I just did the dots test. I was more motivated to get the correct answer than to get the max cash.
What is Social Computation?
One of the earliest writers on ‘social computation’ was Andrew P. McAfee, a principal research scientist at the MIT Sloan School of Management. McAfee writes about social computing in his article, “Enterprise 2.0: The Dawn of Emergent Collaboration,” (MIT Technology Review, April 2006).
“…[Examples of social computing platforms include] off-the-shelf computing devices such as laptops and cell phones, both of which allow users to tap into Web-based social-software systems built in a largely unplanned way by people using common programming languages and shared, open communications protocols and development tools. These systems don’t have to be designed as unified, integrated systems, like Project Oxygen’s Intelligent Room, in order to be useful tools for social computing; they can just as well emerge from the bottom up, the way peer-to-peer networks and the Web itself did. (Indeed, one reason that projects at PARC, Project Oxygen, and other labs have never really blossomed into commercial systems may be that they are too heavily engineered for preconceived uses.) And we don’t really need computers to disappear into the woodwork, or to have elaborate spoken-word interfaces. In fact, today’s social-software boom rests on common devices such as mobile phones, computers, digital cameras, and portable music players.”
What I would like to contribute to the conversation is the following:
Of primary interest to me is the creative potential that socially-based computation can provide for the field of mass customization. My current research explores social computation through web-aided design platforms that enable consumers to play a participatory role in the design of products and spaces. As concepts in web-based computing evolve towards semantic technologies and platforms driven by social computing, professional designers should develop new tools for integrated user participation.
For me, social computation is about enabling consumers with these new socially driven design tools that enable them to make more sustainable, healthy, and creative choices.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of doing this earlier - though I’m no longer technically a student, as a staff member, I can still participate in classes at MIT. So this semester I decided to participate in Sarah Szalavitz’s Media Lab course, Social Design MAS.964.
Sarah is the founder and CEO of 7-Robot, a social media consultancy firm, and she’s the producer of ZapRoot, a weekly webTV series on sustainable living.
From the class syllabus, “In-depth exploration of Social Design, rooted in behavioral economics, interactive design, media (old,new, social or trans) and neuroscience, focused on how to encourage participation and build community, be it online or in physical space. Topics include the transformation from publishing to participation, how we make decisions, the precepts of social design, incentivized participation, gaming & choice optimization, transparency, flexibility, and the shift from stories to systems.”
The class has been fantastic so far (it inspired me to finally create my blog). The reading list is primarily what convinced me I should take the class:
Free, Chris Anderson, http://www.scribd.com/doc/17135767/FREE-by-Chris-Anderson
Predictably Irrational, Dan Ariely
How We Decide, Jonah Lehrer
Reality is Broken, Jane McGonigal
Your Brain Is Almost Perfect, Read Montague
Here Comes Everybody, Clay Shirky
Macro-Wikinomics, Don Tapscott & Anthony Williams
Nudge, Richard Thaler & Cass Sunstein
I’ll be posting my thoughts on these books and our class discussions that emerge over the next few months.
SCG is an MIT-Industry collaboration devoted to improving the ability of companies to efficiently customize products, services, and experiences in various industries and for diverse customer groups.
The Smart Customization Group hosts numerous events each year including lectures, workshops and seminars on mass customization. Our events are intended to bring together researchers and industry leaders in mass customization to share ideas and establish a community of members to further develop and deploy the principles of smart customization.
Its faculty consists of Frank Piller, Kent Larson, Joe Pine, Marvin Minsky, Ryan Chin, Daniel Smithwick, and Fabrizio Salvador as well as other members from the MIT community. While it’s members are international researchers, the group is based in the MIT Media Lab and Department of Architecture.
The 2011 World Conference on Mass Customization, Personalization, and Co-Creation (MCPC 2011): Bridging Mass Customization & Open Innovation
San Francisco Airport Marriot Hotel & Conference Center, November 15-19, 2011
mcpc2011.com | twitter: #mcpc2011 | download Call for Papers
After the large success of the MCPC conference at MIT in 2007, this conference series is coming back to the US! For 2011, we teamed uo with Prof. Henry Chesbrough from the Center for Open Innovation, Haas School of Business at the University of California Berkeley. He will be the local host of the conference.
In 2011, the conference will bridge two topics that have been driving our research since many years: mass customization and open innovation. There are many common themes and topics between these two domains. Head here for a discussion of the connections between mass customization and open innovation.
Quirky, founded by Ben Kauffman in 2008, is one of my favorite examples of mass customization and user-generated design.