Turn your personal mob into an army


16 Responses to “Turn your personal mob into an army”

  1. Jacob Helwig says:

    Android app link is broken.  Here’s the correct one: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tastylabs.humanio

  2. OtherMichael says:

    We’re not approaching the singularity, but we do seem to be approaching Maneki Neko.

    “Maneki Neko” is an upbeat, funny story that portrays a logical extension of the late, lamented “gift economy” upon which the Internet was built. The central principle was that if people contributed what they could to the system for free, everyone would wind up better off.

    In Sterling’s near-future Japan, Tsuyoshi Shimizu is one of many people who follow the prompts of the ubiquitous network. When the net tells Tsuyoshi to give a weary stranger a coffee, or buy a bottle of aftershave, he does it without worrying about the reason; in return, anonymous packages arrive with useful gifts such as baby clothes and pickles for his pregnant wife. Strangers on network business identify themselves to one another via hand-signals, but different regions of the net have different signal dialects.

    “Maneki Neko” runs counter to every paranoid story ever written about computers taking over our lives. Computers have made people anonymous, but not impersonal. Even those who try to fight the system benefit from it. Trust the computer; the computer really is your friend. (source)

    “Well,” Tsuyoshi said gently, “maybe my economy is better than your economy.”

    • chadmulligan says:

      And don’t forget Charlie Stross and his great idea for outsourcing intelligence gathering and espionage through VR-based Alternate Reality Games….

    • Good call. Maneki Neko is totally a big inspiration for us.

    • Susan Carley Oliver says:

      I just gobbled down that entire story – thank you for posting that! What a lovely concept.

    • SoItBegins says:

      I can think of an objection to that one.

      Infrastructure, and the problem of ‘foundational’ bad actors
      The system only works as described in the story through the mediation of semi-aware programs designed for networking use. While it’s a non-trivial problem to design such a network, if it can be designed— what’s to stop the network from being perverted, and used the other way?
      Suppose Person A is told to bring a pair of shears to a certain place. Then suppose Person B is told to take the shears and cut the brake cable of a specific bicycle that parks in that location. Person C is instructed to obstruct the owner of that bike in traffic. Because of this, Person D loses control of their bike and is injured, or worse.

      Who’s responsible for Person D’s injury or death? Persons A, B, C? Maybe. But did they know what was going on? Can you say that the real killer was the network? Does that mean the network is self-aware?

      Be careful, granting self-awareness to things. I know this is a horrible way to see the world, but sooner or later, people will try to weaponize ANYTHING. :(

      • OtherMichael says:

         I’m guessing that in a mature network there would be a certain reputational component involved, and that consequences of actions are [somehow?!!] involved in the algorithm (hey, I’m making hypothetical suppositions about the future. It’s made of  positronic computronium and approved by the Geneva Heat).

        Another arguement against the system being completely perverted, is that everybody else in the system _doesn’t want_ it to be perverted. Or a significant number don’t — hence, Wikipedia vandalism is stopped and cleaned up.

        Which is, admittedly, text edits, and not cut brake-cables.

        I suppose I’m thinking of a system where the requests and follow-throughs cannot be private, so that [agents interested-parties home-bounds] that watch for [things like cut-brakes] will start taking an interest in the vicinity.

      • FoolishOwl says:

        I haven’t read the story yet, but from the outline, it sounds as if individual actions are voluntary. Presumably in a real application of this idea — like human.io — there would be some noise in the system, as people make accidental or ill-considered requests. People are quite used to filtering out noise of that kind

        So I would expect that there would be the occasional prank, but things worse than pranks would be rare. And in a world in which one can get almost anything they want just by asking politely, what’s the motivation for violence?

    • benher says:

      Reminds me of the Japanese treatment of robots. We ride in them to fight monsters or they are our friends, helpers, companions, even lovers… 
      In America, they run, eat meat, and attempt to slay all of mankind.

  3. Cally Powers says:

    This reminds me very much of the art/game/happening site SF0. Funnifying of seemingly random actions, but with a covert purpose, if only to gain surreal “points” over other participating “teams”.
    I’m not a member, but I seriously considered joining at one time.


  4. Brian Cain says:

    ….and countdown to 4chan discovering it and using it in a horrible yet ironic way that was never intended….

    “And what rough app, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Youtube to be born?

  5. OtherMichael says:

    “Hey, could you check on….”

    - get a current photo of the house you grew up in, several states away [uh, obvious stalker implications, here]
    - have someone ring your {grandparents’, mothers’, great-aunt’s, reclusive-coder-friend-who-forgets-to-eat’s} doorbell and record a quick conversation about their state of well-being.
    - see if my car keys are under that bench
    - I will paypal you $1 if you give a dollar to that street-performer I’ve been watching via the traffic-cams all week

  6. xiagang says:

    This is awesome. Just awesome! 

  7. gd23 says:

    Mechanical Turk?

  8. GeorgeMokray says:

    How could 350.org use this?  Monitoring short-term climate forces like black carbon, diesel exhausts, and methane leaks to reduce particulates and tropospheric ozone precursors and slow their global warming effects?  Survey all the buildings in a city and begin to prioritize the ones that waste the most energy and need the most retrofit?  Streamlining traffic flows?

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