Sunday, August 01, 2010

The real-time economy

The encephalization of the earth (the coming together of human minds in a variety of higher resolution formats) is picking up speed. More and more people have a pass to join the information highway – Honest Signals points out that ten years ago, less than half the world’s population had made a phone call, but today, 70% of the world’s population has access to a phone for calls and texting.

Numerous collective intelligence tools have been emerging to uplevel and structure the context and quality of human interaction. The Wikipedia is the quintessential collective intelligence tool, as are wikis generally, social networks, buzzing and tweeting status updates, collaboration websites, question networks, social purchasing networks, and prediction markets.

The real-time economy
The pulse of activity from collective intelligence tools can be measured in many ways, and is importantly surfacing as a leading indicator for the real-time economy. Prediction markets and social purchasing networks could supplant traditional mechanisms for identifying economic activity and shifts.

For example, there were a number of ways to watch the real-time status of this week’s long-awaited launch of Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty (Blizzard Entertainment’s latest release in one of the highest grossing video game franchises of all time). The usual tweet stream and buzz feed provided an instant indication of activity. The next highest level was the Blippy feed of real-time purchases. Third, of greatest salience was the SimExchange video game prediction market which provided the highest resolution aggregation of opinion, and was early in calling the sales disappointment during the game's pre-launch and launch (Figures 1-2).

Figure 1: Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, 7/28/10 (release day) (Source)

Figure 2: Starcraft II: Wings of Liberty, 7/31/10 (Source)

The next obvious step is predicting economic activity even earlier, merging aggregate Facebook likes with social network high-influencer opinions into purchase intent well before sales transactions, in fact, using the encephalization ether for market demand identification and product development.

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