Sunday, November 13, 2011

Open Science

TED@Waterloo talk today is by Dr Michael Nielsen:

Funny, couldn't find the embed button.

Essentially, he talks about the power of crowdsourcing, but slightly different from the ones I have been talking about. Starting from positive examples from the Bermuda Principles of genomics (everything open-source for sharing) and the Polymath Project (free collaboration ending in publications), he provided insights into tapping the potential of massive collaborations in scientific discoveries and creating a third revolution in science sharing. I have blogged about the prowess of crowdsourcing with the masses. But crowdsourcing within the scientific community is a tad more complex because of conflicting interests, the lack of incentives, constraints imposed by history and mostly, IMO largely also due to inertia.

He didn't provide much concrete actions, but I am looking forward to this revolution. It might take years or decades. But with the Internet and the Semantic Web as the catalyst and the workhorse, this duality in role might expedite the entire process. It just needs the right spark, to create that wildfire...

I will read his blog here:
"There are already many well-known but still striking instances of this change in parts of culture outside of science [1]. For example, in 1991 an unknown Finnish student named Linus Torvalds posted a short note in an online forum, asking for help extending a toy operating system he’d programmed in his spare time; a volunteer army responded by assembling Linux, one of the most complex engineering artifacts ever constructed. In 2001 another young unknown named Larry Sanger posted a short note asking for help building an online Encyclopedia; a volunteer army responded by assembling the world’s most comprehensive Encyclopedia. In 1999, Garry Kasparov, the greatest chessplayer of all time, played and eventually won a game of chess against a “World Team” which decided its moves by the votes of thousands of chessplayers, many rank amateurs; instead of the easy victory he expected, he got the most challenging game of his career, a game he called “the greatest game in the history of chess”."

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