Government & Citizens, The Global Brain
Collective Intelligence for Better Living
Better living Collective Intelligence is a shared intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of citizens and government focused on common goals together and appears in consensus decision making. This Collective Intelligence is what forms the Global Brain that helps decision makers discover what they need to know rather than what they think they need to know. The concept of a Global Brain is the “value goal” of Government 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, and is the core of most non-profit organizations.
Where is this “Global Brain”?
Brains can be extremely complex. The cerebral cortex of the human brain contains roughly 15–33 billion neurons, perhaps more, depending on gender and age, linked with up to 10,000 synaptic connections each. Each cubic millimeter of cerebral cortex contains roughly one billion synapses. These neurons communicate with one another by means of long protoplasmic fibers called axons, which carry trains of signal pulses called action potentials to distant parts of the brain or body and target them to specific recipient cells.
Some might imagine this “Global Brain” being locked up by the government miles below the earth’s surface surrounded by lead clad cement walls 10 feet thick. The reality is, the Global Brain is actually free and in the open. Part of this Global Brain is in that woman you saw at the coffee shop, another part is in her child. Another part is in that old man you saw on your way to work. The Collective Intelligence of the Global Brain is easily surfaced through the internet on the world wide web. An example of this Global Brain is people collaborating through Web 2.0 technologies to improve their neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, and planet. This is where we recognize the value of Government 2.0 through Citizen engagement.
What is Government 2.0?
The future of our society and the government is looking very exciting, but before we look at where we are going with Government 2.0, lets take a quick look back. The term “Government 2.0” is derived from the term “Web 2.0″. The term “Web 2.0″ was made popular by Tim O’Reilly, but may of been actually used first by Darcy DiNucci in this “Fragmented Future” article for Print Magazine in 1999. “The relationship of the Web 1.0 to the Web of tomorrow is roughly the equivalence of Pong to The Matrix. Today’s web is essentially a proto-type — a proof of concept.” ~Darcy DiNucci. Darcy goes on to urge developers to think about smaller screens, minimal storage, nonexistent keyboards, several other information design considerations. The article refers to supporting standards for apps, widgets, and gadgets to enable third-party development (This is very important for the “Internet of Things”). Darcy also mentions the book, “Pentagram” by Randall Rothenberg, a collection of 50 case studies completed since 1993 by the prestigious Anglo-American design consultancy partnership. Web 2.0 is the use of web-based technology to facilitate participation. Government 2.0 is the government’s use of web-based technology to engage citizens and facilitate participation. The real definition of Government 2.0 will be defined by citizens. Learn more about how surprise, experimentation and solutions have helped to define Gov 2.0 in “The Three Phases of Government 2.0” by Mark Drapeau (@cheeky_geeky).
What if Government was a Lean Startup?
Doing More with Less
Government agencies and large corporations can learn a lot from non-profit organizations and small business. Organizations like the Red Cross (@RedCross), All Hands (@AllHands), and many more can accomplish amazing things through collaborative efforts with little resources. This includes communities supporting local food banks and other social services through neighborhood churches and local organizations. These are people taking local action affecting global impact. The world, as we know it can be transformed by applying these principals to government.
What is PB&J Gov 2.0?
A Portable, Better, & Just-in-time Government (PB&J Gov 2.0) is possible through Citizen engagement. Pew Research Center’s study, “Rise of the ‘Apps Culture‘” shows the widespread embrace of mobile technology has come the development of an “apps culture”. This trend puts a rich set of communication options at our fingertips. These new communication options enable citizens to instantly report potholes, track public transportation schedules, and many more as described in this article by Alex Howard (@digiphile) “Citizensourcing smarter government in New York City“.
The concept of Open Government and Gov 2.0 is not unique to the United States of America. Gov 2.0 is very much alive in the United Kingdom. People in India are also embracing this idea “Gov 2.0 and Open Government Take Root in India“.
Today’s applications no longer require endless lines of code, just take a look at these fun game apps created with under 10 kilobytes of code. The ability of mixing data to bake incredible new things is becoming easier with all the SDKs, APIs, and tools and other countless resources. Examples of very helpful apps created by people from all walks of life are available in App Stores popping up everywhere. Great apps are also available in Google’s Enterprise App Store.
Today’s government is becoming much more portable. The adoption rate and security improvements of mobile devices enables communication anytime from anywhere. Apps, widgets, and gadgets on these devices support collaboration as needed in “real world” situations.
Top leaders in the world surround themselves with smart people that are very good at specific tasks. Most government leaders do this too, but why stop there? Why not “Citizensource”? Citizens have a vested interest in what the government is doing. Citizens can also surface new ideas and a diverse group will reduce the risk of “Groupthink“.
The collaborative effort of citizens and government working together to solve local and global problems will reduce costs and improve response time.
The Processing Power of the Collective Intelligence Brain
Kevin Kelly in this TED Talks video presentation, shares mind-boggling information on how the web compares to a human brain (HB). “The World Wide Web is amazing, but yet we are not amazed.” He explains how the power of the web in 2007 equaled one Human Brain (HB). He goes on to explain, with the current growth rate, how it will equal 6 Billion Human Brains (HB) by 2037. The total processing power of our collective intelligence through the web will exceed the total processing power of all humanity by 2040. Another important take-away from this video is how EVERY device in the world will be connected to this one machine/brain we know as the world wide web. These devices (computers, phones, watches, chips, …) are just mere windows (portals) to the collective intelligence brain of the world wide web. Some organizations and government agencies are harnessing this power with the use of “Cloud Computing”. This brain speaks to us with Apps, Widgets, and Gadgets through it’s languages of XML, RSS, API, RDF, OWL, and SPARQL. Kevin Kelly gives us plenty to think about in this TED Talk video here.
How to get Involved with Government 2.0
There are many creative ways to get involved with Government 2.0, shaping the future of government and improving lives. Here are just a few to get the imagination started, I hope people add more through the comments here.
- Open Government Featured Innovations
- Challenge.gov, a place where the citizens and government can solve problems together
- FCC Open Internet Apps Challenge
- Health 2.0 App Inspiration Gallery
- Researchers Unveil Platform To Kick Off Contest for Health Apps
- SMArt Prize for Patients, Physicians, and Researchers
- Federal Gov’t releases data.gov.au
- Gov 2.0: A New Way to Serve