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Isn't it amazing how many pieces of ourselves we leave scattered on the web, like photos or items from our wallet scattered along a winding street? Emails are sent and saved, blogs composed and posted, electronic searches, chats, credit card charges, and other transactions happen daily. We can forget the web is not only vast in size and scale, but equally vast in the dimension of time. I have left many moments of myself on this web since its start, though (fortunately) some pieces have been lost to the ether.
Yet what isn't here on the web now because it has been forgotten, still can be found in one of the Internet archives. What was a newly-born and confused web then in the past, contributes to a more complex web now. We access a web entangled both in terms of its present, prolific growth and in terms of its changing linkages to new data and information (as forward, time marches). We access distinct websites for information because right now the web isn't alive; information complexity adds to intra- and inter-organizational tensions, 'silos', and disconnects.
The web we access isn't self-organizing. Instead, it exists is a wonderful example as to how the processes of creation can quickly become cluttered and entropic. Yet life does find form and does organize itself, both in terms of lifestages associated with an individual lifeform and in terms of initiative variations and natural selection within the legacy of a species. Perhaps to be self-organizing is to be alive? So too, for the web, there are iterative causalities (i.e., links) to its data, information, and knowledge. This gives hope that one day the web too will become capable of self-organizing itself without human intervention. Would it then not become alive? The web we access (and are a social part of) is already nearly genetic in its programmed code, memetic in its exchanges, but as a whole not yet part of a larger, living system. It cannot self-organize itself into a wholly new, more beneficial form independently -- yet.
Moving forward, linked data, information, and knowledge, embodied by the web, will need to know what it is and be able to learn more about what it is both internally and externally in relation to other data and information elements, through interaction with other elements. This is how we, as humans, live and learn as individuals (and as societies) through iterative, interactive experiences. Current information systems are limited, as they cannot rapidly adapt to turbulent situations or new environments. To organize itself more efficiently, the web we access will need to be self-organizing and self-improving (i.e., alive).
- originally written in 2007
I work to seek and learn truth, to link human and technology endeavors to beneficial outcomes.
Anecdotally, right now we (humans) try to make sense of all the information on the web. We try to write algorithms to probe, expend some energy, and attempt bring some order to the mess we have made. This is inefficient. The amount, and complexity, of the information out there is growing at an exponential rate. The human brain, even if aided by technology, cannot assimilate this proliferation of increased bandwidth and available sources of bandwidth. Moreover, human bureaucracy isn't built to move fast. That is intrinsic to its nature as you don't want the IRS to suddenly change overnight and raise taxes by 20%; rather, human bureaucracies often are intended to be constant and slow to change. But with more and more data and information streams, how can we expect human systems and/or bureaucracy to respond to the changing world dynamics and pressures? We cannot, nor can bureaucracy, like a battleship trying to do a tight turn around, do this alone.
Information will need to be able to self-organize itself; become more than code and venture on the border of being alive. This will require data to possess awareness as to what the data are contextually, and (in turn) by interacting with other cells of information, require data to form self-organized relations with other data cells. As these relations form, some informatics relationships will die, others will grow strong, which will result in a type of natural selection regarding the information delivered to us. Once given the ability to be aware, however, data and information will quickly find better ways to organize and select themselves, far beyond our own limited abilities to organize the webntropy.
- originally written in 2005
My work at Emory, the University of Oxford, MIT, and Harvard explores knowledge technology strategies that promote collaboration among government, the private sector, academia, and NGOs -- to share relevant knowledge for successful inter-agency collaborations. Such knowledge ecosystems can assist with the identification of potential geopolitical concerns and support appropriate response if necessary (e.g., law enforcement for terrorists or drug cartels, U.N. aid for refugees, or public health for infectious diseases).
The CIA's Global Trends 2015 report predicts governments will have less control over flows of information, technology, diseases, migrants, arms, and financial transactions across their borders. The ability and agility to form partnerships to exploit increased information flows increasingly depends on effective governance. I believe all of this can be performed while preserving the freedom of privacy that is a core tenet of a free democracy. Public key encryption can allow collected data to be de-identified and kept anonymous, unless probable cause is found as to illicit activity.
- originally written in 2008
indian summer comes quite unexpected, like a delicious golden sentence, crisp plucked but unspoken like a line of music that captures you suddenly, quickly as if your soul knew the song but had forgotten all of this is an invitation to see what lies hidden behind autumn's mystified persona and perhaps what is held in those eyes
- originally written in 1996