Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Now we tinker, now we don't

When we mindlessly tinker with the substratum of any structure, it leads to disaster – Rule. The Mumbai building collapse is just the latest testimony. Back in 2000 when companies bought expensive IT applications and tweaked their business processes to suit it, I had the same kind of feeling. The myth soon got shattered when cash registers failed to ring and more cheques got cut than came in. If that led to a bubble burst, it gave us some lessons too. Technology can accelerate most things for us – even plunging headlong into disaster, but it can’t map our mind forever and auto pilot. The command has to be ours.

Looking at the communities (Blogosphere, Linkedin, Facebook) that get built in UGC enabled Web 2.0 applications, I am tempted to make an exception to this rule. The parallel Digital Democracy that cuts across physical borders is an opportunity to build a new kind of international understanding, not politician to politician, great man to great man, but citizen to citizen, person to person. Anything that enables a large global community (in excess of 6 billion) to work together on this planet cutting across borders, race and ethnicities, is always welcome - so long as it doesn’t call for H1-B or L1 visa, no profiling or finger printing excesses… It's a chance for people to look at a computer screen and really, genuinely wonder who's out there looking back at them.

As of now, the results are dramatic. There’s always the prospect of some expert out there on any topic. A support for anything from some far away corner of the world. Wait a minute… has it not been the way we humans were originally designed to function? Of course, yes – if so I am just revisiting the rule, not making an exception. Am I not ?

But that was before we fenced out earth into fragments of geographies as if we founded it…Perhaps the first instance of tinkering with the substratum !

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