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A Murmuration of Starlings

Maya Brahmam's picture

Reporting from TEDGlobal on Radical Openness. I was struck by Don Tapscott’s presentation on Tuesday, which compared the opening up of our knowledge and data as the next step in the evolution of human societies and called it an "Age of Networked Intelligence."  Tapscott then went on to say that the societies of this age can be likened to a “murmuration of starlings,” a term that is used here for a flock. The murmuration moves in a complex interconnected way without a single leader and the flock works together and protects itself from predators (see picture).

What surprised me is that this flock of starlings was startlingly similar to the infographic displayed by the Vibrant Data Project during a presentation by Eric Berlow, a TED Fellow, which describes the network of connections in an “open” environment. Check it out here:

Coincidentally or not, both these visuals captured a complex structure – much like a neural net. What are the possible takeaways from this?

  1. The open agenda will require us to think differently about problem solving.
  2. This environment is a web of complex relationships, and to thrive in such an environment will require collaborative tools and skills.
  3. We will be able to rely on a vast network of relationships to support our work.

Looks like Tapscott’s description of an “Age of Networked Intelligence” hits the mark.

Photo Credit: SteveMcN

Infographic: Brainvise

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