Thursday, August 02, 2007


There is no doubt that the world is changing. The rapid advances that technology has made over the last few years have rendered so many past technologies obsolete. I studied this computer language called BASIC in high school which was dead and gone even before I passed out of school. It really was a beginner's computer language, as the expansion of the acronym stands for. The younger generations probably have not even heard of BASIC - they are too busy learning Photoshop or Java. There was a day and age when I would have to wait patiently for my parents' weekly call in hostel when I was in college, and now I talk to my parents in India everyday through GoogleTalk on the computer. Forward-thinking universities like MIT have made their course information available on the internet for free so that an economically poor but academically bright young child in rural India can have access to all their courses, as long as they have access to the internet. The world as we knew it is gone, and the new one is changing every minute.

Don Tapscott, Toronto-based speaker, author and consultant, is working on a $9 million research project to show how people today can participate in the economy like never before, and it is called Wikinomics. The introduction and first chapter can be found here, and I can tell you right now that I can't wait to read the entire thing, whenever it comes out.

Two paragraphs I especially liked:

Twenty years from now we will look back at this period of the early twenty-first century as a critical turning point in economic and social history. We will understand that we entered a new age, one based on new principles, worldviews, and business models where the nature of the game was completely changed.

And, like open-source software, this idea which I have often thought of myself, that is today even more of an actionable possibility than it ever was:

Why not open source government? Surely we would make better decisions if we were to tap the insights of a broader and more representative body of participants.

Governments would definitely be more efficient then. That much I can say.

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