Friday, June 17, 2005

When Politics Is Driven From The Bottom Up

As information technology evolves, new ways of spreading information spontaneously emerge.

Inevitably, "mass media" becomes decentralized meaning our news about things we are interested in increasingly comes from the people we are connected to. Centralized media, in order to survive, will need to serve that end.

Email, web, texting, messaging, phone, fax, autoresponders, phone cams ... Evolving according to their utility (how useful they are) and how they reduce transaction costs (how much simpler, cheaper, more effective they are), existing technologies become the technology base from which new technologies emerge, in an ever widening spiral of growth.

Overheard On A Streetcorner: "Something Me" by Cameron Marlow

"While walking home from work the other day I passed a group of guys emerging from a pizza joint. After a few handshakes and goodbyes they parted ways and made arrangements for their next meeting. And then one of them yelled across the street, "something me on Thursday." His friend looked a little confused, but I knew exactly what he was talking about. He added, "IM, call, email... I don't care."

So as new adopted communications technologies become as saturated as Email, we can expect grass roots political force to grow.

What interests me is the potential untapped power of the connected masses. The computational power of all connected home desktops in North America is far greater than the most powerful supercomputer. Even Google, which has an estimated computational capacity surpassing the most powerful supercomputer and approaching that of the human brain.

Estimates are that
the Human brain computes somewhere between 100 TERAflops and 1000 Teraflops
and Google performs somwhere between 100 and 300 teraflops.

P.S. Since doing that bit of research, every time Google checks my spelling and responds with "did you mean..." the hair stands on the back of my neck :)

Another example:
I don't know how current the Seti@home FAQ is, but they claim 15 TeraFLOPs at a cost of $500K and they are comparing it with IBM's ASCI White, rated at 12 TeraFLOPS with a cost of $110 million.

This potential computational power foreshadows the coming networked intelligence of the masses.

The economics of distributed communications technologies increase exponentially as more nodes are added to the network. As smart mobs become smart masses, political weight tilts faster and faster towards an irrevocable tipping point at which politics will be driven from the bottom up.

I see the day when the politics of local communities reflect the conscience of local mothers, the needs of children and all the things a community really wants in order to thrive and grow functionally.

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Our Emerging Global Nervous System

We're accelerating towards a global computing grid which will tap unimaginable power from hundreds of thousands of computers, as powerful as a brain. The collective intelligence which emerges will rival our present fantasies of Artificial Intelligence

As we modelled the eye to build cameras, the brain to build computers, the ear to build speakers, we're modeling our autonomic nervous system to build the next evolutionary step in computing. Networks that independently and reflexively self -regulate, configure, repair, optimize, and protect in the same sense as an immune system or an automatic pilot.

This would allow the network to automatically manage server load balancing, process allocation, monitor the power supply, automatic update software and fend off threats without having to consult the administrator.

For example, if an application starts performing badly, it automatically receives increased resources. If software or hardware fails, it doesn't even ripple the end users coffee. An autonomous computing system would roll out new patches, monitor and adjust the resources singular end users need, set up servers... all the mundane stuff.

The complexity of integrating and managing the latest hardware and software into existing systems is destroying the advantages of economies of scale. Autonomic computing is one way of insulating the IT administrator from the mundane complexities and freeing them to do other more interesting things like understanding the needs of the business more, or modelling and automating existing business processes.

On a larger scale, it spells an evolutionary move towards a decentralized global self-configuring, self-healing, self-optimizing, and self-protecting nervous system. Since Autonomic Computing can look for patterns in data and extrapolate to predict future events, deployed on a global scale, the spin-offs will be very interesting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Blogs Are Here To Stay And The Impact Will Deepen

From a discussion on Slashdot here entitled: "The Rise and Fall of Blogs". The main question wondered: "Have Blogs reached a saturation point?"

Web Page 2.0

Blogs are simply the evolution of the personal Web page. They made publishing online easier for everyone because you don't need to know HTML. Just type your thoughts into a form, and the software builds the code automatically. No Webmaster bottleneck. Blogs have become such a phenomena because they dramatically reduce the "friction" to publishing online.

The Millions of HTMLess can now have their say. And the sheer number of Bloggers means the brilliant, funny and fabulous poke through the slime.

They're here to stay like anything else that works better. I just hope we pitch the name soon. Can't stand saying it.