: Susan Crawford is at some egghead event about complexity and she’s blogging it. That’s guts.

In today’s report, there’s a fascinating bit from Mary Ann Allison of the Allison group saying that societies were once described by gemeinschaft (think community) and the, after the industrial revolution, as gesellschaft (think society). We’re at a next stage:

Allison doesn’t see these as oppositional systems, but rather as stages in evolution — and she thinks we’re at a big punctuation point prompted by the information revolution. The new society is gecyberschaft.

So if your unit of community in gemeinschaft was the village, it became “friends and family” in gesellschaft, and it’s now your “primary attention group.” You pay attention to that group (or groups, I’d hope she’d say) and to “groups of purpose” — groups neither bound to a place nor to a particular bureaucracy.

In gemeinschaft, your status was ascribed (based on birth); in gesellschaft, it was achieved; and now, in gecyberschaft, it’s assessed.

Is this on the final?

But seriously… It is a compelling concept: Has society fundamentally changed again? Are the old strings that tied us together replaced with (and tangled in) new strings that not only cut across geography, boundaries, and societies but also are created and valued in entirely new means and measurements? We are assessed not by our bloodline and not by our location or income or education but instead by our connections. Hmmmm.

: LATER: Matt Bruce calls gecybershaft “extreme language torture.” Yes, I thought gememeshaft was a bit more elegant.

: Kenneth suggests gebyteshaft.

: Martin in the comments slaps us all (as my German teacher used to) for torturing not just English but German and explains it well.

I just tried to use Google to translate various English words to German to find a more legitimate construction. I loved what happened. I put in these distinct words, looking for a translation for each: “link connection network net string wire.” Google, acting quite German, came back and gave me this: Verbindungsanschlu