Monday, November 14, 2005

The Human Puppet

One of the current trends in our changing internet is the phenomena of "collective intelligence" (web2.0 buzz) where the rise and ease of individual participation can result in amazing collective efforts. The usual example for collective intelligence is the success of Wikipedia but more examples are sure to follow.
This sets the grounds for a possibly strange scenario in a kind of sci fi "what if" game. What if a human being decided that he/she did not want to decide anymore ? (funny paradox :) - "I'll be a vessel for the collective intelligence of the web, I'll be the human puppet". Taken to the extreme this someone would walk around with a webcam and with easy tools to constantly interact with the web. The ultimate big brother but voluntary. The masses in the web would constantly discuss and decide the life of the puppet. This someone would benefit from the knowledge and experience of a huge group of people and could, in theory really stand on the shoulders of giants.

Of course this is an extreme scenario that might not come to pass, but sci fi is useful to think of the possible consequences of a trend. Lighter versions of this scenario probably occur already in the blogosphere when people talk online about their daily lives and receive council from anonymous people.

Would someone ever give up their individuality to be directed by a collective intelligence ? Would a group of people be attracted by the chance of directing someone's life ?