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Online collaboration

Believe it or not, mankind has been achieving amazing things in 21st century.

1) At first, they were doing these things by creating:

Invention of personal computer was the initial step to get ordinary people to be involved in “creating” something. The generation that was grown up with science fiction novels was so excited with these developments. They were expecting that technology will fix everything quickly, enabling us to optimize resources, processes and to innovate effectively.

This expectation ended up in sort of 15-20 years of disappointment. Expectations from 90’s were about flying cars, fast-food pills and life in space.

Some people even declared their accuse later on: “We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters”.  Well, here is my question: which one should have been invented first?

Let’s go back to the evolution… There were few number of people who were more ambitious about creating platforms that enable everyone to create things, instead of just “creating things”.

2) The other missing piece for those people was interaction 

Numerous data were being collected by different people or entities from different geographies. Hence the use of data was stuck in small circles. The most crucial missing piece was interaction. Internet was already there to provide connectivity, but organization of networks was missing. To accomplish things, first they had to connect with people they already know. Once they were connected, they started sharing their information. Then came social networks. Meanwhile, organized information had already begun (Google, Wikipedia,youtube) As the content was ready for this evolution, social network started accelerated evolution.

The question is, what was this evolution leading to? Individual changes or social changes?

Our parents always complain how humanity has gradually become more individualistic. They always tell how their generation had more love, solidarity, generosity, or basically collaboration. But it turns out they were wrong about our generation, there are many people changing their focus from the individual to society, people who are eager to take all of us from the independent era to interdependent one. And they were doing this more intelligently comparing to our parents.

Please watch this video first:

This guy, named Luis Von Ahn, is the reflection of the amazing things humanity can potentially achieve in the future. Considering his previous works on crowd-sourcing, I would say he is definitely one of the pioneers of this interdependent era. And he is a smart one, because he killed two birds with one stone.

Remember, all these innovations have taken place in last 10-15 years. Considering the vast growth of interactions with the invention of social network websites these days, imagine what humanity can achieve with millions of people, sharing billions of data in the next 10 years. Considering hundred thousands of users with ability of coding, we will create things together easier than ever. (I believe number of coders will increase sharply in the next 5-10 years, since software development becomes easier by new software development tools)


P.S: my answer for this question above:“We wanted flying cars, instead we got 140 characters”.  Which one should have been invented first?

I am kind of a guy who supports interdependent world, like Luis Von Ahn. So I would say the latter.

The former has an individual focus. To own a flying car would be great. I wish I had one too. But the second one, the one with social focus, is the key that opens to all inventions, including flying cars. My belief is that at this age, creating channels should have more priority than creating the product. Let people communicate first and let them figure out what and how to create together.


Image source: Flickr

Orkun Basaran

One comment

  1. a quite inspiring video & man

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