The 3Di-Web Singularity is Near

Kurzweil fans will recognize the blatent lift from his most recent book. But as far as I am concerned stealing is the ultimate form of flattery, especially in a Web 2.0 world where “TEACHING” and “CHEATING” are anagrams…..More on that in another post.

Since I was asked to talk on this subject this Thursday at the e-Learning Guild Online Forums, I had to give this some attention this past week. Here is my latest back-of-napkin-turned-into-PPT thinking on the 3i-web singularity. If you like what you read here, you may want to consider signing up here for the Forum on Thursday.


In “The Singularity is Near” Kurzweil posits that due to the law of accelerating returns, technology is progressing towards a singularity where a machine/technology mashup extends beyond the capability of human beings.

Victor Vinge originally coined the “singularity’ term observing that just as our model of physics breaks down when it tries to model the singularity at the center of a black hole, our model of the world breaks down when it tries to model a future that contains entities smarter than human.

My attempt here is to take some of Kurzweil and Vinge’s thoughts and mash them up with some more pragmatic guidance from Analysts such as Steve Prentice at Gartner who suggests that

“By the end of 2011, 80 percent of active internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have a “second life,” but not neccessarily in Second Life.”

Anyhow the story towards the i-web singularity goes something like this:

The integration between traditional synchronous learning systems such as WebEX, Centra, Adobe Connect, Citrix and 3D Avatar-Mediated platforms is not far away. Karl Kapp and I have written a whole paper on this topic that is available through the e-learning guild site.

I continue to marvel at the speed of the 3D space. My hypothesis is that this speed is driven by the Web 2.0 network that is built around it. Mark Wallace or other notables in Virtual World news post something as soon as they hear it on the grapvine. It is the ultimate in radical transparency and it is this transparency that propels the industry forward informed by the wisdom of the crowd that is both producting and consuming insights on where it is going. For instance, at Virtual Worlds II Ruben Steiger, in his morning keynote, posits that there will be a mash up between Facebook/Myspace and 3D worlds. That AFTERNOON I am at the Active Worlds table where I see an Facebook/Active Worlds mash up. Later I ready that Korea’s Cy World is going to go 3D. If this is where things are going in Consumer land, enterprise can’t be far behind. In fact, it does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that some lower end integration of Webex and Telepresence could be a new Killer App for Cisco, while IBM has already announced plans to integrate 3D with Lotus Connections.

This is the point at which Knowledge MANAGEMENT gets left in the dust. We stop focusing on trying to create “STOCKS” of extracted knowledge from experts, but instead we focus on enabling “FLOWS” of interactions via Blogs, Wikis, Social Tagging and Networking to increase the number of knowledge accidents within the firm. Also, we forego corporate competency modeling in favor of real-time, ongoing tag clouds attributed to both PEOPLE and DOCUMENTS. Blog squads go seek out the truth about an issue or opportunity, Wikis capture the wisdom of crowds around a given topic or task, dynamic social networking enables real-time capability discovery and takes advantage of an affordance long leveraged within MMORPGs and the list goes on.

Finally the integration of SLSs such as Live Meeting and Repository/Work Spaces such as SharePoint just plain makes sense. Marrying interactive work activity with the explicit knowledge required to engage in virtual work is an inevitability. If people like MS or Google get this right (given that Ozzie is now with MS, the chances of the former are good), then we will FINALLY have an intuitive NewWORKed environment where work just plain gets done.

Masup the Mashups and you end up with a totally new platform upon which people work, learn and play. A 3D environment that affords information age work like nothing we have seen before. One that is immersive, interactive, immediate and intuitive. One that unleashes the human capital inside the firm more effortlessly than ever before and one that attracts people to it because it is a space that allows them to uncover endeavors around which they have both the capability and the passion to engage. With something as powerful as this less than 4 years away (and I predict sooner), lets hope that those Human Capital Management folks are paying attention.

Leave a comment

1 Comment

  1. The i-web Singularity Redux « Learning Matters!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: