Kevin Kelly — The Bottom is Not Enough

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I love Kevin Kelly. He has been one of the most consistently inspiring writers that I know of for decades. In this article he starts to explore the balance of top-down and bottom-up needed to take advantage of the hive mind.

“pure unadulterated dumb mobs is the easiest, perhaps least interesting new space in the entire constellation of possibilities. More potent, more unknown, are the many other combinations of everyone and someone.”

This is great, but it seems to me that we have never seen a pure hive mind. Even the most bottom-up of social systems (say, Google Search) is a combination of top-down algorithms and bottom-up control. As KK says, Wikipedia is far from purely crowd-driven. Not only is there the elite that he highlights, there are also engineered processes and a host of automated systems that help to keep the encyclopaedia more or less on track. But he is right – discovering balances of top-down and bottom-up that work will be one of the most important research challenges from now on. In fact, it has been since the first social systems started to emerge in the 1990s. It is only recently that we have started to notice.
Created:Sat, 16 Feb 2008 04:55:03 GMT

I am a professional learner, employed as a Full Professor and Associate Dean, Learning & Assessment, at Athabasca University, where I research lots of things broadly in the area of learning and technology, and I teach mainly in the School of Computing & Information Systems. I am a proud Canadian, though I was born in the UK. I am married, with two grown-up children, and three growing-up grandchildren. We all live in beautiful Vancouver.

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