How can I comprise here the full spectrum of innovative ideas mentioned in the text? Maybe, just maybe if I represent them visually as a tag cloud…
Meditating on the example of the puzzle solving game on ilovebees.com, the author addresses a question:
If ingenious games designers can inspire thousands of people to collaborate to solve a puzzle, could we do something similar to tackle global warming, keep communities safe, provide support for the elderly, help disaster victims, lend and borrow money, conduct political and policy debates, teach and learn, design and make physical products?
In the end, the main concept is simple. By the powerful storm of the new communication technologies, mobs that think and act collectively are taking over areas dominated before by scholars, organizations, institutions, and corporations. There’s an evolutionary process taking place as we speak, a process that is experimenting with replacing the hierarchical top-down organizations with peer-to-peer forms of self-organized mobs. Citizens have now a worldly opportunity to organize themselves without the trappings of traditional institutions.
Nowadays we have mob politics, mob branding, mob science, mob learning and so on. Leadbetter offers wonderful examples of each mob. What I found to be interesting is the observation about processes that truly promote democracy: the broadband by which mobs communicate, get organized and act proves itself to be more efficient in bringing democratic change –- consider the example of the political opposition in Vietnam, entirely founded and organized via Internet –- than the billions of dollars spent by US on the war in Iraq.
Also, one other thing that caught my attention in the case of mob experimental science is that further and faster spread of knowledge results in an accelerations of testing ideas and theories. Those who address criticism to the minor errors met in collective amateur projects like Wikipedia forget that this social experiment is still in its incipient phase and that there’s still a lot more to come and to be perfected. In fact, perfection seems to be more easily acquirable by collective effort.
So, the future doesn’t bring a mechanical, unconscious, and abusive collective in which individuals lose their identity and freedom of opinion and action, but an organic one, comprising creative and conscious individuals. The future is not Borg. The Future is Mob.