Google and wisdom of crowds

Google is Putting crowd wisdom to work. Seems like all the great ideas take about 10 years longer than expected. Of course there was Admiral Ponidexter's terrorism prediction market which was suggested after Sept 11... I first heard if as "Idea Futures", way back in the mid-90s, which someone was goingn to commercialize, but somehow it never worked out. Oh wait ... Foresight Exchange

Google is taking all these good ideas lying around. I guess that's the real secret. Innovation is not like a gold rush, the ideas are there in plain sight. You just have to pick them up one by one, when you are ready, and polish them up. Of course it helps if you are very smart, and have an unbelievable cash flow because you were disciplined about your first idea.

So the question now is, why can't Google use the "wisdom of crowds" inherent in the search engine? Of course selling search ads is a form of that. But I mean in the predictive sense. To take a very crude example, if you know the key words searched by people from a particular company, then that could tell you something about what that company is doing. Not in any direct way of course like: the CEO searched for "bankrupcy law". But in a massive way with tiny correlations being detected in mountains of data.... Oh wait how do we know they are not already doing it?


Chaos theory: from A-nuak to Z-end

I just came across this item in Google news: "Anuak Minorities Facing Insecurity and Terror in Ethiopia", an editorial in Al Jazeerah by Keith Harmon Snow. As I read this editorial, I went from genuine dismay at what is going to skepticism. The timing of this editorial is a bit suspect. He wrote this report for UNICEF more than a year ago, why didn't UNICEF publicize it? Probably because it was not objective. The author definitely seems to have an axe to grind. The guy clearly has been researching this issue -- see e.g. http://zmagsite.zmag.org/Jun2004/snow0604.html, and he raises huge issues, and I intend to read up a lot more on this.

But what's really alarming now is that the Anuak story is blending, or actively being blended into the Ethio-Somalia story. So the virus, that started out as just the Islamic Courts Union versus warlords of Mogadishu, morphed into ICU versus the transitional government of Somalia, then became the coming war between Ethiopia and Somalia, now all of a sudden has mutated into a much more ominous disease:

"The Pentagon and Ethiopian military are prosecuting an entirely invisible war in Somalia, and while persistently threatening, arresting and shooting Anuak men, the Ethiopian military has actually tried to conscript some Anuak men to fight for them in Somalia. This is not a war on terror it is a war of terror. Ethiopia's clandestine involvement in Eritrea is equally invisible, and Human Rights Watch has also documented the ongoing repression against the Oromo people in Ethiopia's Oromo State. Other minorities are being forcibly displaced to serve conservation or petroleum interests."

This is the story that is being told on Al Jazeera. SomaliNet.

I believe we may have already entered the chaotic phase. Not necessarily on the ground yet, in terms of full-scale war. But in the chaos theory sense: small actions will be reflected, and propagated in unpredictable manners, and along every ethnic and religious fault line in Ethiopia, amplified, multiplied, echoed, reverberated by the dynamics of the global crusade/jihad. Every time someone dies, their ethnicity or their religion will be tallied up, sliced and diced. How long before this leads to home grown religious death-squads, and ethnic militias?