Algorithm vs. Collective Intelligence

I’ve been a fan of Chris Saad’s thinking and work as he develops his vision for an Attention Engine by launching Touchstone.    I believe there’s significant productivity gains to be had from understanding how our attention is allocated to information and people… and then optimized by re-allocating our attention to only the most important info, personal and professional relationships.  I’d recommend checking out Touchstone’s beta.

Chris highlights the diverging philosophical approach between how Google thinks of indexing information vs. how other players (Yahoo comes to mind) approaches it.

"I saw presentation/Q&A session with one of the Google founders who, when asked about his opinions about the (then) new trend of tagging responded with (and I paraphrase):

At Google we have always thought that computer algorithms should be responsible for indexing and classifying information for people rather than the other way around.

It struck me that this statement revealed a potentially growing philosophical divide between companies like Google who believe in machine based indexing, ranking and searching vs. the latest ‘web 2.0’ creations that seem to focus on explicit user/community interaction (and s belief in Group Intelligence) in order to achieve the same thing.

As far as I can tell, Google has resisted most forms of tagging in their applications while Web 2.0 apps continue to integrate it as one of their primary content classification methodologies."

It seems to me that we’ll see a hybrid of Algorithm and Social Tagging based tools to manage personal attention and sense how attention is being allocated across our social networks.   Touchstone’s model is one to watch.

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