Monday, October 25, 2010

The "Social Network Super Brain's" Immune System

Do you remember the Concorde?
Imagine you were there with your smart phone
What would you have done if you were at the end of the Charles de Gaulle Airport with your smart phone?
  1. Nothing
  2. Call your best friend
  3. Call the local newspaper
  4. Post a message on Facebook
  5. Record and post of video on YouTube
Since you are very tech savvy, chances are your picked 4 or 5. However for the purpose of this post, lets assume you did both.

Would you like to know what would have happen after you had done that? 
      Beginning a Chain Reaction

      By posting the event on social networks, you would have initiated a "social network chain-reaction."
      Social Network Chain Reaction
      Powered by both human and automated processes, the realtime web, would have enabled the information to reach all corners of the world within minutes.

      The Super Social Network Brain Goes to Work

      Human beings are hardwired to find solutions for events they don't understand. Soon after your post, many individuals and organizations, moved by their own interests, would have initiated their own investigation into the disaster.
      The Super Social Network Brain at work
      Since the news cycle is highly competitive, even bad news is good for business. In the absence of any recognized experts, people would turn to self-entitled experts to fill articles and airwaves, until any official news was released.

      The Byproducts of the Social Brain

      From the moment the event was published on the web, until an official solution was presented to the public, many bits of knowledge, without any correlation with the truth, would have been produced.

      This would happen because those the author of the knowledge processed information without having the proper knowledge to do so.  In other words, their were using knowledge (to process information) that had not been proven to lead to negative results. Worst off, it would have been stored.

      Infinity storage
      Wrong information is one of the worst enemies of the knowledge economy. Wrong information behaves like cancer cells because how easy it is to incorporated in other chains of knowledge.  Incorrect knowledge results from applying intuitive analysis to complex problems.
      Cancer cell dividing. Unlike healthy cells that stop being able to divide after 50-60 times, cancer cells continue the process. They don't die.
      The reason is simple. In today's society, there is still a large percentage of the population not engaged in continuous learning. Their ability to keep up with innovation reduces every day.  Without the proper knowledge to process new information, they are led to the wrong conclusions by using their intuitive cognitive abilities.

      Unfortunately, in the times we are living in, we are part of a complex system that has very counter-intuitive behavior.  In fact, as we become increasingly inter-dependent, most problems will continue to grow in complexity, which invalidates our ability to use or innate abilities.

      The Social Network Super Brain's Immune System

      Cancer kills. Bad information does too.

      Purported WMD site in Iraq
      The knowledge economy needs a system that prevents it from being infected by bad cancer cells. For that we will have to develop a system that is able to recognize whether the people producing information are truly qualified to do it or not.

      We need a system to recognize true knowledge from incorrect knowledge, and prevent incorrect knowledge from entering the system.  When it does, we need to fight it, just like biologic immune systems do.

      Friday, October 22, 2010

      "Electronic Market" and "Social Network" Fusion

      Rare thinking people like you already have a clear understanding of the differences between an electronic market and a social network.  Fusing them should lead to a new type of platform with all the benefits and no disadvantages. Right?

      You would be surprise.  That is sometimes not the case. That is also what happens in the natural world. Atoms with nuclei large than iron (Fe) will not dissipate energy during fusion, and will actually absorb energy.
      The fusion of a electronic market with a social network
      See the different approaches from Google, Amazon, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Olexe on their electronic markets and social networks fusion strategies.

      Electronic Markets

      An electronic market (e-market) is an information system, controlled by the market intermediary, where a finite set of market agents (or simple agents) orchestrates a finite set of business processes with the intent of trading of products and/or services.  E-markets  facilitate transactions between buyers and sellers by through the entire life cycle of the process, since it is sold, until it is retired.

      1 - Business Processes

      A basic electronic market can exist with the agents and business processes shown in the table below:

      Agents (both) Agents (sellers) Agent (buyers)
      Profile Management
      Returns and Refunds

      Note: more complex markets include other agents like payers (subsidize or pay on behalf of the consumer -ex: Medicare), accreditors (determine if a provider can participate in the market - ex: Education Providers), certifiers (determine if the the investment of the consumer led to intended results - ex: GMAT), and post-sales service providers (give support to the exchanged item after it was sold - ex: repair shop)

      2 - Communications in Electronic Markets

      Communications in electronic markets use highly structured formats and use a common ontology. This approach enables high level of automation since it eliminates semantic issues from communications.

