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On Jun 12, 2004, at 1:10 PM, Danny Ayers wrote:
> The W3C's motto is "Leading the Web to its Full Potential". Ok, so
> assume the detractors are right - drop the Semantic Web vision (it's a
> pipe dream) and technologies (we have RDBMSs and pointy-brackets
> already). It goes without saying that you can drop the "Leading" (way
> too self-important) and "Full Potential" (outrageously optimistic).
> But then where does the web go from here?
I heard something last weekend
transcripts_060404_google.html that I keep thinking about in this
context. (It's an interview with James Surowiecki, the author of "The
Wisdom of Crowds.)
"BOB GARFIELD: When the people in-- on Wall Street discuss this
phenomenon, they say that the "tape knows." The aggregate of all the
information by all the people buying and selling is greater than that
of the greatest experts on the market. And I guess that's true, but
there's a difference between a crowd and a mob.
JAMES SUROWIECKI: Yes.
BOB GARFIELD: The bubbles and the crashes in the Stock Market are the
work of a mob. Out of control lynchings are the work of a mob. ...
JAMES SUROWIECKI: ... what distinguishes a crowd or a group from a
mob is that mobs are sort of single-minded, and that instead of people
thinking for themselves, they're all moving in the same direction."
I think the Web should be led by the "crowd" of people with problems
looking for solutions and solutions looking for problems, and not by a
"mob" of people led by Gates, Berners-Lee, or anyone else. Right now
the Web doesn't need to be led anywhere. That's not to say that it's
just fine as it is, but to suggest that the people in Redmond,
Cambridge, and elsewhere should be listening for what the real problems
are, and proposing experimental and tentative solutions, rather than
universal platforms or standards that they want to lead people towards.