Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, May 12, 2003

Interconnected Intelligence - How Powerful Can It Be?

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Yesterday, Sunday, everything started to click at a faster rate than I ever expected. I know I am new to this, but are the millions out there way behind me as well.

What am I talking about?

Networked intelligence.

It is there. It is working. It is doing wonders in less than you eye can blink.

There are so many great minds at work toward creating a better and more harmonious place to live in it is hard to believe that this marvelous force can be stopped dead on its tracks.

But indeed that is the issue we must face today. Either to personally study and learn about this magnificient network and actively contribute to it, or remain untouched, an alien spectator to the most majestic human endeavour ever taken.

Yes, I believe it is of such magnitude.

Thinkers, innovators, technologists, developers, and entrepreneurs of all kinds are linking-up to create new powerful and diversified realities. Determining their rules and the spaces within which to operate.

Like-minded people discover and link-up to each other by using powerful self sustaining networks that provide powerful means of extending your reach rapidly and effectively.

The raise of Ecademy, Ryze,
Linkedin, Friendster, Huminity and other social networks is a social and cultural phenomenon that is having profound effects on how people find out about each other, inreact and co-operate in mutually beneficial relationships.

In this virtual universe ideas interconnect and link up in at the speed of light and its immense creative power is at work 24/7/365.

Such rapid idea molding and create fast growing networks of powerful concepts rippling and bouncing faster than you can ever imagine.

It is my personal advice that each one of us takes a serious committment to understand deeply these communication revolution taking place at this very moment and to make it relevant at the levl where you, personally, can affect the most change and useful application.

Here is an interesting 1-hour broad spectrum scan of what a small fraction of the online interconnected intelligence is actively refining, improving and making available.

As one question of significant, planetary importance pops up in your head, you can be sure there is an army of independent minds working passionately at it.

Here is the proof:

From today I-Sales excellent e-mail discussion list, moderated by John Audette:


From: Gert Cauwenbergh

Hi John

Welcome back. You gave me the extra incentive to start reading I-Sales again daily.

Recent posts on spam and your story on the eBay mock-up made me think.

The Internet paved the path to global economics, sales, transactions, networking.

Everything done from the bottom up.

I always believed in the bottom-up approach of people gathering and pushing for changes, I even built my company on this.

With regard to spam, in recent weeks, I read in the local press (Belgium), global press and online newsletters more and more requests to have a global legislation against spam since it will be the only solution to fight off-shore spammers.

My question: will the Internet and its worldwide community (singular) be the driver to generate global legislation as well?

Kind regards
-- Gert Cauwenbergh

Now please read this:

"Proponents of the Internet have committed to and sought for a more intelligent Internet where new democratic methods could be enabled to help rectify the imbalance and inequalities of the world. Instead, the Internet today is a noisy environment with a great deal of power consolidation instead of the level democratic Internet many envisioned.

In 1993 Howard Rheingold wrote[1],

We temporarily have access to a tool that could bring conviviality and understanding into our lives and might help revitalize the public sphere. The same tool, improperly controlled and wielded, could become an instrument of tyranny.

The vision of a citizen-designed, citizen-controlled worldwide communications network is a version of technological utopianism that could be called the vision of "the electronic agora."

In the original democracy, Athens, the agora was the marketplace, and more--it was where citizens met to talk, gossip, argue, size each other up, find the weak spots in political ideas by debating about them.

But another kind of vision could apply to the use of the Net in the wrong ways, a shadow vision of a less utopian kind of place--the Panopticon.

Since then he has been criticized as being naive about his views.[2] This is because the tools and protocols of the Internet have not yet evolved enough to allow the emergence of Internet democracy to create a higher-level order. As these tools evolve we are on the verge of an awakening of the Internet.

This awakening will facilitate a political model enabled by technology to support those basic attributes of democracy which have eroded as power has become concentrated within corporations and governments.

It is possible that new technologies may enable a higher-level order, which in turn will enable a form of emergent democracy able to manage complex issues and support, change or replace our current representative democracy.

It is also possible that new technologies will empower terrorists or totalitarian regimes. These tools will have the ability to either enhance or deteriorate democracy and we must do what is possible to influence the development of the tools for better democracy."

Keep reading Emergent Democracy Paper here. (Hats to Joi Ito and his teammates for such excellent work).

Having now a better idea of the actual scope and breadth of what INDIVIDUALS and LIKE-MINDED groups, self-organized in dynamic networks aspire and are capable of, you may be ready to jump into viewing at how seriously indeed the new interconnected intelligence can become capable of becoming an alternative political force.

Here is what somebody else around the world is writing. This piece carries forward some powerful and highly interesting ideas about how relevant and effective this new grassroots networked power can actually come to be.

Please read:

"There is an emerging second superpower, but it is not a nation. Instead, it is a new form of international player, constituted by the “will of the people” in a global social movement.

The beautiful but deeply agitated face of this second superpower is the worldwide peace campaign, but the body of the movement is made up of millions of people concerned with a broad agenda that includes social development, environmentalism, health, and human rights.

This movement has a surprisingly agile and muscular body of citizen activists who identify their interests with world society as a whole—and who recognize that at a fundamental level we are all one. These are people who are attempting to take into account the needs and dreams of all 6.3 billion people in the world—and not just the members of one or another nation. Consider the members of Amnesty International who write letters on behalf of prisoners of conscience, and the millions of Americans who are participating in email actions against the war in Iraq. Or the physicians who contribute their time to Doctors Without Borders/ Medecins Sans Frontieres.


"New forms of communication and commentary are being invented continuously...

The current enthusiasm for blogging is changing the way that people relate to publication, as it allows realtime dialogue about world events as bloggers log in daily to share their insights.

Meta-blogging sites crawl across thousands of blogs, identifying popular links, noting emergent topics, and providing an instantaneous summary of the global consciousness of the second superpower.


The Internet and other interactive media continue to penetrate more and more deeply all world society, and provide a means for instantaneous personal dialogue and communication across the globe.

The collective power of texting, blogging, instant messaging, and email across millions of actors cannot be overestimated.

Like a mind constituted of millions of inter-networked neurons, the social movement is capable of astonishingly rapid and sometimes subtle community consciousness and action.

Distributed mass behavior, expressed in rallying, in voting, in picketing, in exposing corruption, and in purchases from particular companies, all have a profound effect on the nature of future society. More effect, I would argue, than the devastating but unsustainable effect of bombs and other forms of coercion."


Aming many other powerful considerations, one stands particularly valuable to me and to those who may have been highly critical of the politics and operations of some of the largest international development organizations.

"...we must carefully consider how best to support international institutions, so that they collectively form a setting in which our power can be exercised.

Perhaps too often we attack institutions like the World Bank that might, under the right conditions, actually become partners with us in dealing with the first superpower.

International institutions must become deeply more transparent, accessible to the public, and less amenable to special interests, while remaining strong enough to provide a secure context in which our views can be expressed."
This paper was recently prepared by James F. Moore of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society

Please read the full paper "The Second Superpower Rears its Beautiful Head" by James F. Moore.

As you have seen, the view on how significant and critical the effect on new social networking aspects of our society may vary quite a bit, but in all cases, they all appear to have the potential of providing governance and legislation as much more of the online rules determine also our options to communicate and freely exchange.

How Communication Agents like me and you will confront this opportunity will bear significant changes on how we live, co-operate and go about the business of living together harmoniously in a learning society.

Something to start seriously thinking about.

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posted by Robin Good on Monday, May 12 2003, updated on Tuesday, May 5 2015

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