Ian Reeves our digital guru blogs: Could the internet save the world?

 

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December 21, 2012, marks the completion of the Mayan Calendar. The date that many believe to be the end of the world!

Mayan prophecies however predict a transition from one age into another. Our resistance or acceptance will determine catastrophic changes or ensure peace and tranquillity.

Sounds quite a scary doesn?t it?

Recently as I sat watching BP?s live stream of millions of gallons of oil spilling out into the Gulf of Mexico I wondered if the power of the internet and the increasing amount of crowdsourced content would help ?save us? or simply enable us to watch our downfall while ignorantly tweeting about how cool it is.

The internet or a crystal ball in disguise?

The beauty of the internet is the frequency and recency of content. Take the Hudson River plane crash for example, the news first broke on Twitter. With so many contributors publishing new content, from all over the world, how can it be combined into something useful:

HealthMap already aggregates news feeds from the World Health Organisation and Google News to compile a map of the current global state of infectious diseases.

UK Snow generated a real-time UK snow map using tweets to show us how bad the snow was in the UK last winter.

Recently the investment arms of the CIA and Google have backed a company that monitors the web in real time, using the information it finds to predict the future. By scouring tens of thousands of websites, blogs and Twitter accounts to find the relationships between people, organizations, actions and incidents looking at the ?invisible links? between content.

So could the internet save the world?

Honestly I have no idea and came to the conclusion that whatever will be will be, however, I?m now really excited about the possibilities and insight the future of the internet could deliver.