The creativity machine
Harnessing the web 2.0 collective intelligence
“We humans have built a creativity machine. It’s the sum of three things: a
few hundred million computers, a communication system connecting
those computers, and some millions of human beings using those
computers and communications”.
Present-day Internet::Computers + networks + people: Web 2.0
As Tim Berners-Lee pointed out, many of the technology components
of quot;Web 2.0quot; have existed since the early days of the Web.
The “2.0-ness” is not something new, but rather a fuller realization
of the true potential of the web platform.
“Web 2.0 is an idea in people’s heads rather than a reality”.
The architecture of participation:
.The architecture of the Internet, and the WWW, as well as of Open
Source software projects like Linux, Apache, and Perl, is such that
users pursuing their own ‘selfish’ interests build collective
value as an automatic byproduct.
Key principle: Users add value
Web 2.0 systems get better the more people use
them. Successful services act primarily as intelligent
brokers, connecting the edges to each other and
harnessing the power of the users themselves.
Network effects by default:
Web 2.0 companies set inclusive defaults for aggregating user data and
building value as a side effect of ordinary use of the application.
Harnessing collective intelligence:
Turning the web into a kind of global brain.
Hyperlinking is the foundation of the web. Much as
synapses form in the brain with associations becoming
stronger through repetition or intensity, the web of
connections grows organically as an output of
collective activity of all web users.
Much of the infrastructure of the web (Linux, Apache, MySQL, Perl, PHP,
Python) relies on the peer-production methods of open source, in
themselves an instance of collective, net-enabled intelligence. Anyone
can add a project, anyone can download and use the code...
Folksonomy (in contrast to taxonomy):
Collaborative categorization of sites using freely chosen keywords (tags).
Tagging allows for multiple overlapping associations that the brain itself
uses, rather than rigid categories (Del.icio.us, Flickr)
Blogging and “the wisdom of crowds”
Blogosphere: RSS + permalink + trackbacks
You can subscribe to You can easily link to individual You can see when anyone else links
each others sites comments on a page to your pages, and can respond
Blogosphere is the equivalent of constant mental
chatter in the forebrain, the voice we hear in all of
our heads. It is a reflection of conscious thought and
Like Wikipedia, blogging harnesses collective intelligence as a kind of
filter. The collective attention of the blogosphere selects for value.
Design for hackability and remixability
Systems like the original web, RSS and AJAX have this in common:
The barriers to re-use are extremely low.
The most successful web services are those
that have been easiest to take in new directions
unimagined by their creators.
Innovation in assembly:
When commodity components are abundant you can create value
simply by assembling them in novel or effective ways.
...The same map nowadays
Web 2.0 meme map in 2005...
Recommendations propagating directly from one user to another.
*The greatest Internet success stories don’t advertise their products.
Virtual worlds (metaverses):
They provide a range of software tools that gives
participants the power to create artefacts. Thus the
game depends on the skill and creativity of its
participants to generate content.
Virtual worlds + web maps
The explosion of social networks
Opportunities for development
the already seen
How Much Information Is Out There?
– World Information Content
• More than 15 Billion Web Pages by Yotta
end of 2002
Annual Growth ∼100% Zetta
• World information content storaged Internet
in analog and digital forms, MultiMedia
estimated by end of Year 2002, in
the order of several Exabytes (15-
– Paper – Film –Optical –
Magnetic Storage A Movie
• Up 2 Exabytes were produced in
Year 1999, and 2.8 Exabytes are
estimated for Year 2000
• About 5 Exabytes were produced in A Book
Annual Growth ∼ 30%
Source: Sims University of California at Berkeley, November 2003
Calculations per Second, 1900-2100
Calculations per Second
All Human Brains
Exa One Human Brain
One Mouse Brain
One Insect Brain
1900 1920 1940 1960 1980 2000 2020 2040 2060 2080 2100
Time Source: R. Kurzweil, 1999
...The Internet will have leaked out, to become coincident with Earth.
In the end, computers plus networks plus people add up to something
significantly greater than the parts.
The ensemble eventually grows beyond human creativity.
To become what? The answer will be limited only by our imaginations.