Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Human Nature and Social Networks

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community
I liked this paper a lot (thanks, Tom, for the link) though I admit to rolling my eyes at the Hobbes-Rousseau opening. Still, this is fundamentally right: humans have developed the ability to reduce what might be called the transaction costs of communication through effective internalization of social conventions, such as the use and recognition of language, behaviours and other forms of interaction. Historically, because of the difficulty of communication, this has limited our social sphere to about 150 people; beyond that, and instead of the informal mechanisms we employ to, say, build trust, a more formalized and usually hierarchal communications system is needed. The development of effective peer-to-peer technologies, however, has the effect of lowering the transaction costs of communication, essentially allowing us to increase our social sphere. Trust me. More reading from the same site.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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Last Updated: Jun 22, 2024 9:47 p.m.

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