This week I listened to Don Tapscott deliver an opening keynote at SXSW, Rethinking Civilization for the Social Age. Beyond showcasing all the functional elements of a gifted speaker, he offered the kind of ideas that left me thinking about magnitude of everything I see happening around me. His presentation centered on new models of solving global problems. His message centered in the idea that the world is broken and we need a new set of networked institutions to enable us to function as a civilization.
These are my notes/takeaways as I tapped them into Evernote:
This is not an information age. This is not an information age, its an age of collaboration and participation. The internet allows us access to others intelligence. Social networking and self-production is becoming a new mode of production. It’s how we orchestrate capabilities. We’re experiencing a new web. The old web was based on the presentation of content. It was a continuation of the old media. Someone makes a website and presents content. Eyeballs and stickiness and clicks and views. Now we have a global, ubiquitous computational platform that’s mobile and multimedia and high in bandwidth. Millions or objects are becoming smart communicating devices. It’s this pervasive, ambient computing that enables collaboration.
Institutions are failing. We’re at a turning point in history and we must reboot our institutions, especially education. We offer the very best model of education that 17th century technology can offer. Our current system of education is based on an industrial era model. Something at the center or the top pushes out something to recipients. People with the knowledge push to those without knowledge. Scale, standardization. Memorize, drill and kill.
We’re experiencing a demographic revolution. We’re digital immigrants. This is the first time in history when children are authorities of what’s happening. And there is no more powerful force than the digital natives. In the 60’s, we experienced the generation gap. “the generation lap”, they are lapping us. The idea that the current generation is an army of narcissists is a stereotype. There’s no data to support it. This is the smartest generation. And blaming the internet for any shortcomings of this age is like blaming the library for ignorance. As digital immigrants we fear what we don’t’ understand.
Privacy is an important element of society. Privacy is the foundation of a free society and, ultimately, the foundation of the self. We assume that governments are benevolent. Little brother is another problem. Companies collect information and don’t tell us what they’ll use it for. We need to protect by data minimization. We must be vigilant in the way we design our information environment.
5 Principles for the age of networked intelligence: Collaboration, transparency, sharing intellectual property, interdependence, integrity.
“The future is not something to be predicted, the future is something to be achieved.” And we can achieve a very different future. The future does not fit within the current paradigms and everything we understand has to be rebooted.
Looking to nature to understand a new world of networked intelligence. In order to try to understand how human networked intelligence could work, Tapscott offered the example of starling murmurations, one of the most spectacular sights of nature. The murmuration has a function: It warms the birds and protects them. There is leadership but there is no one leader. There is a great interdependence. Individual interests are linked to the whole group. Can we learn from this? If we connect this way could we go beyond just exchanging information to sharing intelligence?
All of this has tremendous implications for health and medical education. I’ll be pondering his ideas for a long time. His latest book is Macrowikinomics. While I haven’t read Macrowikinomics, it’s on my list.