Singularity in Social Media

A great community manager, Justin, posted an entry the other day entitled Google Brain that really got me thinking (what a great idea!).

What would it be like to be able to strap yourself in to a machine like Neo in the Matrix and learn everything you ever wanted in a matter of minutes? Over your lunch break, you could learn the delicate art of bonsai-tree trimming, learn how to speak 20 languages over the weekend – you name it. As it is, technology has sped up the pace at which we can connect with people on other continents and learn is increasing at an exponential pace. For those of you unfamiliar with the idea of “singularity” here is a quick snapshot (thanks, Wikipedia):

“if machines could even slightly surpass human intellect, they could improve their own designs in ways unforeseen by their designers, and thus recursively augment themselves into far greater intelligences. The first such improvements might be small, but as the machine became more intelligent it would become better at becoming more intelligent, which could lead to an exponential and quite sudden growth in intelligence.”

Meaning human evolution on crack.
(Sidenote: I JUST found out that Ray Kurzweil’s The Singularity is Near is being made into a movie due out at the end of 2009. Check it out.)

Then I thought, but are we really ready for that type of technology? Do we really want it? Imagine the one-upmanship that would ensue if humanity does achieve singularity:

“I just started 500 millionth blog..of course I only started blogging an hour ago”

“Oh yeah? I just tweeted individualized messages about my our new products. To every single person in the world. For those that aren’t on Twitter yet, I found out who they were, where they were at that exact moment and had iPhones airdropped to them.”

Think of the ramifications for social media! As it is, the amount of information that circulates daily or even hourly is impossible to keep up with. I make it a point to read (OK, sometimes scan thoroughly) blog posts by people that I’m interested in, work-related or not, and the same goes for people that start following on Twitter. You don’t have to be Chris Brogan to know that trust is the foundation for good business relationships, and earning trust takes time.

So if the pace at which we learn increases exponentially to a point where we are no longer using the knowledge that we have acquired, will we also get to “know” so many people on all of the various social networks that we won’t be able to develop actual, meaningful relationships with them?

Will all communication become spam? Automated answers that have become so intelligent that they seem to be genuine yet are simply altered to correspond to your digital reputation which has been automatically detected by the respondent’s computer?

I’d love to get your feedback.

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