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Twitter's Intelligent; Welcome to Web 3.0

"Collective Intelligence (CI) is the capacity of human collectives to engage in intellectual cooperation in order to create, innovate, and invent."             - Pierre Levy + James Surowiecki + Mark Tovey

I wrote a post a few days ago, Is Twitter a Complex Adaptive System?, that proposed the idea that Twitter may be evolving into an entity of sorts, a collective intelligence. I've come across some new posts that are amplifying that meme, and I just want to keep the thoughtstream going.

Insight #1

I was reading an article by Nova Spivack from 2006 over on Ray Kurzweil's site, titled The Third-Generation Web is Coming. In it, he lays out the evolution from Web 1.0 --> Web 2.0 --> Web 3.0, a more intelligent web "which emphasizes machine-facilitated understanding of information in order to provide a more productive and intuitive user experience."He also lays out the key technology trends driving the evolution. Among them are Ubiquitous Connectivity (broadband, mobile internet), Network Computing (SaaS, P2P, cloud computing), and Open Information (open APIs, open-source software, OpenID). 

Sound familiar? 

Insight #2

Then this article from ReadWriteWeb passed through my tweetstream, The Future is all about Context: The Pragmatic Web. The author, Alisa Leonard-Hansen, paints a picture for "a highly relevant and individualized Web experience based on the ubiquity of our identity data."
However, with the rise of the social Web, we see that what truly makes our online experiences meaningful is not necessarily the Web's ability to approximate human language or to return search results with syntactical exactness....Rather, meaningful and relevant experiences now are born out of the context of our identities and social graph: the pragmatics, or contextual meaning, of our online identities. My Web experience becomes more meaningful and relevant to me when it is layered with contextual social data based on my identity. This is the pragmatic Web.
Then she goes into a different direction, talking about business models and Facebook. She finishes by just touching on the implications of the centralization of identity data, which is such an extremely important concept that I need to save that discussion for an entirely separate post. But to begin building your framework for understanding the importance of open technology, bookmark the Peer to Peer Foundation website and the P2P blog

Dave Winer echoed the sentiment of context in his recent post, How (slowly) we add metadata to tweets, in reference to the new retweet feature on Twitter and issues about attribution. He links to an article by Alex Bowyer, A better design for twitter retweets, which is a very well thought out post that deserves to be read. 

Insight #3

I then found this article by Dean Pomerleau, titled Twitter and the Global Brain. He starts by explaining that some recent evidence in neuroscience has suggested a new model for understanding how the brain is altered during learning. He then makes a correlation between that process and the emerging structure and function of the real-time web, i.e. Twitter.
Imagine a twitter user as a neuron. He/she makes the equivalent of a synapse with each of his/her followers. When a twitter user sends out a tweet, it is the equivalent of a neuron firing. Followers who receive the tweet decide whether to propagate the activity by retweeting the message, in a sense by deciding whether they too should fire in response to the tweet.
He acknowledges that this is not exactly how Twitter works yet, but he goes through some interesting examples of how it could work, and if that system became automated, it could signal the emergence of a type of Global Brain.I think he's done a very good job of distilling this concept into terms that are understandable to the layman.

Insight #4

Then, just this very morning, I discovered this site: information economy meta language. It's mission is as follows:
The main mission of the Collective Intelligence Lab is to pursue theoretical, empirical and applied researches related to ieml. This general mission can be decomposed in three sub-tasks:- to develop the vocabulary and the grammar of the information economy metalanguage,- to design and build the technical and methodological tools that will encourage and spread ieml uses,- to exploit ieml-related tools and methods for the study of information economy, the improvement of knowledge management and the growth of collective intelligence.
On the site, I found this document by Pierre Levy , the team's Director, titled From social computing to reflexive collective intelligence: The IEML research program (PDF), which appears to be due for publication in the Information Sciences journal in 2010. It's a dense 25 page paper, but I see a lot of correlation between what he's proposing and what I'm proposing with the Metathinking concept.

Essentially, he's saying that we need a new language infrastructure for the web in order for it to evolve to the sematic web stage. I've been echoing that thought by proposing we need a new thought architecture in order to process the new types of information that we're encountering. 

This 'new language' Levy describes seems to be the necessary structure that would have to be created in order for Pomerleau's 'Global Brain' to emerge.


This all seems to be brought together beautifully by the Guardian article, After social networks, what's next?In it, venture capitalist Peter Theil answers the question by asking us to evaluate what stage we're at with social networks, and reminding us that we often don't realize the implications of what we're seeing even when it's staring us right in the face.So, based on the above insights, the pieces seem to be in place. Allow me to answer the question with this question:

Have we transitioned to Web 3.0?


cross-posted from 

This post made possible by: 
@tonnet - tweeted Dave Winer article 
@futurescape - RT @brainpicker to ReadWriteWeb article 
@ideahive - tweeted Guardian article 
@novaspivack - tweeted link to ieml site & Levy paper 

People mentioned in this post: 
Dave Winer @davewiner (Scripting News blog)
Alex Bowyer @alexbfree 
Nova Spivack @novaspivack (creator of Twine
Michel Bauwens @mbauwens (creator of P2P Foundation
Pierre Levy @plevy (his wikipedia page
Ray Kurzweil - not actively on twitter yet, but here's his site 

