Mary Branscombe (marypcb) wrote,
Mary Branscombe

Many eyeballs are collectivist eyeballs

karentraviss links to a fascinating essay by Jaron Lanier (who I remember tanais interviewing, back in the day) about the problems with collectivism, including its new and shiny online face (wikis). It rewakes my continuing fear that one thing I value highly (the Internet) helped degrade another thing I value highly (an independant press that informed rather than entertained) and expresses very well my worry about open source (many eyeballs are shallow eyeballs; benevolent dictators make commercial successes). And then there's this:
"Google's vast servers and the Wikipedia are both mentioned frequently as being
the startup memory for Artificial Intelligences to come. Larry Page is quoted
via a link presented to me by popurls this morning (who knows if it's accurate)
as speculating that an AI might appear within Google within a few years. George
Dyson has wondered if such an entity already exists on the Net, perhaps perched
within Google. My point here is not to argue about the existence of Metaphysical
entities, but just to emphasize how premature and dangerous it is to lower the
expectations we hold for individual human intellects."
Or intellect in general. Bite-sized chunks of pre-digested information are not the way anything could learn to reason whislt developing the tools to do the reasoning from scratch. My old favourite the CYC project has spent I don't want to think how long developing an ontology; the semantic Web is no nearer than it was. All the wisdom in the world is not going to magically show up on a computer screen. Doesn't mean this Interweb thing isn't a marvellous resource, but let's not pretend it solves all the problems of human nature.
Tags: collectivism, cyc, jaron lanier, technology, wiki

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