Hey – sensationalism works for the big dogs. Why not for a little ol’ blogger? In any case, now that I have your attention…. 😉
This campaign season, I’m going to try to talk about the good things that the candidates are doing. Sure – I could talk about the bad stuff, but I think NBC has that covered – at least from the left. Not sure if you picked up David Gregory’s expertly delivered “Grand Wizard” cut on the Republicans, but I figure I’m not going to be keeping up with that sort of thing. Wow. That was quite classic – an astounding insult, wrapped in plausible deniability raised to an art form. Let’s just hope we don’t hear any more like that.
Back to the good stuff. The “Obama Trojan” is actually my cute, sensationalist name for a really clever calender-sync download that is going out to anybody on the Obama campaign’s email list. By syncing with the calendar at barackobama.com, campaign supporters can be organized at a level that basically makes the administration’s ACORN minions (or whatever they call themselves now) look like techno-wimps and hippie hold-overs. Occupy Wall Street? Fuggedaboudit! Who the hell cares? The administration is about to occupy computers all across the country! People are going to take on a political trojan – willingly! And THAT’S where the real power is.
This isn’t the first time Obama used technology to score – he’s just raising the bar for Election 2.0. Last time, it was internet donation. This time, it’s internet domination. So the PLA is going to “dominate” the electronic world with its sneaky, negative malware? HA! Check out what the good guys can do when they work together – using “benware”. Why should the cyberspies and old-school capitalist web exploiters have all the fun? After all, collective intelligence is so much better when it’s GOOD and when it’s VOLUNTARY. So let’s be blunt here – the Obama administration not only gets technology – it gets where it’s all going.
But this tip of the political tech iceberg isn’t just about politics. It’s about governing, too. Or, more precisely, about letting the People govern. Check out the recent issue of Time magazine talking about Hillary Clinton. Everybody is saying how wikileaks brought about the Arab Spring / Jasmine Revolution. How Julian Assange brought down Muammar Gaddafi. Sorry – don’t confuse the symptom with the cause. If anyone deserves credit for bringing democracy to Libya, it’s Hillary Clinton. And the reason she deserves credit is because she understands the fact that she doesn’t deserve credit. She knows that she didn’t make the Jasmine Tea. But she also knows that she can read the tea leaves just fine.
Hillary Clinton may be described by her enemies as an opportunist, but chancy opportunities favor the prepared mind, and this lady is prepared to seize on world-changing opportunities because she understands them. I’m beginning to think that my “please, G_d, let Obama beat her to keep her away from the red button” worrying – all that wailing and gnashing of teeth – was simply wasted effort. The truth is, a half-political presidency would have been wasted on her, when what we really needed was another Kissinger….. this time with tech vision and real balls. I love the story about how she’s forcing all these old-school diplomats to start getting Twitter and Facebook. Why? Because collective intelligence isn’t just changing things – it’s DEMANDING change. Of course, collective intelligence is wagging its Bill Clinton index finger at Hillary for asking diplomats to trade their priceless trust status for a few measly VPN passwords, but I would bet money she’s already figured out – after collective intelligence outed her – that such dangerous short-cuts are always a mistake.
It’s not just the Democrats. Herman Cain is using the web pretty well, too. And remember – he’s an IT guy. A geek has gotta like that. Not sure who I’m voting for yet, but the chances are looking better and better that it’s gonna be a black guy. Interesting times, indeed. You can bet that Abe Lincoln is smiling about this election.
[Interesting digression: did you know that Honest Abe kindly demanded that ladies be allowed to hear him speak in Ohio on his way to the Presidency? And how that incident caused the Ohio government to later build a balcony with spacing sufficient to accomodate hoop dresses? Fun fact!]
So – is collective intelligence starting to feel kinda scary? No. Don’t be scared. Embrace CI. It’s awesome stuff. Check out one of my favorite tech guys, Tim O’Reilly, talking about it, in the context of health care. After all, if you want to revolutionize health care for the People, don’t get stuck in the past, fighting over old-school stuff like money. Obama can revolutionize American health care on the cheap. Don’t control it – enable it to self-organize. Simply task American medical collective intelligence with the problem of providing a safety net to the poor and freedom for everybody else. Give everybody what “it” wants.
I’m tellin’ ya, people. Get hip to the new-school stuff that doesn’t even exist in the physical world. To steal from Black Elk in a way that would make him happy, allow me to suggest trusting in “the mettle that makes men smart”. And, in case you haven’t noticed, women, too.