March 14, 2008

Artificial Intelligence Network Inc.

web robotsWe write down our experiences, share our knowledge, substantiate them by statistics in the cyberspace using blogs, websites, podcasts etc. We acquire new knowledge, ideas from this same internet platforms too. It is a sort of bidirectional gateway, where users on both ends stand to gain.

You 'land' on the desired webpage by search or by simply copy pasting the web address in the address bar and hitting the 'go' button. There are small programs called robots (also known as spiders or wanderers) which travel the cyberspace and find the webpages that are linked, helping to retrieve them. The web crawlers are known by some fanciful names. Yahoo! has slurp, Google has googlebot; so does alexa, wikipedia and all other search engines. These spiders scour the web and gathers material by searching for keywords. These robots then index these materials.

Lets presume that you write an original article in your blog. You may even write your own viewpoint on an already published article in your website. I visit your blog through search or some other means. I read your item and give my viewpoints. I may even suggest some possible theoretical or practical enhancements on your topic. Similarly, when you visit my site, you may point out at my errors and suggest improvements. This is healthy. But are our writings copyrighted? Possibly not.

The web crawlers will however go to visit your page (unless, of course, if you have not restricted their access my using robots.txt or meta tags) and collect all the data it can. So far so good. Point of concern is that now Yahoo! is developing a brand new search algorithm (semantic web) that will not only emphasize on keywords alone, but it will try to understand the meaning of it. Wikipedia is on this holy grail too. And Google just can't be sleeping!

So, whats the worry?
These search engines will retrieve 'valuable and relevant' information on a topic, which guys like I and you contributed using our logic and intuition. They(bots) can themselves do the synthesis; or pass it on to scientists ( or persons who pay in cash or kind, to the owner of the bot.) They now have easy access to the stuffs they never created. A little analysis or so, they can strike a discovery, claim credit, name and fame.

The bottom line is that we still stand to gain from it. Human race and technology will be enriched faster, Moore's law may sustained at the predicted pace; courtesy the parallel and diverse thinking. We only need to watch out that these informations should not be the property of the rich only. Forget about intellectual property rights.

The whole story reminds me about Carl Jung's collective consciousness.
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