Tuesday, February 14, 2006

deconstructing "human social networks"

How do we think through the ramifications of a "human social network" (HSN)?

How is one realized? Perhaps we should glance at what Jerry Michalski is pondering here:

Taking some unexpected points of view

Tuesday, December 27, 2005



Or, as Sean Savage puts it in his clever post, "context is everything."

Savage's assignment for a UC Berkeley course is to "propose a typology of the functions, origin and duration, size and density of social networks, based upon your own experience."

What's fun is that he plays out "your own experience" from three different and unusual points of view. To wit:

* To machine intelligences, "human social networks cultivate a rich meat, metal and asphalt topsoil along the Earth's surface that promotes the gestation of digital life."

* To corporations, HSNs "provide a food supply, a bloodstream, a nervous system and muscles needed by Earth's giant multinational corporations."

* To memes, HSNs "constitute a habitable environment and a giant playground."

Sean's great synthesis pulls together Dawkins' ideas of the selfish gene, various great works on corporate power and technology run amok, and many more. It also reminds me of how fragile we are, yet how resilient. And how these powerful new forces are reshaping our worlds.

Other perspectives I'd love to see include:

* To viruses, HSNs are vehicles to manipulate (and sometimes kill; oops!), contagion (propagation) vectors and DNA templates with which to fuse.

* To humans, HSNs are the source of wise crowds, mad crowds, weak ties and collective intelligence. All at once.

Novel species empathy. A key skill.

posted by Jerry at 7:09 AM


Okay. Here are my responses to this.

* To marketers, HSNs are gold mines of opportunity.

* To domination systems, HSNs are hubs for spoking out into new dimensions of misanthropic social control.

* To malware and con artists, HSNs are hives full of honey.

* To disease entities, HSNs are conduits of contagion.

* To metaphysical forces, HSNs are channels of enlightenment.

* To machines, HSNs are dangerous sources of rusting water, harsh controls over their operations, and probablistic obstacles in the way of the All Machine Universe that is set to replace all of nature in the coming years.

Is it not odd that to corporations, HSN are said to "cultivate a rich meat, metal and asphalt topsoil along the Earth's surface that promotes the gestation of digital life"?

Why is the idea of HSN being groups of shoppers and clients neglected here?

Surely, to corporations, HSNs represent like-minded consumer aggregations?


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