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I have take the ideas discussed here and put them in the form of an essay:

I welcome comments on this essay from all sources.  You can sent them to me by email at
douglasr (at) chiark.greenend.org.uk  though if you put "[AMICOG]" somewhere in the
subject line it will help me find them. Or you can put them here on this wiki:

Your Comments

In the article linked above, you define third order /MediatedTrust as:
You stay in charge of how you decide to spread your trust, but delegate a computer to implement your algorithm and keep track of the results. So other humans provide recommendation data (eg links or diggs), and a computer processes this data but you control how the computer does that. You tell the computer on what basis it should decide whose recommendations to weigh heavily. So there is no single page rank algorithm that decides in advance that everyone will think Bill's Whatsit Page is untrustworthy or unimportant. The computer does not make the key decision. Instead you are in control of how your trust is spread, and the computer only mediates this trust for you. The key is that people supply data recommending not just primary sources, but also rating how good they think specific others are at making particular types of judgement. This allows each user to spin a distinct web of trust, based on the data and their own chosen metric.
I would feel that claiming "there is no single pagerank algorithm" is misleading. There is certainly potential for individual specification of the form that you quote later on: (eg "I think SalamanderKing? is consistently accurate at categorising music genre, but while I like his taste in films, his taste in music and politics is very different to my own, nor do I find his contributions to sports discussions ever worth reading.") However, having specified that, you'll still be making the computer responsible for finding you music that you like, based on information like the above. How will a computer combine thousands of these stated opinions? Sounds like an interesting algorithm to develop... but not one that the individual user will develop. They'll want the /AmiCog to do it for them. And at that point, you've got just one single pagerank algorithm again, just a smarter one. And it'd still be possible - indeed, inevitable - for that algorithm to be better at recommending certain types of resource than other certain types of resource. So there will still be "victims of the technology" like Bill's Whatsit Page, that due to the subtleties of the algorithm and the links it receives, never manage to take off. --AlexChurchill
I agree that most won't want to develop and algorithm themselves.  In the same way that most don't want to write a computer operating system kernel themselves.  However the difference between windows and linux is that with linux you have the option of altering one someone else has written, and can pick between the alterations others have made, whereas with windows the process is not transparent, leading to lock in.  In the same way google may be wonderful, and have a really good algorithm, but they keep the raw data they search upon, and if you want a different algorithm (even just a slightly different one) then you also need to find a completely new base of raw data to apply it to.  Lock in.  With an amicog, Bill's friends and admirers can pick a choice of seed+algorithm that put Bill right up there with the best, if Bill is the info source on Whatsits that they want to trust. --DR
You have just automated social engineering.  (Here, install this FriendRank? algorithm mod, see, lots of people trust it.  Thanks...  The reality of socieites is that you will have a single algorithm shared by 99% of each population.  --Vitenka

I think there are a number of trends in computing related technology that are going to be of increasing importance to society in the next 30 years:

All of these depend upon /MediatedTrust

In particular, I predict that the application of /MediatedTrust to /KnowledgeStructures shall lead to the creation of the /AmiCog, and that the effect of this combined with /DistributedComputing, /LivingApplications will have /SocialConsequences.


[Making a Semantic Web] - a very good overview by Joshua Allen

Update: /AmiCog2013

Update: In 2014, Microsoft's Nadella wrote:

Our Worldview

We live in a mobile-first and cloud-first world. Computing is ubiquitous and experiences span devices and exhibit ambient intelligence. Billions of sensors, screens and devices in conference rooms, living rooms, cities, cars, phones, PCs are forming a vast network and streams of data that simply disappear into the background of our lives. This computing power will digitize nearly everything around us and will derive insights from all of the data being generated by interactions among people and between people and machines. We are moving from a world where computing power was scarce to a place where it now is almost limitless, and where the true scarce commodity is increasingly human attention.


See also: /TheFuture /DistributedComputing /LivingApplications /KnowledgeStructures /MediatedTrust /SocialConsequences /AmiCog /ToothyCog

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