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Monday, December 19, 2005
Chris Anderson writes that systems like Wikipedia, Google & Blogs operate on the logic of probabilistic statistics, which sacrifices perfection at the microscale for optimization at the macroscale. This age, we're depending more and more on systems where nobody's in charge; & as chris sees it the intelligence is simply emergent. Wikipedia may not be more "authoritative" than Brittanica. Britannica's biggest errors are of omission, not commission. It's shallow in some categories and out of date in many others. And then there are the millions of entries that it simply doesn't and can't, given its editorial process-have. But Wikipedia can scale to include those and many more. Today Wikipedia offers 860,000 articles in English - compared with Britannica's 80,000 and Encarta's 4,500. Tomorrow the gap will be far larger. The good thing about probabilistic systems is that they benefit from the wisdom of the crowd and as a result can scale nicely both in breadth and depth. They do this by sacrificing absolute certainty on the microscale, any single result ought to be crosschecked for veracity.The same is true for blogs, no single one of which is authoritative. But collectively they are proving more more than an equal to mainstream media. Likewise for Google, which is arguably the first company to be born with the alien intelligence of the Web's large-N statistics hard-wired into its DNA. That's why it's so successful, and so seemingly unstoppable.These probabilistic systems aren't perfect, but they are statistically optimized to excel over time and large numbers. They're designed to scale, and to improve with size. Both market economics and evolution are also probabilistic systems. The fact that a few smart humans figured this out and used that insight to build the foundations of our modern economy, from the stock market to Google, is just evidence that our mental software has evolved faster than our hardware. My left brain tells me to accept this perspective from chris as proper - but..A nice article worth reading and discussing.
Category :Probabilistic Age, Emerging Trends. |
|Sadagopan's Weblog on Emerging Technologies, Trends,Thoughts, Ideas & Cyberworld