Can Web 2.0 save the world?

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Remember the age of Web 1.0? Back when it took all night to download one song on a 57k dial-up? Today we have broadband and iTunes and dial-up is a distant memory in the era of Web 2.0. According to Tim O’Reilly and John Battelle, organizers of the upcoming Web 2.0 Summit, “To understand where the Web is going, it helps to return to one of the fundamental ideas underlying Web 2.0, namely that successful network applications are systems for harnessing collective intelligence, meaning that a large group of people can create a collective work whose value far exceeds that provided by any of the individual participants.” Like for example, the Web 2.0 intersection of volunteer computing and social media that is Progress Thru Process (PTP). I wrote about the PTP Facebook application six days ago when it had just over 127,000 fans. Today it has 129,596 fans. All the fans who have downloaded the PTP application are donating their spare CPU cycles to power humanitarian research. Their collective CPU power ranks in the top 250 of the world’s supercomputers. PTP is a demonstration of how Web 2.0 provides people like you and me, one by one, the collective power to do something, amazing.

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