Web (3.0) of Life

Speaking of ecosystems, here is an fascinating concept: Some ecologists believe that certain online communications are reflective of impending ecological catastrophes. Thus, if we can appropriately monitor those communications, we might be able to intervene in time to prevent them from happening.
"The six billion people on Earth are changing the biosphere so quickly that traditional ecological methods can't keep up. Humans, though, are acute observers of their environments and bodies, so scientists are combing through the text and numbers on the Internet in hopes of extracting otherwise unavailable or expensive information. It's more crowd mining than crowd sourcing."

From public health to conservation, if we can figure out how to listen to the internet, it just might tell us the truth--and in a timely fashion.


Mark said...

Too cool. Seems like "crowd mining" would require a LOT of labor hours to sift through the web-based communications to separate truly useful information from the seemingly endless false and misleading information. You know what they say about the web: "if you have an idea or an opinion, no matter how wrong or misguided, search the internet long enough and you will find validation." Yep.


Mike Orcutt said...

True. But I bet there will be a spirited attempt to develop algorithms capable of doing a lot of the sifting automatically. Now, I haven't even begun to imagine the variables involved in this type of a programming experiment. Maybe it won't work.