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In a nutshell, in the same way that all snowflakes in a snowstorm are unique, each person has her specific characteristics and interests. That is why we speak of a "snowflake effect", to indicate that, more and more, we can realize far-reaching forms of personalization and "mass customization". This is the result of new technologies that enable us to move from scarcity to abundance of content that is available to anyone at anytime anywhere, with all the web2.0 social affordances that this entails. This effect will be realized through a hybrid approach with push and pull techniques, in which information is actively requested or searched by the user, but also more and more subtly integrated in her work and learning environment.
"We", in this case, is Wayne and Erik :-) We do quite a few keynotes and presentations on this topic: Erik's slides or Wayne's slides give you some idea of how we see the Snowflake Effect at work in many domains. We typically focus specifically on learning - by people that is, not "machine learning"...
We are preparing a longer paper and have plans for a book on the topic. We would VERY much appreciate your comments!
Some basic background can be found in: Duval, Erik, Hodgins, Wayne Standardized uniqueness: Oxymoron or vision of the future?, IEEE Computer, Vol.39, Issue 3, pp. 96-98, March 2006.
Many thanks to Martin Wolpers and Martin Memmel for their feedback on earlier versions of some of the documents. Acknowledgements should also go to ProLearn, Ariadne, Globe and the many, many folks that came to talk to us at the multitude of events where we presented Snowflake...