Gaia is the word for "unity-of-life-processes". The experiment here is to unify the various threads of voice and sense of self together into an undivided unity. Spirituality, economics, politics, science and ordinary life interleaved.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Techno-zeal or emergent innovation? You decide:

The raconteurial Howard Rheingold is speaking here in the linked interview, 'Technology For A New Economic System':

Google is based on the emergent choices of people who link. Nobody is really thinking, "I'm now contributing to Google's page rank." What they're thinking is, "This link is something my readers would really be interested in." They're making an individual judgment that, in the aggregate, turns out to be a pretty good indicator of what's the best source.

"Then there's open source [software]. Steve Weber, a political economist at UC Berkeley, sees open source as an economic means of production that turns the free-rider problem to its advantage. All the people who use the resource but don't contribute to it just build up a larger user base. And if a very tiny percentage of them do anything at all -- like report a bug -- then those free riders suddenly become an asset.

"And maybe this isn't just in software production. There's [the idea of] "open spectrum," coined by [Yale law professor] Yochai Benkler. The dogma is that the two major means of organizing for economic production are the market and the firm. But Benkler uses open source as an example of peer-to-peer production, which he thinks may be pointing toward a third means of organizing for production.

"Then you look at Amazon (AMZN) and its recommendation system, getting users to provide free reviews, users sharing choices with their friends, users who make lists of products. They get a lot of free advice that turns out to be very useful in the aggregate. There's also Wikipedia [the online encyclopedia written by volunteers]. It has 500,000 articles in 50 languages at virtually no cost, vs. Encyclopedia Britannica spending millions of dollars and they have 50,000 articles."

This all points towards not survival of the fittest, but survival of the most integrous, most excellent, most servant-oriented, and most altruistic. This is Abraham's Blessing writ large!


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