      3 - Supporting Mathematical Theory

      Electronic markets are associated with  Game Theory. Game theory is the study of decision making among multiple agents (human or software). This theory looks at the interactions of agents as games in which decisions are made to maximize the returns and the outcome is jointly determined

      A lot of research is put into electronic markets prior to their release using Game Theory because better market designs will do a better job of matching buyers and sellers, ultimately enhancing society's wellbeing.

      (Electronic) Social Networks

      social network is human structure made up of individuals (or organizations) called "nodes", which are tied (connected) by one or more specific types of interdependency, such as friendship, kinship, common interest, financial exchange, dislike, sexual relationships, or relationships of beliefs, knowledge or prestige.

      1 - Business Processes

      Social networks were not designed to implement business processes. A much better term would be social processes. There are two basically processes: one to connect two people, and another one to build affinity by sharing some artifact.

      A way to make social networks richer is by enabling an app platform.  An app platform is infrastructure that offers developers the ability to develop simple business processes (called apps) with great simplicity and agility.

      Apps are social processes that try to promote new affinity points among people with the objective of increasing the connectedness of the network.

      Standard Social Processes Extensions
      App platform

      2 - Communications

      Communications on social networks do not have an underlying ontology and therefore automated understanding is very difficult.  That is one of the reasons companies like Bueda are emerging (BTW, Bueda is a start up from my friend Vasco).

      3 - Supporting Mathematical Theory

      Social networks are associated with Graph Theory.  Graph Theory studies graphs which are mathematical structures to model pairwise relations between objects of a collection.

      Electronic Market versus Social Network

      Item Electronic Markets Social Networks
      EnableExchange Connectedness
      Achieving an outcome that all agreeExchange a function between two people
      Defined RolesYesNo
      Business Processes Finite Infinite (apps)
      Defined Roles Yes No
      Systematization High Low
      Communications Highly structured Ad-hoc
      Common Ontology Yes No
      Game TheoryGraph Theory
      Entropy level Low High
      ExampleMedicaid (HIPAA)
      Low income population wellness                    
      A man and a woman exchange the reproduction function

      Market and Social Fusion

      I don't know if you have been noticing, but the larger electronic platforms are no longer pure players.  Companies that started as electronic markets are now adding social capabilities, and vice versa.

      Option 1 - Fusion

      1. Social networks are a great way to influence behavior on electronic markets.
      2. Market networks are a great way to leverage connectedness of a social network

      Amazon has been very successful at building a very successful social network on top of their amazing electronic market (I'm a huge fan of Amazon - their are masters on business process management).


      Facebook is on the process of building a marketplace to allow its social graph to sell and buy things. Given the success of Facebook this market will continue to thrive as people start using it more.


      LinkedIn is like Facebook, a social network developing an electronic market. In the case of LinkedIn, the exchange outcome will be to allow companies to hire the best staff they can possible can. Accordingly to the grape vine, they will shortly announce something big in the HR arena.


      I left Google for last because Google is a more complex case.  They are great at everything but have been making a lot of mistakes in the social aspect.  I believe there are cultural aspects to that but I will leave that for another post.

      If you remember, Google started without a business model. They knew what they were doing was great but they came to life when free was the way to go.  It was only after a while that they came up with AdWords. This is in reality, their electronic market. They have a bidding system for ad words.  From there they have been buying companies that had developed social networks, of which YouTube and Blogger are great examples.

      They are well on their way to achieving it and eventually will be able to deliver a unified vision of their portfolio. 

      Option 2 - Ontology based Social

      Certain social networks, especially those like Facebook tend to produce a lot of white noise.  White noise is information without value to the people that produce it (it may have value for other people in the network) that makes difficult to identify valuable  information.

      White noise emerges from the lack of clear outcome previously accepted by its members. From a pure market perspective, white noise reflects  an irrational behavior of its members.


      Olexe defiens an exchange and a communication ontology.  If an agent communicates a help message "HELP" that is understood as a request for assistance by all. This communication adds values for all involved in the electronic market. This approach leads to valuable exchanges and eliminates the white noise, prevalent in certain social networks.

      Friday, October 15, 2010

      Agricultural Knowledge Economy

      This post is the first of a series that will document how different professionals, in different industries, are evolving towards the knowledge economy.

      The objective  of this exercise is to discover the consequences, benefits and potential impediments of those professionals in their on-going transformation from knowledge holders to knowledge developers.

