We claim to be headed towards something called the “knowledge based society”. The term is a bit vague, but it suggests that value added will be achieved by upgrades in thinking rather than working harder or longer. We will add value by being smarter.
That sounds great, but where will the smarts come from? From Harvard, Yale, Stanford, MIT: etc? The folks at these great universities are no doubt smart. But I do not think that making them even smarter will produce the knowledge based society that we are looking for.
Why not?` Well, those folks have been smart for a long, long time. But their being smart has not necessarily made society overall any smarter. Case in point: the election of Donald Trump.
My point here is that if we are indeed headed towards a knowledge based society, society as a whole has to get smarter. And society as a whole does not get smarter because we get more Harvard PhD’s. Something more is needed.
So what is needed? I think we need to open the doors to the masses to get smarter. The average guy or gal in the street. These folks have the neural capacity for it. But they do not necessarily have the incentive to use it. My hope is that we can find ways to develop those incentives.
This is why I like crowd funding. Kickstarter, et al, offer opportunities for the rest of us to participate in innovations. Do we want to buy a piece of an idea? We can if we do. And with a broader potential funding base, folks who want to do new stuff have an incentive to try, even if they do not have a Harvard PhD or work for Google or Apple or Microsoft or any of the other big corporate entities.
Crowdfunding is the the solution to the broader question that I raised. It alone will not make society smarter. But it is an example of the direction that we need to take. We need more platforms that open the doors for folks to DIY their way to getting smarter.
Here is a thought – as the crowd gets smarter, it makes better choices. As better choices are made, we get accelerated value added. In other words, the process is likely to be highly transformative.
So how can we build platforms that make the crowd get smarter? Good question. We are still working on that one. One thing is clear. The answer is not more social media a la Facebook and Twitter. Those platforms are taking us the other direction.
Why? the problem may be that these platforms are not “exchange platforms”. We know from various sources that humans learn through exchanges that add value. We broadcast in social media largely one way — form me to whoever. Value adding exchanges are minimal.
So how to build platforms that empower value added exchanges? We are not there yet. But we are getting closer. For example, we know that the unit of value exchanged is likely to be small. So if this sort of platform is to work, it will most likely be based on micro payments. With blockchain, we may soon be able to make those micro payment systems function better.