WCN COMMENTARY: As the world’s most likely first Transmedia Brandcasting Catalyst and Thought Leader, we’ve done a lot of Research at the WCN Think Tank on the future of monetizing streaming video for the future. Recently with the Death of Whitney Houston we called for the Mandating of a National Drug Database to control the last line of defense against dispensing multiple drugs by different doctors and pharmacies. Responding to that post Alan Falk and LinkedIn Connection created this piece called The Grand Unification Theory for Communication in the Future”. We find this to be a compelling read and wanted to share it with you.
By Alan Falk
Ok, let me admit up front: I’m a synthesist. It’s just the way my brain is wired: I take seemingly disparate concepts and notice similarities and figure out how they fit together in nw, otherwise as-yet-unnoticed ways.
Here you have Google, which has made a worldwide impact by developing search algorithms that are now used as tools by nearly everyone for search, correlation, combination of concepts.
Facebook has created a splendid connection environment for friends and families all around the world: photos, personal events, updates, communication.
But wait, there’s more…
Classmates.com also provides a means for people to contact and communicate with schoolmates from high school, college and elsewhere, linking people and their histories and events, too.
Twitter has made it possible for literally tens of thousands of people to keep in touch with incredible numbers of other people and organizations and to stay updated on any event that a subscriber cares to share or comment on.
Blogger and others have provided venues for anyone and everyone to express their ideas and rant or rave about whatever turns them on or off in the world around them. It is another way for the global community to discover others with similar (or opposing) viewpoints, for conversation… or rants.
Linked In has become a success in connecting people, originally in the working world. Anyone can search for co-workers currently or previously employed at a given company and connect to them even, if their lives have taken them physically far away, but who might still want an emotional (or at least email) connection to them.
Skype, where you can talk “face to face” through the internet to anyone with the right hardware, software and communications links. Email with sound and pictures, in real time!
And, of course, there’s email itself, which has revolutionized interpersonal and corporate and advertising communications at an incredible pace. Whether some of us like it or not.
So where does my synthesis come in?
A few years ago, a science-fiction program aired on TV: Flashforward.
The plot was based on the concept of a mysterious force that knocked nearly everyone on Earth out for several minutes, during which they seemed to experience a “flash forward” to what their life would be like some months in the future.
In Flashforward, one of the protagonists created a massive database and communication tool by which people could log on to a central repository and tell their stories… the images of the future they saw during their “blackout period.”
Everyone who wanted to could also search for others who had similar experiences and they could then compare notes. Future-Networking, if you will.
Some of the visions were good, some were frightening and for some who didn’t see anything during their blackout, they might conclude that they might not be alive in the near future. I was disappointed that the series didn’t continue for at least a few more years.
Back to the connection…
The database/communication “tool” in the program was named “Mosaic,” which was amusing to me, as Mosaic was one of the first internet browsers that allowed people to connect to the Internet without having to recite zeroes and ones and a prayer to their desktop computer to make it happen.
A breakthrough human interface tool.
More synthesis, if you don’t already see what’s coming… The “What If…?” part.
Let’s create a Future Vision for worldwide communications that lets anyone and everyone do things like… Let’s call it “The Network” for now. If you want to scare yourself silly, rent the first Terminator movie and think “SkyNet.”
Video: real-time and historical storage, sharing and archiving.
Photos and sound… ditto.
Connecting, like Facebook, Classmates, Linked In, Skype, etc.
And then add a few more layers that expand the scope and benefits to everyone…
Here’s where my synthesis took me:
You catch a cold. You’re not sure if it’s serious or not, but you post it on The Network.
Or you have some other symptoms, new or old, that might describe a known problem or a new one. Fever, chills, a rash, a lump, a pain…
Network files your information away for correlation and comparison.
All the time, Google-like algorithms are scanning posts like yours for patterns.
Usually, there’s no pattern, but once in a while, it might trigger an alarm if it sees a trend where, for example, a lot of people in one community or zip-code are suddenly reporting cold or flu symptoms. Hospitals or even the Centers for Disease Control or other agencies can be warned of a possible outbreak of a problem which might put whole communities at risk. They can also input their observations, which would be correlated with individuals’ reports and inputs.
An example might be tracking reports of serious illnesses, like cancer, tuberculosis, STDs, and so on. Individual data points can be stored securely and privacy can be protected to as great a degree as the users and contributors choose, but when a noticeable trend or concentration of data points “rings a bell somewhere,” users could be choose to be contacted “by the system” to encourage them to get to a doctor, hospital, or call “911 Now!”
Following the spread of a dangerous virus. Or being able to track an e-coli outbreak back to a starting point.
Discovering the number of people having the same problem with a defective part of their car.
Reporting a new spam virus.
Finding people with common interests to form or join a group or club.
Think outside the search engine. Think outside the email package.
Better than GoogleFace, for sure, or Facegle… Whatever.
I’ll leave that to the real marketing gurus.
Maybe just “The Network,” again. Or “Mosaic.”