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What relationship can you draw between the ideas of the global village and collective intelligence and how will this impact your professional work - Essay Example

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Computer-mediated communication, which makes it possible for two or more individuals or groups anywhere around the globe to exchange information or interact with each other. Such networks penetrate into every continent but based on Internet usage, the Internet being the most…
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What relationship can you draw between the ideas of the global village and collective intelligence and how will this impact your professional work
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Digital Media and Society Blog October 20, 2009 Computer-mediated communication, which makes it possible for two or more individuals or groups anywhere around the globe to exchange information or interact with each other. Such networks penetrate into every continent but based on Internet usage, the Internet being the most ubiquitous of them, this means of communicating and interacting is most popular in Asia, Europe and the Americas. The social consequences of this is that computer based networks have made it even easier for people to interact, and this interaction allows them to participate in events remotely, no matter what the distance, without being physically present. Thus, we no longer live in unconnected and detached spots but a ‘global village’. Furthermore, this participation makes what we call ‘collective intelligence’ possible, and that is what is discussed below and how it impacts our lives.
What collective intelligence means is that the intelligence of individuals and groups can be pooled together and used in several powerful ways. The actual concept was propounded by Levy (1997) though it is a part of the spiritual concept of ‘collective consciousness’. It was envisioned that networked computers would be able to enhance the totality of human knowledge in a number of ways – by “facilitating interaction among people…[and] promoting [their] participation” (Brand, 2007), and allowing the construction of ‘super databases’. McLuhan (1964) and Boorstin (1978) suggested long ago that we would be living in a ‘boundless global village’ because they foresaw the potential of electronic communication and the evolution of computers and the Internet. The former saw the global village as extending “or nervous system in a global embrace, abolishing both space and time as far as our planet is concerned” (Symes, 1995).
Building on from the earlier World Wide Web, it is evident that a new phase has been reached named as Web 2.0 To take advantage of or ‘harness’ this collective intelligence, many businesses for example have moved entirely onto the Internet and are applying its principles to achieve what they could only imagine before. Thus, another feature of Web 2.0 is the building of special applications that “harness network effects [to] get better the more people use them” (O’Reilly, 2006). One example of this is the online ‘Wiki’ encyclopedia whose information rests on user contributions (wikepedia.org) The ‘wiki principle’ in general is inviting for people to participate as it gives them power to make useful contributions and feel satisfied. As for the quality of user-generated content, this improves over time in proportion to the number of participants. Another phenomenon identified with Web 2.0 is ‘Social Networking’, which will require another blog entry.
The underlying feature of participation in this manner, referred to as Mayfield’s Power Law of Participation, is that there is a wide range in the level of engagement possible from simply reading to writing (see Flew, 2008). In between are actions such as marking as favourite, tagging, commenting, subscribing, and sharing. Furthermore, greater collaboration, which involves higher levels of engagement, leads to more fruitful outcomes of Collective Intelligence.
It is increasingly becoming the case that “Participation is not only possible, it’s necessary” (Brand, 2007) because we have become so accustomed to living in the global village that it is difficult to conceive, or in many case even work, without access to the Internet, or even other forms of communication such as mobile phones. In their mundane lives too, many people for example are used to the convenience of ordering goods, shopping or banking online. The future trend is for the convergence of many related technologies and thereby even greater scope for collective intelligence. We are already witnessing the beginnings of this as with having online access on smart phones, making phone calls through the computer, videoconferencing, WebTV, cloud computing, online learning communities, data warehousing, and the development of grid technology to enable science to be “worldwide and collaborative” (iSGTW, 2008). All these things have been made possible in the global village we live in today due to advancing and converging technologies. As mentioned, many people’s professional work has become totally reliant on this new digital media lifestyle.
References
Boorstin, . 1978. In Brand, 2007.
Brand, Jeffrey E. 2007. Networks and Collective Intelligence: Digital Media and Society eReport. University.
Flew. 2008. New Media An Introduction. 3rd edition. Melbourne: Oxford Press.
iSGTW. 2008. Link of the week - What is the grid, anyway? International Science Grid This Week. http://www.isgtw.org/?pid=1001390.
Levy, Pierre. 1997. Collective Intelligence. Basic Books.
McLuhan, M. 1964. Understanding Media. New York: Mentor. In S
O’Reilly. 2006. In Flew. 2008. New Media An Introduction. 3rd edition. Melbourne: Oxford Press.
Symes, Benjamin. 1995. Marshall’s McLuhan’s ‘Global Village’. Prifysgol Aberystwyth University. http://www.aber.ac.uk/media/Students/bas9401.html.
Wikipedia. 2009. http://www.wikipedia.org/. Read More
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