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10 May 2008

Mark Pesce's ideas - hyperconnectivity and hyperempowerment

Mark always has interesting ideas and he tends to think laterally connecting ideas in new ways. This often sparks off new lines of thought for me too. He's been talking about 'hyperconnectivity' that leads to 'hyperempowerment' for a while now, most recently in his posts here and here and in the film version of his talk here.

These ideas of increased connection between individuals leading to empowerment are important. As we come to understand more about how our brains work based on neuroscience, it is clear that there are certain patterns and behaviours that the internet favours and enhances.

An introduction to this area is The Social Brain. Biology of conflicts and cooperation from the Barcelona 2004 Forum.

Some things to consider are the human ability to build and use language to shape and create reality; the nature of and existence of altruism in humans; and the nature of conflict and cooperation in human society.

Each of these areas is vast, complex and difficult to comprehend. Their impact on how humans will evolve the use of technology and the internet (and even the possible development of a mainstream metaverse) must be considered. Why? Because we can create for both good and evil, and without consciously seeking good we might allow evil to flourish.

Technology is tool that can be used to create great things, it has already made human lives longer and more comfortable. It is up to us to create the future that we want, for good or ill.

One thing is certain, hyperconnectivity enables us to magnify the effects of anything that we do. Where once we could influence only a handful of individuals, now we can recruit vast numbers to our cause. Hyperempowerment means that we can coordinate the efforts of many in ways previously unimagined. A game changer indeed for both society and business.

The interesting thing about this hyperconnectivity is that it is exponential. While a single individual may only be connected to several hundred people by way of various online communities - using the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon principle - they are actually connected to many more individuals. When these individuals start to cooperate to achieve common goals it is going to be very interesting for companies and society. But the challenge is how we can channel this connectedness in positive as well as negative ways.

By Carruthers via Aide-mémoire

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