Friday, August 24, 2007

Web Evolution and Human Growth, A View of Web Evolution, series No. 4

(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.

newborn babies vs. Web-1.0 spaces

a Newborn Babya Web-1.0 Space
I have parentsWebmasters
Watch me, but I won't explainHumans understand, machines don't
Contact my parents if you want to know more about meContact section on page (email, phone number, fax, address, ...)
My parents decide who my friends are. Actually, I don't careManually specified Web links
Hug me, I smile; hit me, I cry (conditional reflex)Reactive Web functions and services

pre-school kids vs. Web-2.0 Spaces.

a Pre-School Kida Web-2.0 Space
I have parentsWebmasters (blog owners)
Parents teach me knowledge (though often not well organized)Tagging
I understand many facts but maybe imprecisely and incorrectlyFolksonomy
I can deliver and distribute messages, especially for my parentsBlogging and commenting
Whom my friends are is primarily determined by my parents' social activitiesSocial network
We kids can be coordinated together to do something beyond individual's capabilityWeb widget, mashup
I may actively make suggestion based on my communication with friendsCollective intelligence

educated children vs. Semantic-Web Space

an Educated Childa Semantic-Web Space
I go to school and learn formal knowledge from textbooksOntology
I can explain messages and everybody else can understandSemantic annotation, ontology matching
I can make suggestions based on my understandingReasoning and inference
Friends of mine are connected based on our common interestSemantic grid
I can handle requests by understanding themSemantic 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

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