Bacterial Computer Article gets Peer-to-Peer Review on Slashdot

July 26, 2009 · Posted in economics 

Co-author of a scientific paper is part of the informal hyper networked high tech community participating in a real peer-to-peer review.

The Guardian, a mainstream media outlet, does an article about a scientific paper. A forum thread is started about the article on Slashdot, the extremely popular forum of serious computer geeks. The participants of Slashdot post scathing reviews. Read the comment, they tear the article apart. But more interesting, the actual co-author of the paper posts a comment.

His paper is about computer technology and it gets mentioned on a forum about computer technology and the co-author happens to be a member of that forum. But this is not some formal university affiliated journal, this is an informal online forum. Anyone can join and post.

As the co-author of the paper, Andrew Martens says in a comment on Slashdot, “The Guardian article is rather misleading and inaccurate”. In the old world top down system the truth would not get very far. If pressured the professional gatekeepers might decide to print a redaction on some back page but in the new highly distributed peer-to-peer world that truth and many others are almost instantly spread to everyone who is interested.

The participants on Slashdot criticized the significance of the research. In his comment, Andrew Marten defends his works saying, “I’m more excited about the proof-of-concept: we can encode a mathematical problem by using a molecule, hand it to a living organism, and get a correct output.”

Oddly enough that is basically what happened with Slashdot. The problem of analyzing a complex issue in encoded and its handed to living organisms that get the correct output. The benefits of bacterial computers is hyper parallel processing. The communications technology of the Internet has allowed humans to freely merge their thinking capabilities to very quickly find the solutions to problems.

This is serious peer review and more, its collaboration.