The following excerpt is from a paper I have written titled The Emergent Web.
I do not assume the term Emergent Web will be adopted en masse but I do believe those who believe in the power of these ideas should come up with a unifying message to rally the investment community, politicians, technologists, academics, and users to see beyond only a return on investment to a return on interaction in how people are benefiting from the technologies built. Could this new web build better tools to monitor this? Where an improvement in movement could be measured from an Alzheimer's patient interacting in a virtual world or a reduction in healthcare costs could be tracked through a tool allowing doctors to more effectively and efficiently relate patient conditions to medical coding. Link to passage
As this initial paper is only a vehicle for feedback I am looking to refine the concept of a Return on Interaction for a book in development. I am begging the question do we want to live in a society where a return in a free market is only measured through monetary value derived from the exchange? Or could a measured exchange of personal value become a currency for those wishing to invest in the well being of the social connection?
There are personal and social costs inherited from the ravages of Alzheimer's disease? If VR technology was able to improve the motor skills of a group of Alzheimer patients interacting with virtual objects, could the sharing of performance data from embedded sensors with funding sources encourage an increase in funding thereby increasing adoption and reducing these personal and social costs? Could this formula also apply to technology assisting with skill development, threat detection, and problem solving where real time feedback flows back to the funding sources?
I admit the thought of technology providing a conduit for measuring interactions unleashed through the lens of a centralized top down web is frightening to say the least (China's Social Credits) but through the lens of what Tim Berners Lee is proposing through his decentralized Solid framework of Personal Online Data Stores (PODS) where all data is controllable by the user, the possibilities seem endless under a permission based system.
Adam Smith wrote in the Wealth of Nations "They say nothing concerning the bad effects of high profits. They are silent in regards to the pernicious effects of their own gains. They complain of only those of other people.” If there were a throughput between user interaction and investor action, could the benevolent effects of funding personal and social impact moderate these pernicious effects, even more than general philanthropy?
Certainly Return on Interaction would never replace a thirst for a Return on Investment but what is possible when a piece of an investor’s portfolio affords a direct connection between their gains and the benefit of another. Not by proxy but through an organic connection with a personal or social benefit. We are finally at a place technically where this is possible through mobile connectivity, sensor capabilities and soon to be immersive realities, but the question remains if an appetite exists for such a notion. A notion of not only funding technology to build business capital but funding through technology to build human capital.
I have never walked in the shoes of an investor so I am looking for feedback to help form a more informed viewpoint. Curious to hear the Cake community’s thoughts on this.