Re: [unrev-II] about synergy

From: univers immedia (
Date: Sat Feb 03 2001 - 01:58:53 PST

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    I want to prove somehow you are wrong, and that we have to escape the
    darwinian paradigm. Anyway if we stick to that paradigm, we'll hit the wall
    pretty soon. So we have to build that global collective intelligence we are
    dreaming of. We have no choice. I really believe we are in an emergency, so
    we have to examine carefully those nearly impossible solutions.

    Individual cells, sometime very far away in the past, have escaped the
    darwinian laws and built organisms and living brains.
    If human beings can't achieve what their far monocellular ancestors did
    achieve a billion years ago, well, tell me about evolution :)

    If we have to achieve collective intelligence, we have to build synapses.
    In the human brain, neurons are about 100,000,000,000.
    And synapses number is 10,000 times that figure, if I remember well.
    We - people - are the neurons of the global brain. Well, we are far from
    the above figures, but let's start with what we have ...
    We use the Web to connect people, basically. Of course, it is computers
    that are physically connected and exchange information. But intelligence is
    in people, so let's consider how people are and can be connected, that is
    what sort of synapses we have at hand or are able to build. Maybe forums
    like this one are some sort of loose synapses, but really too loose.
    Getting to that forum's archives, it's quite difficult to know who is
    linked to who.

    So let's imagine a very simple way to build synapses, without to begin with
    no more than plain vanilla HTML pages, and maybe add - I'll need someone
    help there - some RDF stuff in them.
    Let's build a template page in a Topic Map spirit, that is : the subject of
    one of these pages is one person - me :)
    Let's say that page have a definite look and template, with a logo and tag
    line, like "this is another Semantic Synergy Alliance page" - whatever.
    This page is anywhere on the Web, on my website, if I got one. I try to
    give it an URL which will make sense for some query system, such as (if that URL points to
    something right now, I'm John Lennon)

    What will I put on that page ?

    The nice logo and above tagline.
    - A (short) description of my whereabouts, and why I am in this process.
    - Keywords for my interest and/or working fields.
    - Chosen links to whatever relevant resources I care of, am involved in,
    or find somehow connected to my (intelligent) activity
    (that's occurrences of the subject, for those knowing the TM terminology)
    - AND : most important : links to similar pages of people I'm connected
     those are the synapses (or associations in the TM terminology)
    - AND : a link to a place anyone can pick a zip package of the template
    and whatever stuff needed to make one, so whoever finding such a page and
    wanting to put a similar one on its site can do so and join the game.

    That's the decentralized part. It can grow from everywhere.
    When creating a new page, just do one thing :
    E-mail to the people you have made a link to, so they can add a back link
    in their own page.
    That can already be a great tool if thousands of people play the game and
    take care and update their page.
    In fact, it may grow to a point that any webring structure looks like a
    prehistoric concept in comparizon ...

    Now suppose there is an address where you can send the news you've created
    such a page, and it will be added as a Topic in a growing Topic Map,
    associated with the existing pages you are connected to, and maybe to other
    Topics like the keywords you've put on your page, the projects you're
    involved in etc ...

    Is it too simple to really work ? May be ... How many people will I find on
    this list to follow that track if I propose such a template on my Web ?
    Just say a word and I start it right away :)



    Bernard Vatant
    "Building Knowledge"

    ----- Message d'origine -----
    De : Eric Armstrong <>
    À : <>
    Envoyé : samedi 3 février 2001 02:31
    Objet : Re: [unrev-II] about synergy

    > Bernard Vatant wrote:
    > >
    > > ...In many places, a great deal of time and energy is
    > > invested to collect and update links, and all these efforts IMO could
    > > be more effective at a lower time/energy cost if somehow coordinated.
    > > The problem is : many of these projects and tools exactly aim to this
    > > very same role of coordination, and when there are many diverse
    > > attempts at coordination, so... there is no coordination at all ...
    > >
    > Yep. Great observation!
    > That about sums it up, I think.
    > The goal of serious knowledge sharing and reuse of intellectual
    > energy is about exactly that -- achieving synergy. Of course,
    > given that is a lack of mechanisms that allow sharing and reuse
    > which motivates the desire to solve the problem, it is inevitable
    > that there are multiple disparate solution attempts.
    > Rather than "ironic", I tend to see the situation as "natural".
    > The difficulty of remote collaboration when people *agree* on
    > goals is such that it is only barely possible at this juncture.
    > To attempt collaboration (and synergy) of related efforts (but
    > not identical efforts) is just so extradorinaly difficult as to
    > be effectively impossible. (Even if you and I are building the
    > exact same tool that works in exactly the same way, chances
    > are that different pieces won't mesh, if only because we've used
    > different names!)
    > At some point, true "template" programming may become a reality.
    > It should then be possible to dovetail work that is isomorphic
    > at its heart. Until then, I'm afraid the Darwinian approach
    > where different groups propose different solutions, and one
    > becomes the winner, is the best we can hope for.
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