Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Trust the data

Kedrosky wrote
I'm largely tired of opinion -- my own included. I am, however, increasingly fascinated with capturing and incorporating useful, alternative data sources from the edge. You see some of that beginning to happen via Twitter (and I'm advising an interesting company doing work here), but there are all sorts of opportunities at the confluence of unstructured data, companies like QL9 and Kirix, webcams and video analytics, and, yes, blogs.

While I've long incorporated meta-data from blogs in my thinking, I want to make it more explicit. I want blogs about data, sites that reshape and repurpose data as their central purpose. Sort of like a Bespoke with an API, to use one example, but there are lots of others. Bring 'em on.

I hate relating stuff back to Sci-Fi. It works for a fraction of everyone but most people will get massively turned off or bewildered; stop talking about spaceships and particle flux thingamabobs and get back to reality, you freak!

Whatever - it works for me.

In Pournelle's CoDominium universe the US/USSR hegemony had a ban on certain aspects of scientific research - basically weapons, but also anything that would destabilize the US/USSR hegemony is on the hit list. Which could be anything, in practice. It was like what some people imagine George Bush's America to be, except much, much worse.

And some of the guys running the CoDo were shown to have good motives; the CoDo prevented global nuclear war and the collapse of civilization, possibly the sterilization of Earth. Tword the end they knew they could not prevent this, but hoped to buy enough time to establish humanity out of the Solar System, on colony worlds.

Anyway. Part of that effort of keeping the lid on involved the CoDo Technology Cops inserting bad data into the network. The idea was that while you couldn't prevent weapons research everywhere you could subvert the reference books that people were using for the research.

Asking for a flood of data is certainly a good idea - but how do you know you can trust it?
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