      In doing so, I hope it will be easier for you to fast forward 5 years, and plan the necessary steps to ensure your participation in the knowledge economy.

      Agricultural Knowledge Economy

      • Grown to order,
      • by natural nutrient developers,
      • to maximize human potential,
      • with externalities control,
      • or, precision agriculture.

      1. Knowledge Value Chain

      The agricultural knowledge economy results from the partnership between the natural nutrient developers (ex-farmer and producer), individuals (consumers), and nutritional scientists.

      This partnership forms a knowledge value chain, whose main objective is to increase human potential through nutrition, wih externalities control.

      In the knowledge economy farmers are part of a knowledge value chain

      2. Knowledge Economy Transformation

      The knowledge economy transforms farmers into natural nutrient developers and natural resource scientists.  Their mission is to develop and perfect new ways to adjust physical, chemical, and economical variables to maximize the nutritional results of the consumer, in a sustainable and affordable way.

      Either while developing algae fuel to power a jet engine across the Atlantic, or developing ways to boost the immune system, farmers become a much more integral part of the value chain.

      3. Early Starters

      The agriculture knowledge economy is emerging through the organic and urban agriculture phenomenons.

      Urban agriculture
      4. Challenges

      In this new era, today's farmers need to make an extraordinary effort to develop knowledge. They must upgrade their real life experience, accumulated over generations, to be able to put in place fast-evolving, evidence-based processes, that result in tracking and correcting local parameters and consumer feedback. In doing so, they will fuse the new and old approach to farming, creating the body of knowledge of the new agricultural era.

      The biggest challenge to the agriculture knowledge economy is that old and new are not fusing. If not addressed, older farmers will be excluded from the the high-margin precision agriculture benefits. Moreover, invaluable knowledge will (is being) lost.

      Thursday, October 14, 2010

      Do you know what is "true knowledge"?

      The concept of true knowledge often leads to doubt among the people I come across. The reason is simple. Both concepts "true" (truth) and "knowledge" depend on cognitive processes unique to each individual, and they are interdependent.

      Traditionally, this has been the realm of philosophers.  However, at this critical juncture in time, in which we are rapidly transition towards to the knowledge economy,  it is urgent that you understand true knowledge in the context of knowledge economy.

      In the knowledge economy, having knowledge is not enough.  You need to prove that you can use and develop it to achieve the your intended goals.  That is your true knowledge. 

      In case you don't have an answer yet, you may want to check a previous post about knowledge epistemic systems.

      Friday, October 8, 2010

      3 Top Things about a Knowledge Epistemic System

      Every time I use the words Knowledge Epistemic System, I get all sorts of strange reactions.

      There's actually no reason for those reactions.  Epistemic systems are actually quite simple to understand.

      Here are the 3 top things you need to know about Knowledge Epistemic Systems:
      1. What is an Epistemic System:
      2. An epistemic system generates judgments of truth of falsity. 
        They are used in police forensics,auditing,economy... 
      3. What is a Knowledge Epistemic System:
        A knowledge Epistemic System is a system that identifies true knowledge (reliable knowledge).
      4. Why you should about them.
      5. The epistemic system enables the knowledge economy. 

      Monday, October 4, 2010

      Why you need to know about the "end of the service economy"

      One of my main tasks over the past 2 years has been listening to people.  Lately, I get the impression that people are finally realizing that the "Great Recession of 2008" is very different from the "Tech Bust of 2000", or even the "Post 9-11 Slowdown." People are worried. Where should they go next?

      To answer that question, it is critical to understand what is happening. The economy is going through an accelerated structural transition from the service to the knowledge economy.  We are witnessing the end of the services economy. Even though the Great Recession of 2008 was responsible for accelerating the transformation, the true culprit was technology that made outsourcing and automation possible.

      To continue to grow, organizations will have to continue to reduce cost by focusing on core competencies and automation.  Before long, organizations will only employ human capital that represents their core knowlege.  At that time, organizations will have completed the transition to the knowledge economy.

      The reason you need to know about the end of the services economy is because to maintain your current life style, you need to become not only a knowledge holder but a knowledge developer.

      You need to be part of those responsible to adapt your organization to change and innovation. You need to stop applying the knowledge created by others.  You need to create new ideas that others (earning significantly less than you), or machines will execute.

      P.S. - If you don't believe this will impact you, I think you should read this 2007 article from the Economic Research Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.