If you have a chance to visit Shanghai, and see its skyscrapers along the Bund river, it is impossible not to think of William Gibson’s quote “The future is already here—it’s just not very evenly distributed.” The challenges of developing a country of 1.3 billion people harmoniously—a key word to imply that chaotic changes can be very damaging to the fabric of society—are certainly enormous. Especially if decisions must be made centrally and hierarchically, under the implicit assumption that they will be based on optimal information by individuals who know better than anybody else what needs to be done.
At the recent meetup of Network Society in Shanghai the over 50 attendees created eight groups, each debating if and how the Chinese policies take into account the decentralization of the eight pillars of the Network Society (energy, manufacturing, food, health, learning, finance, security and policy), scoring them on the -2…+2 axis and exposing their reasoning to the rest of the group.
The conclusions of the group were the following:
Energy: 0.5 Manufacturing: 1 Food: 1 Health: -1 Learning: 2 Finance: 0 Security: -1 Policy: 1
The local social network most appropriate for a continued coordination is WeChat, and a new group has been created using the platform, with candidates for Chinese ambassadors to be selected, and monthly meetings which will be organized for additional discussions, learning, and sharing.
The future is certainly coming to the world, China and Shanghai, in some places faster than others. Here is a glimpse of the sound of that future.