Just 3 million of my closest associates

Jordan Weisman, cofounder of 4orty-2wo, as interviewed in the East Bay Express’s
The Buzzmakers

“Our theory was if we posed the question in the right way, and inspired a group of people — a small group initially — to try to find the answers, they would organically start to enlist a larger and larger group. As that group grew, it would come to quickly represent every knowledge base, and every skill base you could imagine, plus a virtually unlimited amount of time, energy, and resources.”
“And we were right, but by an order of magnitude we were off…Damn, there is nothing they can’t solve; there is nothing they can’t solve instantly.”

Weisman is talking about the participants in their massive alternate reality roleplaying games/viral marketing campaigns. 4orty-2wo’s creations: the AI project and ILoveBees.com. But in my mind, he could have been talking about Wikipedia. Or discussion forums. Or open source software.

The designers, in fact, concluded they were no longer building games for individuals, but for a “hive mind” composed of millions of walking, talking neurotransmitters. Rather than diffusing across nerve synapses, these transmitters processed information via cell phones, chat rooms, and Web forums.

The Internet continues to shape and reshape global communications…