Crowdsourcing 2.0 is about sourcing machine’s creativity and knowledge. It is Crowdsourcing 3.0 that will help us do much better than that.


Crowdsourcing 2.0 is about sourcing machine’s creativity and knowledge. During the last 10 years machines crowdsourced everything we ever learnt and knew. Now we are going to crowdsource everything they’ve learnt. It is Crowdsourcing 3.0 that will help us do better than that.

The near future of crowdsourcing is not about sourcing people’s knowledge and creativity, it will be about sourcing machines’ creativity and knowledge. An AI robot already equals a whole crowd of smart, innovative and creative folks.

It’s been 10 years since modern crowdsourcing found its way into the new world. Still, its identity is very confusing. As there are humans behind it, this confusion mirrors leadership’s confusion.

All crowdsourcing platforms out there state this is how we solve our world’s problems, they run as agents for solving common good problems and for changing the world (for the better).

There is no research showing what was the crowdsourcing impact during all this time, how many common good problems were actually solved, how, no follow-up about the awarded solutions implementation, the economic and social impact, how people’s lives changed for the better as a result, etc.

From my 7 years observations, common good challenges launched through crowdsourcing platforms occupy a very modest place. Most of the challenges are business problems and marketing campaigns. So, let’s forget about the common good message, as it has anything to do with PR and much less with common good.

During all this time, the general misleading idea that crowdsourcing brings together the creative minds of the world to solve problems kept populating the news. This is fake news.

This is very far from the truth because all those creative minds loosing their asses behind their computers to generate creative ideas don’t collaborate with each other to solve one problem. They only compete against each other for the grand prize, while the beneficiary sitting at the other end of the wire receives all of them and pays one or two. It is the beneficiary’s team of experts/consultants who collaborate to extract the best from the crowd and to integrate them in their solving strategy for their or their clients problems. If there’s any collaboration involved in the process, there is where it is.

Crowdsourcing has in its roots the game theory principles. This means that collaboration is by default not a natural effect. More than that, it is the human nature that stands in our way when it comes to collaborate with people we have never worked with, never met, don’t know and don’t trust, especially when there are intellectual rights and money in the middle.

The fact that people and organizations must learn how to collaborate (for the better of one industry or another), while competing against each other is another story which has nothing to do with crowdsourcing, but more with the concept of innovation, research and development clusters.

Today’s crowdsourcing suffers from an identity crisis.

It mirrors a leadership identity crisis. 

I don’t believe it will solve any real, in the here and now common good problem too soon, because nobody incentivize people for this purpose. The other reason this won’t happen is because the machines stepped in and they don’t need incentives for anything.

So the idea that crowdsourcing will soon become (or just became) an alternative for hiring is an illusion.

Rising above a crowd of people and machines to earn your living or get some extra cash has nothing to do with the word “hiring”, but it has plenty to do with exploiting high skilled professionals, with creating economic and social imbalance just for businesses to get more good ideas for free and secure part of their continuity.

Indirectly, simply because those businesses don’t go bankrupt as long as worldwide solvers contribute to their continuity, there is no negative impact. But it is not people’s job or purpose to sustain or support other people’s businesses. 

Crowdsourcing 2.0 won’t be about sourcing people’s knowledge and creativity any longer, but about sourcing machines’ creativity and knowledge. An AI robot already equals a whole crowd of smart folks.

The best of crowdsourcing people’s knowledge and creativity passed away.

That was Crowdsourcing 1.0.

It had nothing to do with common good, but with saving businesses and consulting firms asses as they are the major players here.

In Crowdsourcing 2.0 story people are out, they are not of use anymore for business, it will be all about sourcing robots’ creativity and knowledge. In all these years as we were sharing our knowledge at low costs, robots were learning and now they are ready to step in. There are many news about facts in this direction, but to put it on fast forward you can start with this one.

A reasonable scenario that holds the potential to offer us a better perspective upon the future is to cut the crap with the misleading common good messages and actually move our asses there at the level of operations, to join forces with our own creations (the machines) and to solve here and now problems in real-time, live, as we speak.

To create a global crisis management platform able to solve any problem coming from anywhere in the world in real-time. People problems, communities problems, organizational problems, government problems. A global network of social entrepreneurs or a better balance between business and social ones, between funding the two fronts.

With all the buzz and fuss, Crowdsourcing 1.0 haven’t changed the face of the problems we need to discuss and solve now. They are bigger, they never went away. Poverty, hunger, healthcare issues, etc. They are still alive and kicking. The progress was too modest for the technologies we developed.

For some reasons, most probably the profit reason, the ones who have the power to do something in this department don’t know how to do it, don’t care, or both.

It is Crowdsourcing 3.0 that will smooth our lives.

It is Crowdsourcing 3.0 that will smooth our lives in the times of robots taking over, we have everything it takes to start making it happen while Crowdsourcing 2.0 happens. These two should happen at the same time, or very close with each other in terms of time, otherwise I don’t know what kind of people will be left out there to engage in these processes as statistics show no improvements in the areas of healthcare and mental health, poverty and so on. On the contrary.

All great leaders tell us in their commencement speeches to various prestigious universities that this is what lies ahead of us, this is what’s left for us in the new world: to create our purpose and to start solving common good problems. They also say we should be happy about it because we’ll have more time for ourselves, for our lives and for doing more good in the world, as robots will do our meaningless jobs from now on. We expect crowdsourcing to play a vital role in this new equation.

That’s hypocrisy or lack of clarity. As long as they have the power, the resources and the influence to create the infrastructure for this and don’t do it, I don’t buy the “bright future” scenario they keep selling. It’s just poetry and metaphors that won’t make people happier or less anxious about what they’ll eat tomorrow, they won’t help them put bread on the table and pay their growing bills.

I can only hope that one leader from all the leaders of this world will start spending a part of his/her resources and influence to switch the trends, to counter-balance, to really begin the journey of fulfilling crowdsourcing’s potential and purpose.

If at least one of them is really and truly worried about how ordinary people like you and me will going to make it during all this Industrial Revolution 4.0 while more and more jobs (including the creative ones) are wiped out by machines, there is good news. Wonder where the hell this guy is.

I would like to see the leaders behind crowdsourcing platforms being more concerned about people and common good problems than business. Business owners and entrepreneurs can handle it.

*

Author of

“Rise Above The Crowd”