Even a Duck’s Quack Echos: The Danger of Networks

Ok, so that wasn’t the original TED title but I like mine better (it’ll make sense if you’ve ever gotten one of those “amazing fact” emails).

This is an old TED video from way back in 2005 but this one portion really hits home with me. I started to transcribe the notes and then got lazy- so my non exact notes are below and the video clip is embedded. I trimmed it to 3:30 but the whole thing is interesting, especially when looking back at 2005 and thinking how much more enmeshed in networks we have become and how much print journalism has continued to change.

duck echos

Rough notes for those who will never watch the video
It’s easy to believe networks are good. The dark side, the more tightly linked we become the harder it is to stay independent.

A network is not just a product of its component parts, it is something more than that.

The problem is that groups are only smart when the people in them are as independent as possible- paradox of collective intelligence.

Networks make it harder for people to think independently because they drive attention to the things the network values.
one of the phenomenons – meme gets going it’s easy to pile on, that piling on phenomenon, that essentially throws off bottom up intelligence

metaphor of the circular mill – ant colony, no ant really knows what it’s doing but they reach food super efficient – little parts = great thing

occasionally army ants go astray – if they get lost they just do what the ant in front of them does, this can result in a circle where the ants just march around and around until they all die.