Here I want to talk a little bit about Web Brain, which will lead the next generation of WWW.
Internet and WWW is all about global participation and cooperation. It provides a mechanism for people around the world to participate, and then CS works behind the scene to leverage the participation into global cooperation. In web1.0, the mechanism of participation is linking. Google leveraged this participation into global cooperation and build a top search engine. In web2.0, the mechanism of participation is tagging. (Of course, if I can elaborate, we can discuss how to look at various web2.0 features as new ways of participation.) Of course, there are a lot of things we can do on tags aggregated across the globe. (A simple example is to find all other tags closely relate to one tag.) So far, as much as I am aware of, not much work has been done to fully leverage this participation into global cooperation. If it is done well, what we will have is a Web Brain, which will really kick off a totally new area in human history.
What is Web Brain? At least, you can think of it as the next Google on a higher food chain. In essence, I think Web Brain is like connecting all the human being together to create a life on a higher level. We, all the individuals, will be like cells connected together into one large body. In a sense, the life on this planet evolves. We finally become one. Web Brain will connect all our consciousness together. We contribute our intelligence. We breath life into it. We ask it for information. We use it to act, for learning, for playing, for creating, for organizing, for equality… There will be consciousness flow, money flow in it.
The dream of AI might finally be realized on the web. Web Brain might be able to understand human language. When we were kids, we learn a new word from all the context it is used. The word is meaningful because it is associated with the context, the inputs and outputs.
So a web brain based on tags will know how each word (tag) is used in different context. And if Web Brain also has an input and output (which it should has, otherwise there is no sense an independent brain), it will be able to parse language. Maybe its semantic brain is a little different from us human being as Web Brain has to serve its own inputs and outputs (which are actually connected to us human being).
If Web Brain is able to parse language or develop its own language based on human languages, then we can specify a domain semantic for Web Brain, for example elearning. Then we can ask Web Brain a lot of questions in that domain. I can also teach Web Brain to grasp my own methodologies in learning so it can apply them to all the resources it has.
As Web Brain’s language is based on human languages, we might use web brain as the translator of various languages. For example, it can parse English sentences, understand its meaning, and then express it again in Chinese.
Machines/applications embedded with a specific semantic can interact with Web Brain to provide its specific functions.
This web brain doesn’t have a self. Its self is all the people. Its intelligence comes from all the people. It serves all the people. It may be a little different from us human being’s self. Or maybe it is the same as our true self, not hindered by the illusionary self, serving the whole body from moment to moment. It doesn’t pursue happiness of its own. It pursues happiness of all the people, which is actually its self.
Someone called this web3.0 (http://turing.cs.washington.edu/NYT-KnowItAll.htm), which I think is probably a good term for it. In term of web3.0, it is closely related to web2.0. As it is to fully exploit the use of tag, just as what google has done with links.
Here are all the subjects related to Web Brain: the Nature of Order, biology, semantic web, AI, web fountain, elearning, organization management…
I haven’t been able to do a lot of research on Web Brain. So above are just some thoughts so far. But I certainly feel it very interesting work to engage in.
As I have done quite a lot of research in elearning, I will see how Web Brain can be used to help implement the new learning platform. Here are just some examples: find all the other topics related to bubble sort, find all the maths used in Automatic Control or in Imaging Processing, find the applications applying Automatic Control theory ranked by relevance and degree of complexity, find the best teachers teaching beginner musics in New York area…
The research KnowItAll (http://www.cs.washington.edu/research/knowitall/) has some interesting demos that can be applied to elearning similarly.
This new learning platform will make self-teaching very easy. Furthermore, we will have real capable full-time teachers, part-time teachers, independent teachers, everyone teachers. Corporations will also be brought into this platform via various means. We will break the rigid formality of education system and very possibly make it free maket based, as advocated by Milton Friedman, who just passed away. By doing all these, we will throw away a system that was borrowed from Germany to mass produce employable labors and enslave our minds (see http://www.johntaylorgatto.com/index.htm).