Complexity and Social Computing
Complexity and Social Computing: "[via Social Synergy Weblog] Matt McAlister asks a great question in his recent blog post. He writes: 'I've mentioned before John Battelle's historical view of the search user interface which I really like. He compares it to command line DOS which was followed by the visually rich Mac OS. The OS GUI created a powerful layer of abstraction on top of the hardware which then created an explosion of activity in personal computing. So the question is, what new layer of abstraction will alter the way we think about information flow and create a similar explosion of activity on the Internet?' Matt references a paper (PDF), written by Steve Burbeck, that compares biology and computing. Matt writes: The Internet has altered our view of the computer as an all-powerful tool through breakthroughs like standard web services (HTTP) and common messaging protocols and formats (TCP/IP and RSS). It looks more like a multicellular organism. (quoted from Burbeck's paper) 'Multicellular organisms thrive because their cells specialize and collaborate in far more complex and information-rich ways t"