Social Technology does not depend on things people have made, but the one single device which has made the most impact on society is probably the printing press. Now we have cellphones and the Internet, and are in the midst of revolutionary changes in society brought about through technology. But revolution can lead to chaos. Years ago I tried to define what social technology should do for us. So far, it has failed completely.
This is my fourth Social Technology website, the first being from 1996, long before Social Media and Social Apps were big things. My first specification of what social technology can do for us dates from about 1980. Much later, in my first web page posted in 1996 did I spell it out:
- It must be easy to find and create extremely compatible interpersonal relationships, including a spouse, a lover, or just a good friend.
- It must be easy to find and obtain a near-perfect job, perhaps the best for you in a large city. It must be easy to match people with jobs, so that excessive competition will not be necessary.
- It must be easy to manipulate ones social environment in other ways, finding the best educational opportunities and the best places to live.
When I specified extremely compatible interpersonal relationships and near-perfect jobs, I meant that a woman seeking a spouse would not have to settle for the best out of a few hundred possibilities, but the best out of a million. Similarly, she or her new spouse would not have an adequate job, the most suitable out of a hundred sought, but the best one in a million.
In mathematical terms, I described this as a weighted bipartite matching problem, and discussed the social implications of that.
If the software I described in 1996 had existed at the time, I would have had good friends to help and a good job to finance my various projects. That was the whole idea, software to make it easy to find excellent matches — lovers or spouses, best friends and jobs. The best people to collaborate with on something you find important.
Later I extended this to other near-perfect matches, such as the best webpages to read, the best people to pitch an idea to, and even the best stock to buy.
I gave some clues as to the design and implementation of this software at various times, but obviously I need to be much more specific, with fully worked-out examples.
That will take some time, but I’ll try to make public some of my work as soon as possible, including example data along with working programs in Python. While cleaning things up to make that possible, I will put up some of that software engineering stuff, you know, user scenarios, requirements and functional analysis, plus some real design work. Much of this is retrofitted, sad to say. I came up with algorithms and wrote code long before putting up the scaffolding. I am a long way from doing nice GUI user interfaces. What I have now runs from the command line. And, well, it’s not pretty. Much of my code is embarrassing quick and dirty stuff. I’ve to clean it up a bit, but I’ll write up and post some stuff as soon as I can.
I have decided to make a project out of this, and invented the name Social Systems Project. I hope others will join me in implementing my visions.