The Internet has created new ways for us to connect to each other and exchange ideas and information. This allows us to make much better use of all the talents, ideas, knowledge, creativity and manpower that are present in our society. Collectively we can be smarter. This is often referred to as the ‘wisdom of crowds’: under certain circumstances, a large group of individuals can take wise decisions and make good predictions.

If we are able to harness this wisdom of crowds, our society can become happier, healthier and more sustainable. At the same time, these developments are also challenging: the distribution of power and ownership between citizens, communities and existing organizations and business models is shifting. What lies ahead of us when the Internet and social media penetrate our lives more and more and when even our surroundings become intelligent and sensible? Can artificial intelligence and the internet of things help mankind to become more collectively intelligent? And how can we use this intelligence and everybody’s participation to tackle complex problems such as a healthy lifestyle and clean environment.

Predicting the future with the wisdom of crowds

Prediction markets are frequently used to predict the outcome of future events. New companies such as Augur, Gnosis and Bitcoin Hivemind develop new prediction markets based on the blockchain. Their goal is to democratize the prediction markets and make it easier for non-experts to participate. This could improve the reliability of the predicion markets and give better outcomes.

My article (in Dutch) was also published in publication on the future of big data. See my presentation for the Dutch Future Society in November 2016 below.

A few months after my presentation and article, WIRED Magazine wrote a very similar article about these new prediction markets.

Visions of the future

In the foresigt study ‘Wisdom of the Crowd’ I explored the potential impact of the ‘wisdom of crowds’ on our society in 2030. Between 2009 and 2011 more than hundred experts in the field of ict, artificial intelligence, social sciences, artistst and industrial designers, public administration and business administration were involved in this collaborative process, managed by Maurits Kreijveld. Through workshops, interviews, reviews and essays people participated both offline and online.

This resulted in three visions of the future, that illustrate how the ‘wisdom of crowds’ can make our society in 2030 healthier and more innovative and how citizens can work together and take decisions collectively in the smart cities of the future (cocreation and self organization). These future visions are described and visualized in the book ‘Samen slimmer. Hoe de wisdom of crowds onze samenleving zal veranderen’ (Collectively smarter. How the wisdom of crowds will change our society in English). The book was presented to the head of Dutch Parliament, Miss Gerdi Verbeet, during a conference in April 2012, on the future of democracy.


Samen slimmer 2e druk front

Samen slimmer. Hoe de wisdom of crowds onze samenleving zal veranderen (2012, 2014) [= Collectively smarter] about the wisdom of crowds and how this could make our society healthier, more innovative and more participatory in 2030.

In the book you’ll find future visions of healthcare, innovation and the smart city.

Further reading

Some of my articles.

Picture by Tanya Hart, license CC:BY SA