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November 18, 2010

[defrag] JP Rangaswami

JP Rangaswami begins by talking about watching Short Circuit in 1986. Robots only have information and energy as inputs. What if we thought about humans as having the same inputs, JP wonders.

NOTE: Live-blogging. Getting things wrong. Missing points. Omitting key information. Introducing artificial choppiness. Over-emphasizing small matters. Paraphrasing badly. Not running a spellpchecker. Mangling other people’s ideas and words. You are warned, people.

Think about cooking as the predigesting of food — making it easier for food to be digested. Cooks prepare food in external stomachs. Our brains evolved because we discovered how to cook. Can we look at information that way?

We talk about info overload, but not food overload. Having too much food isn’t a problem so long as we make sure that people have access to the excess. As JP thought trhough the further analogies between info and food, he realized there were three schools of how to prepare food. 1. The extraction school divides and extracts food, and serves them separately. 2. Another ferments food. You put foods together, and something new occurs. 3. Raw food is like the Maker generation of information: I want to fiddle with it myself, and I need to know that it came without additives.

We can think about what we do with information using these three distinctions. Some of us will work with the raw data. Some of us will prefer that others do that for us. Information should learn from food that it needs a sell-by date. E.g., look at how the media use Twitter. Twitter is a different type of food — more like raw — than you get through the institutional delivery methods.

Should we have an information diet? Would watching a single news outlet be the intellectual equivalent of the Morgan Spurlock “Supersize Me” movie? Maybe information overload is a consumption problem. We need to learn what is good for us, what is poison, what will make us unhealthy…

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June 6, 2010

Democratized curation

JP Rangaswami has an excellent post about the democratizing of curation.

He begins by quoting Eric Schmidt (found at 19:48 in this video):

“…. the statistic that we have been using is between the dawn of civilisation and 2003, five exabytes of information were created. In the last two days, five exabytes of information have been created, and that rate is accelerating. And virtually all of that is what we call user-generated what-have-you. So this is a very, very big new phenomenon.”

He concludes — and I certainly agree — that we need digital curation. He says that digital curation consists of “Authenticity, Veracity, Access, Relevance, Consume-ability, and Produce-ability.” “Consume-ability” means, roughly, that you can play it on any device you want, and “produce-ability” means something like how easy it is to hack it (in the good O’Reilly sense).

JP seems to be thinking primarily of knowledge objects, since authenticity and veracity are high on his list of needs, and for that I think it’s a good list. But suppose we were to think about this not in terms of curation — which implies (against JP’s meaning, I think) a binary acceptance-rejection that builds a persistent collection — and instead view it as digital recommendations? In that case, for non-knowledge-objects, other terms will come to the fore, including amusement value, re-playability, and wiseacre-itude. In fact, people recommend things for every reason we humans may like something, not to mention the way we’s socially defined in part by what we recommend. (You are what you recommend.)

Anyway, JP is always a thought-provoking writer…

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