Discovering Information Serendipity -> #semantics #data #content #curation #UX #Futureful #CI
A question for you: How does discovering and sharing online information make you feel?
[I’d bet a good number of you are frustrated, feeling the negative effects of what Eli Pariser calls the “filter bubble”...]
Well, here’s something else to consider: discovering and sharing information – and the means for curating it – should be serendipitous. Really, it should.
A Form of Collective Intelligence
I had the fortunate pleasure of meeting up with my friend Jarno Koponen while in Helsinki this past week. Jarno and his founding partner, Marko Anderson, have spent the last two plus years building a predictive discovery engine, called Futureful.
The platform (as stated by the founders) “analyzes relevant information flows to open up the potential future around you. We use a combination of personal, social and contextual filters to understand interests, influences and intentions, and provide you with inspiring seeds to play with. Then its up to you to pick and choose, discover and share.”
Here is Robert Scoble’s interview with Marko that took place back in June, explaining a bit more about this innovative semantic technology.
During the demo, Mr. Scoble seems to dismiss the commercial value of Futureful as an application (on some levels, understandably so), but the real boon in this technology is not so much what it currently contains under the hood, but what it will contain going forward.
Discovering New Content Relationships
Jarno showed me the latest version that will be going to launch in the next few months; the offering – in its early form as a tablet application – actually does a number of impressive things all at once. First, it acts as a browser that can sort and organize information through an experience that is topographical and ontological; instead of merely serving up real-time access to relevant information, it creates an infocology of sorts by allowing users to annotate information as part of the search process.
It also creates a relationship between the interface and the user such that content, data and the associated experiences are “co-curated”, meaning that while the engine itself is data-driven, it relies on the intelligence and passions of people to elevate its value. The more people interact and share, the richer the data and associated experiences we can create, and therefore allows the engine to make smarter decisions and more impactful predictions.
In other words, the engine builds intelligence that is truly contextual.
Given the challenges we face in the Big Data and semantic web spaces, Futureful is developing an approach to consuming, delivering and sharing content that we desperately need.
Specifically, it is a solution to an array of complex problems that pit the consumers of content against an overwhelming amount of information and data... And even pits consumers against themselves. This often forces them to personalize their experiences to the extent that they lose the perspectives of those in and around their social circles, or even worse, they lose interest in what those people are doing due to a lack of time and attention (for example: Facebook gives users “fixed feeds” based on specific interest variable algorithms in an attempt to preempt this problem).
Matching Up the Unknowns
It’s no mystery that the best disruptive technologies come from the edges — the places and intersections of exploration that seem to evade us if we don’t look for nuances in our interactions, or, the inconsistencies and anomalies in the discoveries around those interactions.
We like to call this the “unknown unknowns” we can match up with; it’s both evolutionary and emergent, and it’s what can allow us go from simply filtering out what we don’t want, to creating opportunities that actually allow us to discover the things we never thought we would be interested it, or information we might actually need.
As more and more curation tools hit the market — spanning the likes of Storify, Summify, Bundlr, Redux, KeepStream, Qrait, BagTheWeb and Eqentia – it will be very interesting to see who can adapt to the ever-evolving complexities of information-sharing and data... And who can really match up the unknowns.
As for discovering information serendipity, the semantic web is your oyster. The more you participate – given the right tools and adaptive approaches – the better it can become.