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Wikinomics co-author on the Rise of Networked Intelligence

Posted on April 28, 2012 by Daniel Francavilla

Co-author of the best-selling book Wikinomics, Anthony Williams, discussed the Rise of Networked Intelligence during his presentation at the Canadian Undergraduate Technology Conference hosted at University of Toronto. In his fast-paced presentation he covered a lot of issues and highlighted the potential we face moving forward.

Williams highlighted that the fusion of social science with technology and the economy is key; it’s important to branch out and look at the way the world is changing. He suggests we look for creative ways to use technology to re-think the models of healthcare, education or change things in the world of business – regardless of which degree you have. It is the fusion of these that his the most important in solving these problems.


Anthony Williams presenting at CUTC 2012 (Photo by Richard Cerezo).

Social networking becomes social business

Wikipedia – with only 10 employees – is larger than the Encyclopedia Britannica. Procter & Gamble – a product company that was going downhill years ago – decided to get over half of their ideas outside of the company. That opens it up to another 1.8 BIllion people, accessible especially though the web, crowd-sourcing, all on-demand. The person who has the solution gets paid a cash reward; a new model of problem solving compared to trying to staff all of the “best” people. Apple – through their App Store – created a platform and ecosystem for innovation. They have turned a product into a platform for innovative design and software. The power of the cloud brings business capabilities to us on-demand. For free teleconferences, use Skype; for online invoices, you can use FreshBooks; to access design and software professionals  online you can use Elance; to have designs manufactured and shipped you can use Ponoko.

Bringing us into a new age

Online communication and connectivity has brought us from the Industrial Age to the Information age; it has spared the revolution in the Middle East and North Africa, it has influenced healthcare – social media has been proven to help improve cancer patients recovery rate, it has modernized education – with 32 million books there are now 500 billion public web pages, 500,000 movies, 750 million articles and essays, and videos like TED talks.

Connecting the planet

How will ubiquitous intelligence reshape our cities? There are applications today that can help you find where you are at any given moment, track public transit vehicles, view the news closest to the reader,and more. Cities can be re-designed to allow for this intelligence to be built-in. The World Tech Jam, discussing new solutions for a connected planet, will take place in June with 20,000 people online at wcit2012.org.

Supporting music and journalism

Without a revenue model, these journalists can’t make a living, and we will loose high-quality journalism. Anthony Williams quoted Sir Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, “In essence the commercial roles of music companies will be more as facilitators for bringing music and the rights that support them into the marketplace, as opposed to being originators of the content itself”.

What about democratic activities – stopping bills like SOPA?

It is up to us as users and citizens to do our research and access the information ahead of time. We can also come together online through social media campaigns to make our voices heard, and channel them to productive places (sending messages to elected officials, creating petitions on sites like Change.org). The key is that we remain vigilant and pay attention to what is happening, Williams said. We have to stay engaged.

Technology is evolving so quickly, it is getting more difficult to stay current. Anthony recommends to be an active participant and to never be complacent. With the size of today’s economy and global population, nobody can afford to stay out of the loop. Technology has never been so accessible – in the past it would be very exclusive, secretive to access this, but today the most exciting technology is driven by consumers. It us us, Williams says, that is driving the change.


Anthony Williams presenting at CUTC 2012 (Photo by Richard Cerezo).

About Anthony Williams

Anthony D. Williams is a leading authority on collaborative innovation and co-author (with Don Tapscott) of the groundbreaking bestseller Wikinomics and its follow-up MacroWikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet (Portfolio 2010). Anthony is the chief advisor to Brazil’s Free Education Project, a national strategy to equip 2 million young Brazilians with the skills required for a 21st Century workforce. He is a committee member of the National Research Council’s Committee on Science for the EPA’s Future. He is also an advisor to GovLoop, the world’s largest social network for government innovators and a founding fellow of the OpenForum Academy, a global research initiative focused on understanding the impact of open standards and open source on business and society. As a senior fellow at nGenera Insight, Anthony previously founded and led the world’s definitive investigation into the impact of Web 2.0 and wikinomics on the future of governance and democracy. His work has been featured in such publications as the Huffington Post, BusinessWeek, Harvard Business Review and the Globe and Mail. He has advised Fortune 500 firms, government agencies and international institutions, including the World Bank.

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