Some contextual quotes to chew on: 

To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete" - Buckminster Fuller 

The future has already arrived. It's just not evenly distributed. - William Gibson 

The mark of a well educated person is not necessarily in knowing all the answers, but in knowing where to find them. -Douglas Everett

Join The Conversation

  • Nov 14 Posted 5 years ago usman (not verified)

    Web 2.0 is so over. Welcome to Web 3.0
    Today's Web 2.0 companies may find themselves transformed or even eclipsed by yet another wave of web innovators. New companies are cropping up to expand the utility of the web, creating location-based services and financial payment systems that can be bolted onto existing sites. jogos de motos
    Often bootstrapped, they are frequently profitable and may get acquired quickly. Even in today's tough environment, these upstarts are the ones raising money and trying to score a life- or business-altering hit.
    Welcome to Web 3.0 

  • Dec 7 Posted 7 years ago DrDaveHale Vanessa, I'm all for the indepth articles, and I can undertsand some fairly heavy content, but what Pierre Levy , talks about in From social computing to reflexive collective intelligence: The IEML research program (PDF) is a bit out there. The suggestion that social media is the last online innovation did not only throw me for a loop, but also many of those who commented on the blog the article is posted on.

    I agree with what you are saying,  but Peter Levy NOT!

    Keep up the good work.

    Dr. Dave Hale, The Internet Marketing Professor



  • VenessaMiemis's picture
    Dec 2 Posted 7 years ago VenessaMiemis Richard,

    Let's hope it does mean a 'medium of action,' one that leverages the power of networks to facilitate the positive change that we desperately need.

    I read this sentence in a paper put out by the Institute for the Future, called Toward a New Literacy of Cooperation in Business (, that I thought summed that vision of web 4.0 up nicely:

    "The invention of technologies that facilitate or encourage non-zero-sum interaction is a reliable feature of cultural evolution."

    thanks for your thoughts

  • RichardStacy's picture
    Dec 2 Posted 7 years ago RichardStacy Thanks for this post.  I am busy working my way through the links.

     What I think we are seeing (partly reflected in Peter Theil's thoughts) is not so much an end to social networks, as the dawning of a realisation that it is not about social networks, its about social networking.  A network is an institution whereas networking is a process and at one level social media is all about the shift from institutions to processes - certainly in terms of the way information is processed.  That is why I like the neuro analogy.  The brain looks a bit like a network but it isn't really, in the sense that it doesn't have fixed pathways that control the passage of information.  Pathways in the brain are forged by the nature of the information itself.  The information (stimulus) creates its own network.

    Traditional information / media theory leads us to focus on the means of information distribution (networks, newspapers, books etc) because this is dominant in shaping the information within it.  Video information is trapped in TV, therefore all video information has to correspond to the content rules of the TV medium.  Given that what social media is doing is freeing information from the restrictions placed on it by means of distribution (video can now live in many places, not just TV), we need to recognise the power shift away from "things", places, networks into structures that are shaped by, rather than shape, the information itself.  A Twitter tag is probably an early example of this - it doesn't have any place, it simply exists through the power of  observation, connection and context. 

    Ultimately it is not going to be just the information that shapes these structures, it is going to be the purpose for which that information is required.  We are therefore going to recognise that the internet is not a medium of information - it is a medium of connection and beyond that, a medium of action, for connection itself has to have a purpose.  We will go to the internet not to find things out, but to make things happen. 

    You could say that web 3.0 is "internet as medium of connection" for connection is surely what web3.0 in a technical as well as social sense, is all about.  Does this then allow us to suggest that web 4.0 will be "internet as medium of action"? 



  • VenessaMiemis's picture
    Dec 1 Posted 7 years ago VenessaMiemis

    I'll agree that giving 'versions' to the web's evolution tends to just cause a lot of debate and confusion... there aren't really versions, but it's just a way for people to be able to contextualize and quantify what's going on.

    I'm so happy for your comment about broadband. I was just addressing that recently in response to a post I read somewhere about the digital divide in education, and how connectivity issues are going to further separate the haves from the have-nots. 

    From the research I'm looking at, the solution to that problem will be inleapfrogging (, meaning that technological development in other nations isn't going to happen the way it happened here - they are going to skip right over several of the steps we had to go through because technologies are now available that are better and less expensive.

    It's so interesting, I just read an article that was posted this morning, "A Shift in the Digital Divide," ( that cites a recent NPR story and some statistics from the Pew Internet and American Life Project that shows the growth of use of mobile devices to access the Internet among young blacks and Latinos, who don't have internet at home.

    Of course, it's not going to happen at once, and I don't have all the recent research to offer you right now, but there is a global explosion of mobile device usage for Internet access. 

    I think there is a clear trend that the world will be connected, and it will be via mobile.

    Thanks for your input.

  • ariherzog's picture
    Nov 30 Posted 7 years ago ariherzog I'll bite and answer with a single word: No.

    Web 3.0 is an idea and while some may claim it is here, I've read those claims for many moons. The thing is, most people in the world don't have broadband connectivity so how can you say the internet has progressed to a tertiary level when global netizens have yet to reach the primary?

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