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Theory of Web Evolution, Web 2.0, life studies as open source


I am now reading the book, A Theory of Web Evolution (Uwebu Shinkaron), Chikuma Shinsho, 2006, written in Japanese by Mochio Umeda. This book has just been published and is likely to become a bestseller. This is a really interesting book. I am going to write a book review for a local newspaper. Umeda, the author, is an engineer with a Ph.D., and the CEO of the Japanese web company, hatena. He has lived in Silicon Valley, USA, for these ten years.

He stresses that the revolution now being made by weblogs and Wikipedia as well as such company as Google and Amazon, will provide us with a completely different kind of cyber space, compared with that which the "old" style company, such as Yahoo!, Microsoft, and Intel, have shown us. The difference is that the former encourages us to create new webpages, information, and dynamic links using their open source technologies, and encourages us to go beyond the original models those companies have prepared beforehand. And after that, those companies tries to make profit out of us by monitoring users' activities and acquiring information about how the majority behave on the Internet. He thinks this is the core image of Web 2.0, which is one of the hottest issues on the web today.

Umeda summarizes the three main features of Web 2.0 as follows:

1) First law: The understanding of the world from the viewpoint of "God"
2) Second law: A new economic sphere in which ones' automatic agents on the web make money automatically
3) Thrid law: Possibility of earning money from the accumulation of scattered very small profits (p.34)

However, in the latter half of the book, Umeda emphasizes that the most important feature of Web 2.0 is not that we can make money from it, but that we can cooperate to create a new world of dynamic knowledge and collective intelligence, just like Wikipedia, on the web volantarily and openly. This is the core philosophy of Web 2.0, and probably the most revolutionary contribution to our cyber society.

This could also be applied to our life studies project. Life studies should be a kind of open source, by using which every concerned person can create their own life studies in their real lives. Every life studies activity is different, but all of them are interconnected with each other. The same thing can be said about "philosophy of life." I am going to write about it here in the near future.

My intuition is that life studies or philosophy of life is similar to Web 2.0, because both of them aim to connect people, knowledge, wisdom, and activities in the way only developing living beings can fully execute. Hence for me, "2.0" means "life."

 -- M.Morioka www.lifestudies.org

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Hi, Masahiro.

I have been reading the "Web Shinka-ron" during my vacation and found the ideas of the book so thrilling as well as scary in a way. I hope we could discuss more about them in the near future.

Hi, kumi. I also found the book interesting and a little scary as well. It seems that the web 2.0 secretly sneaks into not only our private information but into the area of our inner conscioussness in a sense. Internet seems to be coming sloser to "conscioussness communication," which I discussed ten years ago in Japanese....

Hi, masahiro. How did you think about the author's idea of dividing "this side" and "other side" of the internet world? I believe in a way about making a better world through connecting every wisdom of human beings in the world, but I feel at the same time that divinding people in two categories is a serious mistake especially when they believe "people on this side knows better than ignorant people on the other side." I'm afraid this kind of belief would justify another genocide or make sacrifices at the least. I would like to know how you found the book scary, and what is the point concerned you mentioned as "consciousness communication"?

I think what the author stresses is that in order to know the cyberspace well you have to stay out there as long as possible. And as long as this is what the author wants to say, I don't think it is a scary idea. What I felt scary about was the fact that web 2.0 system secretly sneak into my computer and trace my behavior on the web and collect information automatically. We falsely believe that we can protect our privacy on the web, but it's not the case in fact.

I knew it was not the author's idea, but the premise behind his thought which was scary to me. And also, the feeling of mine was felt not only for the security of myself, but for something bigger in scale. I will keep looking for the words to discuss more about this.

kumi, your idea of "something bigger in scale" is interesting. Is it like an living evil creature moving around the web, or some powerful, awful power that may suppress and exploit users of the Internet? I sometimes feel that web 2.0 is a big creature infiltrating through the web and moving its body.

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