The vital need for an ANONYMOUS Semantic Web (transcending trendy elites of networked… idiots)

Datasets in the Linking Open Data project, as of September 2007Image via Wikipedia

«…Furthermore, we also need to avoid the imminent (possible) deterioration of (planetary) Social Ethos into a cliquey horde of interconnected IDIOTS; as it’s been well known and widely demonstrated historically, that IDIOTS have a naturally ENHANCED tendency to form Groups and Networks (e.g. by the Greek satirical writer Lebessis, in his ground-breaking early twentieth century best-seller in Greece, titled “The Enormous Importance of idiots in Public Life”)…»

(update: «Ministry of Silly Walks» by Monty Python)

In the Semantic Web, I can’t hide the fact I am only a novice, to some extent. Although I’ve been experimenting with Triples (in Logic) ever since I got involved with computers, about 25 years ago; although I can write efficient PROLOG (and Assembly Language) code, to achieve almost anything FOR today’s Semantic Web, this is a fact.

In fact, my entire involvement with computers, of more than 2 decades (professionally) was triggered-off by something else, as an unexpected side-effect. Previously, I was almost a luddite, a young man trying to become an Artist (painter and sculptor) while doing occasionally other kinds of work for self-support.

  • My eventual trendy nerdyness was an initially insignificant side-effect, arising out of curiosity about Theorem proving, Mechanical deduction, Logic and Artificial Intelligence, in the early eighties. It was also due to the fatal benediction of buying a toy-sized home PC (a «ZX-81«), followed by other pieces of junk (such as the ZX Spectrum, the Amstrad CPC464 and -eventually- the IBM PC! 🙂319x149x38 (WxHxD)).

Well, becoming incurrably infected by the nerd meme (virus), writing the very first Greek computer gameKombos 1» – an «artificially intelligent Sophist») and contemplating George Spencer Brown‘s «Laws of Form» were my initial fatal Emo-intrusions into Trendy New Nerd-Territories! Sinclair 48K ZX Spectrum motherboard (Issue 3B. 1983) (Manufactured 1984)

Ah well, a sign of getting old is a tendency to tell old life-stories, but you can keep your Energy young if you ONLY do it occasionally and for a VERY good reason; of sufficient innovativeness to wipe-off the stains of… senescent narcissism. My reason is this (and it is manifold):

  • 1) You can’t seriously expect EVERYONE to start churning out ALL their highly precious personal data, out there into the wide-open Public Spaces of the emerging Semantic Big Brotherhood, can you?HAL 9000's iconic camera eye.

I think Mr. Nova Spivack is cool; perhaps the coolest nerd personality in today’s America, and I also think «Twine» is very cool: His system. I am grateful for being granted official permission to test it, joining the trendy Elite of official «TWINE Beta-Testers». However, being cool is NOT enough, I’m afraid:

  • 2) Being (and feeling) SAFE from Unwanted Public Inspection and (increasingly risky) self-revelation, while STILL being able to connect to innumerable others meaningfully (through the Semantic Web) is a much-much cooler (and absolutely necessary) thing today!

I.e. what we must be concerned with is the Semantic Annotation of Data and Knowledge, much more than the voluntary submission of our personal photos, phone-numbers and addresses (as well as friends) into the new Semantic Big Brotherhood, of trendy nerds wanting to become known and accepted as the Socially Networked Elite of Tomorrow!

As regards the human dimension of the Semantic Web, I am personally interested much more e.g. in the Semantic Representation of Ideas, Debates and Ideologies (as RDF structures); apart from the (obviously immense) significance of automatically annotating and connecting together research papers and other important documents, which require -nevertheless- personal authentication to remain valid and provably reliable kinds of knowledge: E.g. it is a totally different thing to connect one research student’s innovative Thesis with another person’s controversial ideas (in order to validate the latter) and a totally different thing to reduce and impoverish the Semantic Presentation of a person into what becomes publicly visible as a «network of friends», with an obvious injustice being done to those among one’s friends who do not agree with becoming publicly visible! (In my case, friends of the second category outnumber the first by a factor of 5 – at least).

