O’Reilly Commencement and 2.0 Dangers

Tim O’Reilly gave a commencement speach at the UC Berkeley School of Information, covering mostly Web 2.0 and what it’s bringing us towards. His view of 2.0 is still the most inline with what I think;

A true Web 2.0 application is one that gets better the more people use it. Google gets smarter every time someone makes a link on the web. Google gets smarter every time someone makes a search. It gets smarter every time someone clicks on an ad. And it immediately acts on that information to improve the experience for everyone else… It’s for this reason that I argue that the real heart of Web 2.0 is harnessing collective intelligence.

And “harnessing” is of course done through read/write, being able to participate easily, not only accessing information but also adding to it. Too often, especially lately, all the talk of 2.0 centers on technology tricks like Ajax and not enough on what those things are used to build. Web 2.0 is the new way we participate in the network and the resulting value, not the gadgets we use to get VC money.

What’s also interesting is that he then presents some of the dangers that folks like Karl have been warning us about. (Although I hate Karl’s use of the term slavery in that context, I think it’s insulting to actual slaves and sweat shop workers to even consider that term. Even taking into account his “trolling” tendencies in his choice of words.)

First, privacy. Collective intelligence requires the storage of enormous amounts of data. And while this data can be used to deliver innovative applications, it can also be used to invade our privacy. The recent news disclosures about phone records being turned over to the NSA is one example. Yahoo’s recent disclosure of the identity of a Chinese dissident to Chinese authorities is another.

Second, concentration of power. While it’s easy to see the user empowerment and democratization implicit in web 2.0, it’s also easy to overlook the enormous power that is being accrued by those who’ve successfully become the repository for our collective intelligence. Who owns that data? Is it ours, or does it belong to the vendor?

I still haven’t seen any good solutions to those issues, Karl opted out of Flickr, anyone offering other solutions? Open Source installation/ services on top of Open Source software to build a co-op version of Flickr? Of del.icio.us?


karl May 15, 2006

See why I have used Esclavage in this comment

I’m not sure how to convince you that I very rarely troll, or most of the time when I do, I announce it. You might not like my choices of words, that is perfectly normal, but I never choose my words for the pleasure of annoying someone else.

Patrick May 15, 2006

Not to annoye, just to be a bit “provocateur” ;).

François May 16, 2006

Je ne suis pas inquiet qu’on pourrait construire un équivalent Open Source à Flickr, par contre on frapperait un mur rapidement avec le coût exhorbitant de la bande passante équivalente à celle de Flickr…. Wikipedia a du mal a y arriver…

karl May 16, 2006

François, oui en effet et bien parce-que tous ces systèmes reposent sur la centralisation et en rien sur la valeur de la communauté, du réseau social.

Un vrai logiciel de réseau social ? Le mail par exemple.
Le P2P en est un autre.

Un Flickr Open Source P2P est une solution avec une possibilité d’héberger sur un service si on a pas la capacité de le faire soit même, tout comme le mail.

Patrick May 18, 2006

Mais dans ce cas là, comment est-ce que l’aspect communauté et hasard fonctionne? Question de “buddies” je suppose que chacun a un fil (RSS ou autre) et que notre “Flickr P2P” nous tiens à jour des nouveautés sur les Flickr des amis mais de quelle façon on procède pour les images d’un peu partout, pour l’aggrégation des groupes et pools? C’est pratique le email pour communiquer avec des amis mais on ne peut pas tomber par hasard sur une conversation intéressante alors que c’est possible sur un service comme Flickr ou même del.ico.us.

Comments closed