Rewiring the System

Mark Pesce: The Dangerous Power of Sharing (Power)

Posted in Uncategorized by rewiringangel on August 27, 2009
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Futurist Mark Pesce gave a fascinating speech at the Personal Democracy Forum last month. He explained how two  different kinds of power structures,autopoietic (self-generating), and hierarchical will be increasingly coming into conflict because of their radically contrasting operating procedures. Using the recent battle between the church of Scientology and Wikipedia as an example, Pesce shows how hyperconnected, hyperintelligent (where shared knowledge increases the intelligence of all participants) groups, who share power laterally will be chipping away at the classic, top-down hierarchies of the state and other such power structures.

He explains:

In order to avoid catastrophe, the state – and any institution which attempts to treat with a hyperintelligence – must radically reform its own mechanisms of communication. Top-down hierarchies which order power precisely can not share power with hyperintelligence. The hierarchy must open itself to a more chaotic and fundamentally less structured relationship with the hyperintelligence it has helped to foster. This is the crux of the problem, asking the leopard to change its spots. Only in transformation can hierarchy find its way into a successful relationship with hyperintelligence. But can any hierarchy change without losing its essence? Can the state – or any institution – become more flexible, fluid and dynamic while maintaining its essential qualities?

…In either direction, the same paradox confronts us: power must surrender power, or be overwhelmed by it. Sharing power is not an ideal of some utopian future; it’s the ground truth of our hyperconnected world.

Watch the video below, or read a transcript of the speech here.


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