Friday, January 27, 2006

James Surowiecki on Open Content

James Surowiecki, author of The Wisdom of Crowds, has been talking at the Intelligent Television conference about the value of open content. Mary Hodder made notes

"1. Openness bridges all of these mechanisms: open source, p2p, shared work.
2. Intelligence is distributed rather than centralized: the knowledge is spread out in many locations
3. Bottom up works better than command and control mechanisms
-- people are better at understanding their own needs than the top
4. We are better off casting wide rather than narrow
-- don't know where the info is much of the time
5. Open access to creativity, knowledge -- benefits are greater the more people are involved
-- when people learn more, we learn more.. it's anti-rivalrous
6. Be very hesitant to filter who belongs to community
-- don't keep people out
7. People act better the more info they have

8. The internet allows us to become technically able to do so much more
-- distributed info and aggregation are so much more powerful
-- possibilities are immense

9. Different ways to tap into open systems
--obviously people using open systems to make money
-- Innocentive.. people go to register as a 'solver' where 10. You then get access to a problem set
----- if you solve a problem, you get a prize, but he company owns your solution

11. Systems that allow people to give ideas and innovation a piece at a time are interesting, because lots of people contribute. Prediction markets and prices work this way.

12. Can profit from an open content system.. leave everything open and free and then make money from talking about this stuff..

13. People find pleasure from the value of competition
-- from contributing to the growth of the pool of knowledge

14. Many of these systems are inefficient, because in a strict sense, they are redundant..
but the point is that even though this is the case, if we expand our ideas of efficiency, it's tremendously efficient.

15. What are the challenges to these systems?

-- problem with model in that a network or self organized model, it's difficult for individuals to contribute due to echo chamber ants .. work in ways where they do just what the ant is doing ahead of them.. if they start walking in a circle.. they actually die.. worry that if humans imitate others.. we will degrade because nothing new happens.. group loses collective intelligence.. drawing knowledge from just a few
-- challenge is to keep the ties in the networks loose.. and open and flowing

-- profound counter to our most deep seated ideas around authority, knowledge and expertise -- people have a fundamental desire to pick "the expert"
-- traditional need to develop a product, and then show it after it's out.. instead of working with people all along..
-- traditional needs to develop IP are challenged

16. Arthur Miller in the Harvard Law Review just wrote an article saying that what we need now is 'common law' for ideas.

17. Tom Bergeron -- host of dancing with the stars on why people like this.. because it is about
"wholeheartedly uniting our skills is the basis for all human interaction"

18. Collective systems may work better when there is an answer people think they can find, verses when a lead user or expert may be better at finding the right thing.

19.. Our imagining of the 'genius' is the failure to see that works of art are actually based on others ideas ... works of art always borrow from other works of art."

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