Thursday, July 19, 2012

The Neuronet

This post is about an idea for a better way of organizing content the internet. Right now the internet is like a library with a card catalog (Google) but with no shelves. My idea aims to act as a kind of shelving system for content. 

It would be similar to the way that one of the first encyclopedias was organized. Instead of alphabetizing the contents, they were arranged based on their placement in this:

"Figurative System of Human Knowledge"

Encyclopedias are now alphabetized instead, because of the linear nature of books, but I think this system is still ideal for arranging content. 

I propose an interface design I'm calling the "neuronet", a way of breaking down each and every concept into interwoven hierarchies of specifications and of generalizations: 

Each point, on these two interlocking tree diagrams, will represent a concept, and will have a web of representations:

A representation would be any name, nickname, symbol, description, response, remix, mash-up, parody, description, synopsis, synonym, comment, reply, cover, or just something inspired by it (so long as it is helpful for the user to identify and distinguish the concept) and can be anything from text, images, videos, links, files, etc. Each representation will have it's own webs of points that are being represented:

Put simply, the neuronet would be an open source wiki-like map of the internet (our collective thoughts). 

It would scale down in a similar way that Google Maps does, showing the main representations for only the points with the most links (if some points tie in amount of links, the point whose links' points have more links will be more visable), for instance, earth will show up before any of the other planets, carbon will show up before other elements. As you zoom into a given section, more will appear. 

Here's how it will be organized. If the only content is these shapes...

...then their organization will look something like this:

On the left side will be search results. On the right side, your personal bookmarked points. 

When you zoom in to find the point for the neuronet itself (and it's contents), you will find the same neuronet within itself. When someone makes a claim that is unsupported, for instance that aliens built the pyramids, it will show up as one of that person's edits and their claims (and perhaps a claim of others as well). The "pyramids" point will not be under the "alien creations" point. So, the small meta-neuronet will act as a kind of discussion page like on Wikipedia.

I'm convinced that this is the next inevitable stage in communication, not primarily with words, but with meanings themselves (words can have multiple meanings, and vice versa, but a meaning can have only one point, and vice versa); not with back-and-forth dialogue, but with thorough exploration of ideas (each aspect separate, but connected). The best way for a few billion brains to interact on a medium like the internet must be to create a kind of interactive brain. The way to create the most productive communication can't be by completely rejecting some ideas and promoting others, but by categorizing all ideas into their appropriate contexts and into the chains of evidence for each claim.