We have crowd transportation with Uber. Crowd lodging with AirBNB. Crowd funding with GoFundMe. And the list goes on.
Crowdsourcing is likely a primary driver of the 21st century, not just in business, but in many, if not all, parts of society. Think about it. What if we had Crowd Faith? Instead of a stage and a Pastor, there was an MC and a general order but the whole service was crowd run?
Perhaps the worldwide expression of Crowd Politics is found in the current global populist explosion. It may be unsettled and a bit crude at times, but may express some of the same attributes of other Crowd functions. Look for this to expand and for the potential to be even greater. Look, also, for entrenched institutions to fight this.
Social media and blogs, like this one, are Crowd Reporting and editorial, previously reserved for well known newspapers.
Look for this to expand and for the potential to be even greater. Look, also, for entrenched institutions to fight this. Taxi companies, big cities, political structures, hotel chains, etc. are pushing back hard against these new Crowd trends. But I suspect they will be unable to stop it. In Austin, Texas, when “ride sharing” services were banned by bureaucrats wishing to protect entrenched interests, Facebook emerged as a de facto ride-sharing service with people organizing to provide rides. Resisting Crowdsourcing will likely be similar to trying to restrain a stream running downhill with your hands – the water (or crowd) will find a way.
Technology has made all this possible. Technology continues to get more powerful and interactive. Early voice recognition, such as Siri, will give way to more powerful personal digital assistants that will supercharge our Crowd ideas even more.
The Crowd Century belongs to the individual. The individual, previously relegated to Cog status in the giant wheel of Society, can express more power, creativity and initiative with greater reach than ever before. The previous massive load of bureaucracy and structure can be replaced by a minimal structure and a simple set of easier to manage rules. Uber, for instance, makes it fairly simple to become a driver. Opt in or out with the touch of a button on your smartphone. Facebook and WordPress make everyone an instant pundit. So the barriers to greatest resources on earth, human capital, are reduced.
Is this a good thing or a bad thing? On balance, it’s a great thing. The rarest and precious thing in the physical world is the human being. Compared to even 1,000 years ago, Earth is replete with resources and potential unimaginable in previous ages. Our progress in every area has been substantial. The greater democratization of societal structures, such as business, politics, government, faith, health and all manner of institutions will unleash an even greater potential for expanded quality and quantity of life.
Yes, I said “on balance” it’s a great thing. As with anything, Crowd mechanisms can be turned to ill ends. Terrorists Crowd Recruit, for example. But overall, humankind has a tendency that is obvious to any historian of the wide arc of human civilization. “On balance”, things get better. Fits and starts, wars and set backs – they are there. Bar an extinction level event of some kind, Crowd movement will likely hail the emergence of the individual and small group as the more powerful and progressive force when compared with bureaucracies, be they governmental or economic.
Its likely that we have just seen the earliest stages of this trend. It’s built into human psychology. The same desire for freedom that ended the Age of Empires last century continues to push against the Age of Bureaucracy this century. It’s arguable that the American Revolution was a Crowd nation-building experiment. 240 years on, although imperfect, it’s still going strong mainly due to the power of the individual in the Crowd experiment. Political Parties should take note – centralized control will very likely suffer under the Crowd impulse. The party that emphasizes the individual will be the one that gains the most adherents in the long scope of the decades. The party that caters to identity politics, which minimizes individual differences in favor of group attributes (not to be confused with Crowds), will very likely diminish.