Knowledge Reuse, Learning, and Machines
Peer production allows new kinds of organizations. They are based on repositories of explicit knowledge. For example, designs are modified and recombined for manufacture using 3D printers. Programs are modified and recombined on source forges. Articles are modified on Wikis, and proposals are modified on contest sites. These different artifacts form similar product networks that look like lineage trees. They also have associated with them comments and rationales, the traces of design decisions. Machines hold the repositories, provide recommendations, and sometimes generate edits. An analysis of product networks will lead to a discussion of reuse, organizational learning, and the design of peer production processes.
Jeffrey V. Nickerson is the Director of the Center for Decision Technologies and Professor in the School of Business at Stevens Institute of Technology. He is currently on sabbatical at the MIT Sloan School of Management. His research focuses on collective creativity. He is engaged in two current NSF-funded projects, one on solving large-scale societal problems using crowds and communities, the other on the collective design of 3D objects. He has a Ph.D. in Computer Science, and has industry experience in the design of software systems.