If e.g. I am a narcissistic kind of net-junkie wanting everyone to… admire my multiple skills and other admirable personal features, including face-features (possibly), this does NOT mean that it’s fair to put pressure on everyone else, out there, to become a similar kind of trendy narcissistic net-junkie!

Therefore the obvious, simple conclusion is that we need Semantic Validation of CONTENT, without the necessity of personal (or strictly private) information.

  • 3) Furthermore, we also need to avoid the imminent (possible) deterioration of (planetary) Social Ethos into a cliquey horde of interconnected IDIOTS; as it’s been well known and widely demonstrated historically, that IDIOTS have a naturally ENHANCED tendency to form Groups and Networks (e.g. by the Greek satirical writer Lebessis, in his ground-breaking early twentieth century best-seller in Greece, titled «The Enormous Importance of idiots in Public Life»).

Moreover, the flourishing of new ideas and the Renaissance of meaningful debate (e.g. in modern Greece) through blogging, has happened to a very large extent precisely because of ANONYMITY

Kismet, a robot with rudimentary social skills.

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  1. Καλησπέρα Omadeon!

    «…IDIOTS have a naturally ENHANCED tendency to form Groups and Networks…».

    Μερικά πρόχειρα συμπεράσματα για την βλακεία και τον σχηματισμό ομάδων και δικτύων από ορδές διασυνδεδεμένων βλακών:

    Axiom 1: “Idiots behave suspiciously, like cancer cells. A single cancer cell cannot be effective, unless it contaminates the healthy cells («Μetastasis»)”.
    (Οι βλάκες είναι σαν τον καρκίνο. Όπως ένα καρκινικό κύτταρο από μόνο του δεν μπορεί να κάνει τίποτε αν δεν «μολύνει» με μεταστάσεις τον οργανισμό, έτσι και οι βλάκες θα πετάγονταν στον Καιάδα της κοινωνικής απομόνωσης όπως οι δούλοι στην αρχαία Σπάρτη, αν δεν υποκαθιστούσαν την ανεπαρκή ευφυΐα τους με το ένστικτο. Και εν προκειμένω, το «αγελαίο ένστικτο» το οποίο στην τομή του με το «ένστικτο επιβίωσης» σχεδόν ισούται με αυτό).

    Axiom 2: “Stupidity is unbeaten”.
    (Η βλακεία είναι ανίκητη, διότι με βάση το παραπάνω συμπέρασμα, το ένστικτο αποδεικνύεται στο πλαίσιο του κοινωνικού παιχνιδιού, πιο ισχυρό από τη λογική).

    Axiom 3 (a “Rhetorical question”): “Put some idiots together with an equal number of ingenious personalities. What do you really think? Idiots will infect healthy people or the ingenious can transmit their intelligence?”.
    Ο πλανήτης γη δύσκολα θα γίνει «Παράδεισος». Πιο εύκολο είναι να γίνει «Κόλαση» ή να καταστραφεί, διότι οι βλάκες πληθύνονται ενώ οι ευφυείς λιγοστεύουν. Αν βάλεις κάποιους υγιείς μαζί με έναν ίσο αριθμό ασθενών, το πιο πιθανό είναι οι ασθενείς να κολλήσουν την ασθένειά τους στους υγιείς, παρά οι υγιείς την υγεία τους.

  2. (a first reply about things said in Greek, more later about your English aphorisms)
    Good Morning Zalmoxis!
    Δυστυχώς, κάπως έτσι είναι τα πράγματα…
    Π.χ. έχουν εμφανιστεί διάφοροι φελλοί σε social media, που πουλάνε μούρη μέσω των πολλών «φίλων τους» (δηλαδή όσων παραμύθιασαν on-line). Τουλάχιστον μερικοί είναι καλοί στο self-marketing.

    Εκείνο που δεν είπα όμως σαν «αντίδοτο», είναι ότι ΗΡΘΕ ο καιρός που και πιο συνειδητοί άνθρωποι μπορούν να γλυτώσουν από τη μαζική επικράτηση της βλακείας ασχολούμενοι ο ΕΝΑΣ ΜΕ ΤΟΝ ΑΛΛΟΝ, αντί να κάνουν παραχωρήσεις στη βλακεία άλλων. Δηλαδή, π.χ. και το δικό σου σχόλιο, ΚΑΙ αυτή η απάντηση, ΚΑΙ το ποστ, αποτελεί «αντίσταση»!

