Episode 558

October 12, 2019

Humans aggregate everything. We are pack rats for knowledge. Our computers have taken our propensity for hoarding and turned it into a guidebook for life.

Social media aggregates community. Religion aggregates faith. Education teaches critical thinking so we can aggregate truth. Computers aggregate information.

We have delegated aggregation to our machines.

All our communications are aggregated by our phones. Email, text, voice, tweets, posts and social media are all located in one place.

Our creative expression is aggregated in the computer. Gone are the days of paper and pen.

i used to write poetry on paper with a number 2 pencil. There was an added element of expression with the pressure of the pencil and the darkness of the line. The temptation to stop writing afforded a moment of reflection that gave depth to the words. Now-a-days i write with a keyboard. Stream of consciousness is more spontaneous as i type. Spelling and grammar errors are fewer because they are tagged for review later. In this paragraph i misspelled “consciousness”, “spontaneous” and “grammar”, but it did not slow me down.  Those minor errors were corrected with three clicks. The dictionary of words in my memory that i aggregated in school have been delegated to the dictionary on my computer.

Sometimes i dictate my text to achieve a more natural connection between my mind and the prose. Dictation is harder for me because i tend to think with my keyboard. Telling a story out loud, however, expresses the texture and color of the original experience. Story telling is about sharing an experience with someone else.

Amazon aggregates goods.
Beginning as a book seller Amazon has aggregated a catalogue of goods
that long ago surpassed the Sears catalogue and is only challenged by China’s Jingdong and Alibaba. Amazon also aggregates music and video. Amazon Prime members enjoy access to thousands of videos and more than 2 million songs.

Directories aggregate companies and services. The top business directories also include social media, product and information aggregators. According to Vendasta the top ten business directories are Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Bing, Yelp, Zillow and TripAdvisor.

Google aggregates the Internet. It began as a search engine called BackRub.

The name was drawn from the number of “backlinks” that a website contains. A backlink is a hyperlink which connects back to the website referenced on the page. An example of this are the linked graphics and company names on this iMentor bLog. Google’s aggregating software bots use backlinks to determine how well interconnected, and therefore important, that a website might be.

The strategy for artificial intelligence began by attempting to aggregate a collection of all possible reactions.  When faced with a question an AI would decide between possible answer A, B, C or none of the above. 

Modern AI aggregates failures. It stores these failures in branches of alternative responses. The AI learns by following trees of trial and error repetitively until a satisfactory conclusion is reached every time.  This is how AI can win a game every time it plays. It fails millions of times until it discovers the paths to victory.

Aggregations are databases. Our database applications are aggregators. Contacts, Calendar, Photos, Mail, Messages, Reminders, Notes, iTunes, Quickbooks and the Finder all aggregate.

Acquiring the data is fairly simple. Finding what you are looking for in the database makes the aggregate useful. Google is very good at this. 

Humans are really good at it too. Think of all the data you must sort through and recall just to drive a car or walk in a crowded space.

Wisdom is the ability to aggregate information, retain it and draw useful conclusions from it. 

Good judgement is an essential component of wisdom. It is an uniquely human trait.  If good judgement is not employed, wisdom is merely knowledge. Our computers have made the storing and retention of this knowledge available to all.

Human compulsion to aggregate has put the knowledge of mankind in your pocket.

Now… what are you going to do with it?

Leave a Reply