Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Response to W. Malone and Mark Klein's Harnessing Collective Intelligence to Address GLobal Climate Change


“Harnessing Collective Intelligence to Address Global Climate Change”

– Response by Thierry Hubert

As an early designer and adopter of collaborative technologies, from my days at PWC and Lotus/IBM, I have to express my enthusiasm and optimism when I read your article. The “Stories of a Possible Future” are very inspiring and offer a practical use of WEB 2.0 collaborative technologies that serve an initiated and dedicated community of users. I can’t help but make the parallel with the promise of breaking the enterprise vertical division through collaborative technologies with hope being that knowledge from one department would be visible in the other to improve responsiveness and productivity. Since then we have seen the emergence of runagate initiatives that move faster than the organization’s ability to absorb, thus creating an organic model for collaboration. These technologies and collaborative models are now available on the WEB. The reality is that they are not new. They have a greater reach and are initiated without governance. In reading the paper I found the scenarios compelling but still catering to a federated extended community. The social WEB2.0 social dimension and its interest in Global Warming through ideas and concerns do not appear to be captured and leveraged in this proposition. Furthermore, the elevation of scientific data to the common people for actionable use in terms of political pressure and awareness would require the Climate Collaboratorium’s actors be willing to extrapolate their finding in a consumable by the public. I also would like to understand a little more about rating information in such a complex corpus of information and simulation tools. The simple facts and highly rated information are not enough to have an impact when faced with socio-political challenges and interests. Scientists and reputable professors with empirical evidence and data are still challenged by opposition that serves to lower the reality being expressed. Throughout history evidence that conflicts with economic forces and the establishment are met with resistance. A collaborative Web can serve both sides and user ranking as a mean to elevate conflicting points-of-view. I would be very interested to see how a social conflict dimension could be made visible, as well as a physical constraint. Perhaps a consolidation of the WEB20 though contextual lenses, instead of popular ranking, with Climate Collaboratium would help bring awareness to the concerned and fragmented people and elevate the WEB20 contribution for research, ideas and social implementation feasibility.

In conclusion, this paper’s position was fascinating. It created more questions than answers and that is a good thing. It confirmed my interest and studying the need for contextual and multi-dimensional navigation and tagging. I look forward to more on harnessing collective intelligence beyond professional communities.

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