Consider a game of chance: Poker
Poker is a family of card games involving betting and individual play, whereby the winner is determined by the ranks and combinations of their cards, some of which remain hidden until the end of the game.
With the exception of initial forced bets, money is only placed into the pot voluntarily by a player who either believes the bet has positive expected value or who is trying to bluff other players for various strategic reasons. Thus, while the outcome of any particular hand significantly involves chance, the long-run expectations of the players are determined by their actions chosen on the basis of probability, psychology and game theory.
The game is more about the perception of information rather than the reality of the hands.
Now think about how the game changes if every player knows what is in each others hand.
The game is no longer about the possibility of the hand, but rather the statistical likelihood that they will get the resources that they need in order to defeat each other's hand.
It seems like there is a lot of fun taken out of this scenario, but in Video Poker, there is no 'bluff', there no means gambit; it is just raw statistics, chance, and heavily weighted algorithmic probability.
How might it be made more interesting for a group to play?
What if everyone knew the exact order of the cards in the deck?
What if the players could trade their cards to make the best winning hand to defeat the dealer?
We are at a very interesting curve in the human evolution. We sit at the apex of another major transition of existence.
Allow me to set the stage.
Data Driven Industries: The modern economy has long been on the path of statistical analysis for fun and profit. We've come a long way from "Nielsen Family".
The quest for Big Data has become a clear goal for the human race.
Regardless of whether it's Target knowing a girl is pregnant before her father did, or the Snowden revelation of surveillance by the NSA, or the Genomic surveillance of the recent Ebola virus to track its origin, big data analytics is seen in bright focus since the turn of the millennium.
Information is power, and the "freedom" of information is likely the most powerful thing imaginable.
The recent breach of at the Community Heath Systems shows the potential power of information; imagine empowering a nation to shortcut years of research and study to provide health care; statistically matching symptom to cure.
In the near future, things like the recent Celebrity Dox'ing are going to be nullified by a dramatic shift in the concept of privacy.
In 1893 Émile Durkheim introduced the concept of the collective consciousness. Durkheim argued that in traditional/primitive societies (those based around clan, family or tribal relationships) totemic religion played an important role in uniting members through the creation of a common consciousness (conscience collective in the original French). In societies of this type, the contents of an individual's consciousness are largely shared in common with all other members of their society, creating a mechanical solidarity through mutual likeness.
Discontiguous groups have been forming around the same 'mutual likeness' that Durkheim observed in the clans and tribes. One notable difference in this context is the commercialization facilitation and data-mining of this process.
More and more, we are voluntarily trading our traditional notion of privacy for an expanded illusion of intimacy. We want to be closer to those that we do not see every day. For those that we see every day, we want more context by which to interact.
This artificial/implicit intimacy is also snowballing at the speed of technology. From Wearable Computing, such as Google Glass, GoPro, and Fitbit, to 'Smart devices' which can anticipate our needs like Nest, an entire industry is blossoming to service the need to collect and share more data.
The "Internet of Things" is at our doorstep. What could be a greater symbol of the "power of information" than "The Internet of Things".
Everyday disparate autonomous devices, all sharing information to better service our collective needs individually; and at the center of it all, a collection of "benevolent corporations".
In our lifetime, soon even, we will be able to purchase or subscribe to the amount of storage necessary to capture the entirety of a persons life, start to finish.
Everyone needs information; they need it to survive, to thrive, to succeed. Just like in the example of Poker, foreknowledge can escalate up until the point where everyone has the data; then the game changes entirely.
The future is Data Brokering.
We are adapting to the idea that digital currency can be a viable means of commerce. Bitcoin is just the beginning.
We already spend our every waking moment checking to see what our friends are doing via their posts on Facebook. It is already a pay to play sort of engagement where the trade for access is the exchange of access to your personal record; A pound of flesh...
The newest crowd sourcing startups challenge the traditional export with the notion of spare-cycle processing; Mechanical Turks, Uber, AirBnB, Etsy...
If we can look to one another for common, every day services, and we no longer need to rely on traditional businesses to deliver them, than where does it end?
Imagine a world of the not-to-distant future where not only can we see your dinner on Instagram, we can login to Yelp to taste the food, a future where we can experience the ambiance, all without actually physically going there.
The collective consciousness doesn't have to manifest the way that it does in The Borg.