Saturday, January 25, 2003

Not binary, not singularity

Edward George writes that there won't be "a killer 'social software' app, that anything implemented will be be two things. Absolutely 'transparent', we won't notice we are using a social software application, and that it won't be a single application it will be a swarm of distributed 'social services' operating on the arsenal of ubiquitous machines around us. Each one not a piece of social software by itself but part of an emergent whole."

I'd be inclined to agree that "social" and ubiquitous computing will render single ("killer") apps obsolete - if only because sociality doesn't deal with singularity. But I'd also be inclined to say that social - for the people - software has failed if we don't know we're using it. Instead of enabling sociality, that's just a totalitarian imposition of pre-determined society. As for application swarms - yes, I can see that working nicely, but only if we don't seek to control their emergence by delineating a (stable) whole. I think it's important to move beyond binary, but moving towards singularity is not where I want to go...

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