Over the past century but accelerating over the past couple of decades, we have seen the emergence of a kind of global data field. The planet itself – natural systems, human systems, physical objects – have always generated an enormous amount of data, but we didnt used to be able to hear it, to see it, to capture it. Now we can because all of this stuff is now instrumented. And its all interconnected, so now we can actually have access to it. So, in effect, the planet has grown a central nervous system.
Look at that complex set of relationships among all of these complex systems. If we can actually begin to see the patterns in the data, then we have a much better chance of getting our arms around this. Thats where societies become more efficient, thats where more innovation is sparked.
When we talk about a smarter planet, you can say that it has two dimensions. One is to be more efficient, be less destructive, to connect different aspects of life which do affect each other in more conscience and deliberate and intelligent ways. But the other is also to generate fundamentally new insights, new activity, new forms of social relations. So you could look at the planet as an information, creation and transmission system, and the universe was hearing its information but we werent. But increasingly now we can, early days, baby steps days, but we can actually begin to hear the planet talking to us.