Greg Linden: Trends in Collective Intelligence and Centralization

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Rich user experiences are going mainstream on a wider variety of devices and putting pressure on web standards.  This trend is changing the face of the web as we know it, and we've covered this trend extensively here and at the MIX conferences.  But there is another trend that is also changing the web forever, and Ray Ozzie's keynote at MIX08 was a shot across the bow regarding Microsoft's response to this seismic shift.

In his keynote, Ray talked about the "mesh", and the inexorable shift of services into large centralized data centers.  We announced some cloud storage services, and discussed our philosophy of keeping control at the edges.  This is really just the beginning, and we'll be having a deep conversation with the industry over the next year.

To kick off the conversation here on MIX Online, I asked Greg Linden to share his broad industry perspective about some of these topics.  Greg led development of Amazon's ground-breaking recommender systems, created Findory, and recently joined Microsoft to work on some top-secret incubation projects.  He continues to run the popular "Geeking with Greg" blog, where he riffs on large-scale centralized computing, data mining, and "collective intelligence".

Just a few of the topics we talked about:

  • Is MapReduce/Hadoop really as good as SQL?
  • What are the limits of social search?
  • What good is collective intelligence, anyway?
  • Will all of the world get sucked into one or two datacenters?

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