Clay Shirky, NYU professor and author of "Here Comes Everybody" threw up a picture of a barn raising and notes its not just proximity, but a collective form of reciprocal altruism which brings people together, seemingly spontaneously, to erect a barn as part of his discussion of getting people together 'quickly and noisily'...
Some fun examples of collective 'actions' and self-organizing range from Lego figurines to a buyers club for homeschooling needs - building on the model of collective benefits in addition to the barnraising motivation ("either I owe you a favor, or I would like you to owe me a favor").
Shirky then noted a number of efforts such as the Virtual Company Project and Freelancers Union Alliance, aimed at making it possible for people to come together into networks for collective action without the formal instances of organizational frameworks recognized by law.
Esther Dyson warned in a Q&A that follows that one should these communities have few safeguards against malicious actors, noting instances where bad people, when published, often retaiated, and usually against people one would consider to be good. "The tools will not set everybody free if they're prisoners of their own sociology." She cited Social Innovation Camp, sicamp.org.
Nokia's Bob Iannucci argued that on mobile platforms, business is just getting started, in his presentation subtitled "there is yet another mobile revolution to come." He predicts an increase use of sensors, noting phones are already combining microphones and speakers [of course] as well as accelerometers, cameras, light sensors, global positioning capabilities, etc., and that these may be used in future to track potential outbreaks of influenza or weather affects.
To emphasize the scale of this opportunity, he noted a Nokia phone is delivered to a new user every 17 seconds, and a new capability across its phones would go out to 450 million customers in the course of a year. He said many users, especially in underdeveloped areas, rely on these devices to determine where markets are available, and where they are not.
Esther Dyson discussed the opportunity for users to adapt a "pro choice" attitude towards technologies - rather than the advertising-based "stuck down their throat" traditional advertising approaches. "Much to advertisers' surprise, users are not always trying to buy stuff," she said, adding users are often aiming to attract attention for their own work or products. Nonetheless, she sees advertisers such as airlines who are otherwise bystanders in this process to potentially be allowed to provide, for example, better prices or flights to customers allowing them to know their travel plans discreetly.
Dyson and Iannucci noted privacy remains a major issue, though.
"You can cheapen it just like you can turn good people into prostitutes," is how Dyson put it.