(revised at May. 25, 2008)
At the last installment, I introduced the two postulates on why and how the Web evolves. Based on them, we can derive seven interrelated corollaries. The two postulates and seven corollaries altogether compose a coherent view of web evolution. Including this one, I use seven posts to describe this view.
Corollary 1: there exist natural mappings between the stages of web evolution and the stages on human growth.
The Postulate 1 tells that the Web must evolve by stages. Moreover, each stage of Web evolution can be identified by certain quality.
At the same time, the Postulate 2 tells that the process of Web evolution is to materialize humans' consciousness in an increasing order. We know that the level of humans' consciousness increases in a natural order when they grow up. Hence it is reasonable to map the stages of Web evolution to the stages of human growth. The results show that such a type of mapping does exist naturally. The following tables are a few of my discovery.
|a Newborn Baby||a Web-1.0 Space|
|I have parents||Webmasters|
|Watch me, but I won't explain||Humans understand, machines don't|
|Contact my parents if you want to know more about me||Contact section on page (email, phone number, fax, address, ...)|
|My parents decide who my friends are. Actually, I don't care||Manually specified Web links|
|Hug me, I smile; hit me, I cry (conditional reflex)||Reactive Web functions and services|
|a Pre-School Kid||a Web-2.0 Space|
|I have parents||Webmasters (blog owners)|
|Parents teach me knowledge (though often not well organized)||Tagging|
|I understand many facts but maybe imprecisely and incorrectly||Folksonomy|
|I can deliver and distribute messages, especially for my parents||Blogging and commenting|
|Whom my friends are is primarily determined by my parents' social activities||Social network|
|We kids can be coordinated together to do something beyond individual's capability||Web widget, mashup|
|I may actively make suggestion based on my communication with friends||Collective intelligence|
|an Educated Child||a Semantic-Web Space|
|I go to school and learn formal knowledge from textbooks||Ontology|
|I can explain messages and everybody else can understand||Semantic annotation, ontology matching|
|I can make suggestions based on my understanding||Reasoning and inference|
|Friends of mine are connected based on our common interest||Semantic grid|
|I can handle requests by understanding them||Semantic web services|
The discovery of the mapping opens a new door towards the research of Web evolution. Continuing on this series, we will watch more evidences of this metaphor and how the metaphor helps explain the very complicated issues of Web evolution in a way that can be easily understood by unprofessional readers.
The next: Evolutionary Stage