The Web 2.0 We Weave

Neat video by Michael Wesch, Assistant Professor of Cultural Anthropology, Kansas State University.

The video presents a broad overview of the difference between 10+ years ago on the web and the social web of today (“Web 2.0”) — focusing on how HTML was used for defining structure and stylistic characteristics (“form”), whereas XML has separated form and content, facilitating data exchange for all kinds of mash-ups.

We’re seeing today with the “widgetizing” of the web that all kinds of content is being made available to be plugged-in to webpages — allowing for wider distribution of content.

Michael’s video asks the question of who will organize all this data — and tells us that we will. He brings to light that with every link we click and webpage we visit — we are teaching the machine.

It makes me think of the movie “I, Robot” or “The Matrix” — humans not working for “the man,” but rather working for “the machine.” In the movie “I, Robot,” robots eventually start learning how to feel, react, and eventually take us over.

I don’t know the current status of artificial intelligence (AI), but I do know that there are over 2mm blogs created every month — most of which are people spewing about life in a wide-open journal format. Eventually, I would think AI will be able to sift through all this information and methodically sort it, understand it, learn from it, and possess their own thoughts and feelings — possibly even take us over!

I’m sure there’s data to back me up on this, but today compared to 10 years ago — people are way more comfortable with the Internet and have less privacy concerns. Or at least the younger generations that have grown up with the Internet aren’t as concerned with privacy — and spew what’s on their mind to the entire world via the web.

Maybe someone will be smart enough to learn / organize people’s thoughts / ideas / feelings and search will revolutionize from the poor “search results” experience we are complacent with (and have come to expect) — and instead we will each be empowered with the exact answers / information we are seeking at any given moment (using the collective information mass on the web).

Editor’s Note: This post was written by guest contributor Steve Poland, whose blog Techquila Shots brainstorms web start-up ideas.