When I first saw Joi’s post about a flashmob supercomputer, I assumed it was referring to something completely different. Instead of using current flashmobs to create a computer, why not actually generate use a computer to generate the flashmob itself? The most interesting thing about flashmobs was the sense of randomness; that a group of people who had never before met were connected by some unseen force, would come together to do something, and then immediately disperse.
The problem, of course, was that they weren’t all that random. As with any phenomenon largely controlled by a central source on the net, it was easy to find them on the net (want to find the flash mobs in North Dakota?), the press got involved, and they were over before they even started.
So, what’s the best way to make them more random? The answer is obvious: Control them with computer, of course. The computer should pick the time, the attendees, and the action to be performed. No other invitations would be allowed.
Somehow, the idea of humans gathering and manifesting in public for no real purpose other than to satisfy the capricious whims of a computer sitting in a closet is so very appealing…