Friday, August 11, 2006

Internet makes cross discipline research possible

It looks like science has become so compartment-ed that we end up re-inventing the wheel in different disciplines without even knowing of the previous research in other areas.
I realized this several times when talking to my brother who is on the other end of the dial than myself when it comes to science viewpoint. Me being on the side of computers and biology mostly and he being an anthropologist and sociologist, when we get into theoretical discussions I often see how information systems would benefit of understanding the social networks. For instance, the other day I was talking to him about the evolution of websites in the sense of how they leverage today community knowledge and all the crowdsourcing stuff, etc. Then he said something about anthropologists having studied social networks for years and knowing about key things that happen in social networks such as legitimation. Then it just clicked in my mind why some sites such as eBay have been so successful because they found a way to port the social legitimation into their website with the feedback concept.
Also, today, by another coincidence, someone mentioned Cognitive Therapy and when I looked at it, it become clear to me that Cognitive Science has a lot to offer to Computer Science. They talk about Core belief system, conditional beliefs (rules), protective behaviours, all applied to psychology but so interesting and applicable when thinking on building a computer belief system.
There's great value in what one discipline can get from the rest and Internet is making it possible in a cheap way for everybody to cross these frontiers and maybe integrate science back to a way it hasn't been for a long time.


Unknown said...

Internet is a funny thing. The fast, easy access to seemingly endless volumes of information offers also a paradox. If you have too much of something you might end up having nothing. Engine search efforts to access, categorize and ultimately render information manageable, are a good reminder of the validity of this statment. Now, interdisciplinarity does not follow naturally from this fluxes of information. As with any kind of information, disciplinary knowledge is very hard to be integrated. Disciplines have traditions, ways of thinking, modes of reasoning, different words, identical words for different things. Just wanted to send a cautionary tale. Sometimes tecnological promises are only that. We might need more than instant access to information or to get into interdisciplinary practices.

Cecilia Abadie said...

This is cool! Different media, same old discussions ;)
I totally agree with you, there's a lot to be done on the retrieval process to make this massive memory behave like a real one in a useful way. Actually my post Extended memory" childish like is addressing this issue about improving the extended memory so we can all benefit of our shared knowledge.