    Υπάρχουν και μερικοί πανέξυπνοι ωραίαι άνθρωποι π.χ. ένας φίλος μου DJ (και πολυτεχνίτης) ο Αντρέας (καμμιά δεκαετία μικρότερος) που έκανε σειρά επιτυχημένων γνωριμιών μέσω διαδικτύου. Πάνω από 70 ή 80 ΠΡΑΓΜΑΤΙΚΕΣ σχέσεις με γυναίκες, έκανε ο Αντρέας, στη διάρκεια μισής δεκαετίας περίπου. Μερικές τις έφερνε _και_ στην παρέα μας και ξέρουμε ότι δεν είναι καθόλου ψεύτης!

    Παρόλ’ αυτά, όμως η ωραία κοινωνική επίδοση του Αντρέα, ΕΞ ΟΡΙΣΜΟΥ _δεν_ μπορεί να γίνει «δίκτυο μόνιμων φιλιών» στο Facebook (ή στο twine, στο Stumbleupon, κλπ) γιατί θα… αρχίσει να ζηλεύει η μία γυναίκα την άλλη! Επιπλέον, ΠΑΡΟΛΟ που γνώρισε και αξιόλογες κοπέλλες με ταλέντα στην Τέχνη κλπ, ΠΑΡΟΛΟ που με μερικές έμεινε φίλος πάντα, ΟΥΤΕ ΜΙΑ (από όσα ξέρω) δεν δέχτηκε να γίνει «βιτρίνα» της δικής του κοινωνικότητάς στο social networking. (Παρόμοιο «πρόβλημα» έχω κι εγώ με άτομα που ΔΕΝ θέλουν να φαίνονται για διάφορους λόγους – σιγά το «πρόβλημα» δηλαδή, αλλά λέμε τώρα…).
    Οι επιδειξιομανείς ηλίθιοι των social media είναι Τεχνητά Ευφυείς Ηλίθιοι. Το πρόβλημα είναι ΟΧΙ να αυτο-περιορίσει κανείς τη δική του προβολή προς τα έξω, αλλά να την κάνει με ειλικρίνεια, ανοιχτότητα ΚΑΙ με αυτοσαρκασμό. Αυτά λείπουν από τη νέα φουρνιά ηλιθίων, πέραν μιας πλαστής (εικονικής) «ανοιχτότητας».

  3. On the whole I agree with you, finding most of what you say amusing as well. However, you seem to exaggerate a little. For instance, Twine, which I am sure (like me) you appreciate a lot, has been designed to make intelligent and creative people collaborate more efficiently. It’s useless for «networked idiots», as you put it. The places where idiots can gather together are many, but places like Twine are few.

    Of course, your writing style is obviously delibarely satirical and provokative, which is good food for thought. I don’t mind the occasional extremism! 🙂

  4. @ai-worker
    VERY good point. I am forced to agree with your criticism, which reminds me of another big issue, totally forgotten in this post:

    – The fact that technology (as always) can be used for good and bad, and it’s our choice most of the time, to benefit from it or get worse through it.

    As a beta-tester of Twine, I might write something about it in the near future, totally free of… exaggerations and satire, of course: Since it is a very innovative, very honestly produced web-product, and our opinions must be totally impartial, cool and precise about it. The success of the product depends on using it wisely, of course. And as you say, it’s not a place for «networked idiots» (IRC will do just fine for most of these, as experience has shown – which is NOT to say that anyone who uses IRC is necessarily an idiot).

    My post was deliberately extreme and thought-provoking, but the fact remains: Social Networking has both good and bad potentialities, and more intelligent forms of it (like Twine) have mostly good potentialities.

    My personal complaint from Twine, at the moment, is only that it still requires too much effort. I’d also like to import into Twine other information, such as my bookmarks (3500 of them in public). More on this issue… later!


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