The increasingly interconnected world brings up the new challenges related to rapid defragmentation of information and cognitive overload. The existing recommender systems and social networks tend to pack concepts and people into tightly-knit interest communities producing so-called “filter bubbles" (Pariser 2011), making it difficult for such systems to evolve, adapt, and innovate.
To address those challenges, we developed several social interaction strategies and online tools that are aimed at creating the new possibilities for communication and learning. The intention is to find out how the framework of networks can be used to enhance our learning strategies and expand one’s capabilities for social interactions. Specifically, we’re interested in the notion of metastability – the ability of a dynamical system to maintain several distinct latent states at once, which can interact and produce complex behavior on the global level. Metastable dynamics has been shown to be essential to adaptability of a complex system, which has to respond to the constantly changing environment.
In this seminar we will present several case studies conducted by Nodus Labs. One of the projects we will present to exemplify our ideas is the online text network visualization tool - http://textexture.com - which can be used to represent any text as a network of interrelated concepts. The graph can then be used to get a general idea or a summary of the text’s content, as well as the relations between the different topics present within the text. It can also be used for non-linear fast reading, allowing the users to create different narratives that are more relevant to their fields of interest. We will also present several case studies from our workshop and educational practice (see http://noduslabs.com for more information), where we created so-called “constructed situations”. In those carefully designed social settings we invited the participants to explore the basic ideas of network dynamics and metastability. The intention was to demonstrate how network thinking can be used to increase one’s choices in any social or collaborative situation and lead to a better awareness of communicative dynamics within a group of people.