Crowdsourcing


I have recently come across a new concept called “crowdsourcing”, which is particularly relevant to the libertarian ideas of individual autonomy and freedom.

The idea is that one uses technology to mobilise crowds of people to do things that individuals can’t, and that governments do badly.  It is a means of getting individuals to work effectively in large groups, without the need for constant control and management. It is a technological means to solve the problem of “herding cats”.

I came across an article on a piece of software called Ushahidi, which was developed in Kenya to report on and monitor the recent elections there. Since then the software has been used to manage disaster response in Haiti, despite the opposition and interference of the traditional aid groups (who make their money out of having the most victims to deal with, and consequently do not share information.)

I recommend a blog called iRevolution at http://irevolution.wordpress.com/ if you wish to read further on these concepts.

A colleague and I are planning to use this software to report on crime in South Africa. Have a look at www.gotcha.org.za.

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