Tim O'Reilly: We are becoming part of the machine

Tim O'Reilly opened the keynote phase of the Web 2.0 Expo describing the Web 2.


Tim O'Reilly opened the keynote phase of the Web 2.0 Expo describing the Web 2.0 philosophy: "It's about building the global computing network and harnessing all the collective intelligence of all the people who are connected....We are talking about persistent computing in which we are becoming part of a great machine," O'Reilly said. 

I don't believe that O'Reilly is talking about chips implanted in brains or "The Matrix" scenarios. At least not yet. More World of Warcraft, Digg, Facebook and what follows on. It's about the man-machine interface, with machines running increasingly sophisticated algorithms and people adding tags, rankings and other data to the pool to deliver better information, more efficient business models, flatter hierarchies, less friction and more compelling user experiences. It's the data Web, informed by new layers of inputs, leading toward a semantic Web, but also laden with difficult problems, such as who owns the data. As in most human endeavors ownership becomes an issue of contention...