A crash course in changing the world.
The Burundian Proverb " The crowd does not lie" is very relevent to Evoke network in terms of Collobration on the major issues and solutions. The evoke agents have identified issues and top priority issues are the same and majority of the agents have endorced it so now on Evoke we are moving ahead for solutions. So we have consensus on the problem and we give them prime importance such as Environment, Poverty, Gender, Crisi Management, Water, Health and Education etc. So simply code phrase is majority is the authority......
Well, in the case of a potential pandemic the challenge is that crowds dont lie but... crowds don't necessarily know the truth either (so you have to be very careful to equate a lack of lying with knowing the truth). There is an art to knowing what to ask the crowd - in terms of what do they actually know and what contribution is to be trusted and noisy enough. (See google's flu trends as an example of using information in a way that harnesses the truth the crowd has in their hands).
Crowds will give you a lot of sensitivity (is something happening?)
Pandemic detection is a challenge of transforming an early signal into collective action and this Evoke chapter does a good job of telling that story. But I think it tells a partial story - that which is interesting to the tech-savvy crowd but not necessarily that which tells the understory.
(at InSTEDD we happen to be working on, uhm, exactly the sort of techs being described here sans some fatal conceptual flaws in the Evoke version, and its all open source so Alchemy our secrets are yours).
This Evoke has one notion which is quite awry however - the push-button deployment of the dark site. It is something that happens a lot these days but in health crisis it's an antipattern. The trust networks, collaboration and data streams have to be in place by the time you hit the 'red button'. Bringing in new system 'on crisis' makes it hard to educate the population, makes the openess of intent subject to political divisions (and I talk from 1st hand experience having deployed 4636 in Haiti and tools for WHO in the H1N1 event)
You need 3 things to come together: the wisdom of the crowds, the instinct of the expert and the power of algorithms, into one collaborative environment. See http://taha.instedd.org/ for examples of what were talking about
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