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inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #51 of 85: 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...
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #52 of 85: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #53 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #54 of 85: 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?
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #55 of 85: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #56 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #57 of 85: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #58 of 85: 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 :)
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #59 of 85: Ted Newcomb (tcn) Fri 21 Sep 12 18:56
    
Best to you and yours, enjoy the family time.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #60 of 85: (fom) Fri 21 Sep 12 19:16
    
#53 makes a good point.

dweinberger, congrats on the wedding, and have fun!
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #61 of 85: Craig Maudlin (clm) Sat 22 Sep 12 06:11
    
yes, enjoy!
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #62 of 85: Jon Lebkowsky (jonl) Sat 22 Sep 12 06:22
    
Have a great wedding Sunday! We'll pick this up again Monday.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #63 of 85: 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!
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #64 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #65 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #66 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #67 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #68 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #69 of 85: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #70 of 85: 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.)
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #71 of 85: 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.)
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #72 of 85: 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.
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #73 of 85: 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. 
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #74 of 85: 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.)
  
inkwell.vue.455 : David Weinberger - Too Big to Know
permalink #75 of 85: 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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