al will always serve as platforms for communities of various shapes and sizes.
bill braasch (bbraasch) Sat 22 Sep 12 11:56
Jan Broek is a neighbor of mine in Bolinas. Peter Warshall was in town to visit and had mentioned that his biggest concern had gone from chemo treatments to the possible loss of his WELL email address that keeps him in touch with lifelong friends. I mentioned that a group had formed to buy the WELL (I'm in it) and that it could work out that he would not have to change the address. Jan asked about the WELL and I explained it as a BBS that predates the internet, and has over time become a sort of backroom conversation about the stuff on the larger web. Jan thought a minute and said, 'it's an eddy in the larger stream'. I think it's important that we not lose these eddies, and that the ecosystem supports them. <captward>'s thoughts on JSON and simpler languages, also the abillity to build stuff on the cloud foster these, but the big players and some regimes (China, Iran for example) would like to route around them.
Ted Newcomb (tcn) Sun 23 Sep 12 06:36
From Rouan's comment in <64>..."We're likely to see the "server" move back to the hands of the user and communicate directly with other nodes instead of needing the middleman "walled gardens". Where your information stays in your control." I sure hope so....and it's a good observation about the scalability of tech and a tendency to be caught up in the moment. Right now, cost and the move to mobile drives the industry. But that is going to change. As Jon points out, we'll have both - the cloud isn't going anywhere. This is part of the 'philosophical' bit I mentioned earlier, like the GNU debates between Torvald and Stallman. There's plenty of room for all opinions. Alongside that is his other point about the 'learning curve'. The reason Apple capitalizes on its walled garden is because it works seamlessly across its platform with little knowledge required to use it. Anyone who's played with Linux grasps the LEARNING CURVE in all caps! It's drudgery if all you want to do is point and click, but that will scale as well. All of this to say that David's book needs to be understood within the platforms we use to communicate.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Mon 24 Sep 12 16:02
It was a beautiful wedding. She was gorgeous. He was handsome. Their families and friends rejoiced. All was as it should be. We spent today cleaning up from it. But now I'm back. Thanks for your patience, and good wishes.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Mon 24 Sep 12 16:05
Rouan, from my POV you're expressing a desire more than a trend. I'd like to believe you're right, but it seems to me that the evidence points in the other direction. We are seeing the most rapid growth in closed platforms. We are not (as far as I can see) an uptick in the percentage of the user population that knows how to program. The access providers in the US are doing everything they can to turn us back into passive consumers of content. So, I just don't see the signs of the change we desire. So, please give me some of your anti-depressant! And I mean your outlook and your evidence. (Short of that, I am open to chemical remedies.)
Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Mon 24 Sep 12 20:37
While I'm looking for the bottle of Effexor, here's a followup question: Doc Searls was a recent guest here at Inkwell, talking about Project VRM and the potential to empower consumers. Even if we don't have more users taking control of the tools, actively programming, do you think there could be a VRM-driven trend: tools that will make us less passive as consumers? (For those who missed Doc's talk, VRM is an acro for "vendor relationship management," explained here: http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/projectvrm/Main_Page.)
Via E-Mail From Rouan van der Ende (captward) Tue 25 Sep 12 07:19
Thank you for the great discussion. Craig, I'd like to think that the "complex adaptive system" at play in the path of least resistance is evolving to include those outside our immediate circle of influence. People are increasingly sharing knowledge freely, al be it links or conversations. David, thank you for keeping me on my toes. Yes, it is perhaps more desire than trend. But doesn't desire lead to trends? And I think it IS a trend among the developers of this world who are thinking about the bigger picture. I was surprised to find the book is not available for free online, and I suspect you would have preferred to be able to release it openly? That brings me to the crux of the issue. Currency and how it works, and this is a difficult topic to discuss because we are all so biased in our thinking about money. Perhaps it is enough to say that for the first time in human history it is possible to trade (converse/interact) with any person on the planet in a way that is up to us to decide how the trade happens. It could even be a record that cannot be fiddled with in any way, open to public discourse. See <http://bitcoin.org/> Although I don't think the bitcoin model is the right way of doing it. How would you prefer to trade with a friend or family? I think it's more about logging the transaction in your personal data store, and syncronising it with theirs more than actual transferring of "credit". With a strangers or masses online, it becomes more difficult to shy away from real money. As global economics and politics influence the masses, those with the foresight to see what could happen are not only acting, but feel compelled to act. To the point where it is survival instincts kicking in. More than that, the tools to do this is now in our hands all you have to do is learn how to wield it. So perhaps it is not a trend, but it is a possibility. And that's my source of enthusiasm, at least we have to means to make it a reality, whatever we decide that should be. And a path MANY are following as we speak. <http://nodeup.com/> It is nothing short of magic.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Tue 25 Sep 12 10:04
Jon, RE 71, the growth of tools that empower customers, and especially that empower networks of customers, is one of the biggest business stories of the past couple of decades. I'm excited about the community of developers that has coalesced around the VRM banner.
David Weinberger (dweinberger) Tue 25 Sep 12 10:08
Rouan, I am fully in favor of presenting desires as trends. There's serious political benefits to doing so. (I've written about this here: http://www.hyperorg.com/backissues/joho-feb04-08.html#different) I'm just feeling a wee despondent about the Net's chances these days. The book is not available for free online because I chose to sell those rights to a publisher in exchange for an advance (and a slim possibility of royalties). I made that choice for unexceptional reasons: The advance money was good, and I'm old and thus still am swayed by the prestige of print. (I did not say that these were good reasons.)
bill braasch (bbraasch) Tue 25 Sep 12 10:51
They'd be good enough reasons for me. Back when Xanadu was the mental model there was the idea of micropayments to compensate the value in the exchange of information. who knew the data mining would fund the whole shebang?
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