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Can Search Discover the Spark of Life?

06 Feb 2010

Highly profitable attention based business is powered by crack dev teams working at Google and Microsoft (Bing). From the point of view of an outsider looking in, there is a massive shift in resource gravity that has taken only a decade. It is a living example of attention jiu-jitsu, which leverages human interest towards desired outcomes. In this case the result is ever larger revenue growth and accompanying data-centers. The yield of compute center investments are reaped by maintaining information superiority in an emerging network economy. The massive information network density may be the perfect environment for a new pattern to emerge. Upon writing this, I can imagine a room full of artificial intelligence researchers laughing at the possibility of accidental intelligence. My counter is that with enough information (energy) density and connectivity, the highly unlikely becomes inevitable. A plausible method leading to identifiable A.I. is to create a rich environment for intelligence to emerge, as opposed to chasing after intelligence by emulation software. A single spontaneous event is enough to change everything.

Organized structure arising from chaos isn't a novel concept in nature. Cosmologists have constructed intricate hypotheses based on circumstantial evidence and measurements of ancient energies (I trust their data much more than my arm chair A.I. ideas, which isn't much). A popular theory tells a tale about the history of the entire universe. The story heralds the unfolding of super galactic structures, all emerging from a single event of supreme energy density.

I look to life for supporting patterns to my "far out" thought riffs. In the search for technological intelligence, what better place to look than the history of the human species, an incredible biological machine. Evolutionary development shows a marked gain in cognitive abilities (brain size) happening over a relatively short timespan.

By reviewing this tree of species is there evidence of a threshold for connectivity that may give rise to sentience? Since we don't have enough social analysis of our ancestors (read as: I'm too lazy to research it at the moment) it's tough to judge what was the required neural connectivity to define conscious self awareness. Intelligence is likely a gradual awareness that improves as neural connectivity increases. For example, my dogs are aware, but they're not self aware (as far as I can guess). In my less lucid moments (strong emotional states), I too become less self aware.

There's Dollar Signs $$ in Knowledge

Different aspects of decision making are emerging as valued hubs on the web. Hunch and Quora are joining accepted knowledge systems like Wikipedia, Stack Overflow, and many others. Legacy knowledge systems derive value from organized crowd sourced user contributions. As more systems lead to rich connected data frameworks, users benefit from improved information availability. I look forward to progressive models which reward the extracted value with their user communities, something the gentlemen behind Iter8r are working on.

Inspired by knowledge systems, frankensearch.appspot.com was my first effort at a real time search mashup. I've been fascinated with various forms of social search since becoming an admitted Net junky over the past 18 months. Since late last year Victus Media has served as an outlet for focusing my efforts on revealing greater user value in social search.

I'll leave off with a great share I got from my friend David Semeria, the genius behind the LM Framework. Can you see emerging information patterns in collaborative software development?

Twitter Code Swarm from Ben Sandofsky on Vimeo.