Fridays in IBM is Think Friday, we all tend to get a bit of space to consider whats going on in the world, deal with new things and absorb the idea that we can create innovation that matters.
I am an aspiring futuroligist/futurist, so here goes some thoughts from my Think Friday.
The BBC News at 10, and the earlier Radio 1 News went all mashup/web 2.0 crazy the other day. The reason was Gawker Stalker. This is a googlemap application (not so much a mashup really) that takes sightings of celebs sent into gawker by the general population. There are obviously ethical concerns and that was the spin on the story.
What is interesting to me though is that ‘open source thinking’ in this. It is about using people as the sensors for the system, not cctv, not GPS tracking attached to a celebrity. It is quite lo-tech, but enables a hi-tech surveillance. People offer their information for the benefit of a wider group, then using the ‘web service’ provided by google, what once would have been a complicated GIS system is unleashed on a web browser.
This has lots of attributes that illustrate the power of the network and the ability for people to be an integral part of it. It has an emergent organization feel too it aswell, and it is massively distributed. The people who spot the celebs are actually adding their brain power in visualization and pattern recognition to a wide network of sensors that relies on ‘luck’ and being luckier because of the scale of the human network.
Odd to consider it in those terms given the news item was clearly showing that the consumers of this service were a bit geeky and star struck.
Amazon Mechanical Turk is a prime example of using human wetware as part of a grid style application. It relies on that open source thinking model where people are willing to share their information. In this case though, amazon are trying to make it a commodity.
Is this really services 2.0, using the mass network we have, the pervasive device and expanding bandwidth to patch people into the parts of a service that computers just cant cope with. Is my brain the new transistor? What are the implications of our integration into a services orientated architecture?
Ian Hughes(Consulting IT Specialist/Futurologist)