January 8, 2012hkcommunity, cross media, discourse, gaming, social art, social impact, social media, storytelling, transmediaNo Comments
The center of all connections is the Human Being

Are we simple individuals who meet and connect only because it is useful for survival and reproduction? Or is there more about our social behaviour which especially emerges when we act and think as a group or “hive”?

Pierre Lévy, professor at the Department of Communications at the University of Ottawa is proposing an “universe of discourse” – a language of languages to understand what humans share…leading to something “looking like massive multiplayer online / real life games, or some sort of trans-platform smart social media”? ;-)

So, essentially his argument seems to be that if we help computers to understand (digest, work with, read, manipulate) the meaning of our discourses online, they will help us to understand the meaning of our discourses. A collective intelligence needs an intelligent collector to sort out what is being communicated in an intelligent way (quality?!) and what is not. I agree, any referential computational system cannot be neutral, but may be useful for aggregating human “mindwork” on specific topics and themes. But this is different from an approach like the gamification of real life, the coming HiveMind project of the renowned creator of The Sims, Will Wright. People and their interests (huh, close to the concept of interesting interests accumulating in bank accounts) get aggregated through gadets, real world action and fun. I reckon, “the world” is more heading into that direction than a knowledge engineering attempt to form expert systems helping us being experts like in the AI research of the 70ies & 80ies.

Masters of Media – Collective Intelligence, an Interview with Pierre Levy

Here is additionally a video interview (dubbed in Portugese) where he talks about collective education.

Fortunately, the majority of people providing a sustainable diversity of opinions and perspectives for young people are not professors or researchers writing novels, tools for education, books for children in their spare time. And, let´s be honest, aren´t they only able and willing to contribute their time, fantasy and effort to the world for free, because they already get paid by universities? I even doubt that – getting well paid for education and research is a myth. It´s a nice thought but highly “unrealistic” in times of education budget cutbacks – but then unicorns do exist… ;-) The most popular children´s stories are growing into media empires nowadays like the Harry Potter – an universe with books, games, myriads of fan contributions (check out the socially highly charitable Harry Potter Alliance founded by Andrew Slack) and an online portal conceived by the author herself like “Every literature that is not for fun but just for the education should be free.” True and in need of more support where publishers all over the world who are capitalising on scarce access to scientific material (journals, proceedings, etc.) slow down that process. But this seems to rule out approaches which are fun AND educative – which is eventually where education is heading fuelled by a majority of kids who grow up demanding specifically this…

I think, without fun and valuable content (however subjective that might be) you are gonna be doomed in the new world…

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