India Knowledge@Wharton writes:
It sounds like something from a futuristic TV thriller: American spies thwarting the next 9/11-style terrorist plot through a shared online community modeled after Wikipedia, the free and highly popular user-created, web-based encyclopedia.
But Anthony D. Williams, co-author of the new book, Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything, recently told a Wharton audience that this online community of spies already exists, and is on the case.
Williams noted that the rise of Wikipedia, Linux — and other user-generated platforms from online marketplace eBay to MIT’s increasingly popular online curriculum — is no accident, but part of what he calls a “perfect storm” in the growth of the Internet.
The key ingredients in that storm, he said, are the technological advances — often referred to as “Web 2.0” — that make online collaboration and communication easier to transact, as well as the arrival of a generation of Internet users that has been born since 1980 and that insists on taking a more active role in creating or editing the online content that it uses.