An important post by David Bollier at OntheCommons: Aspen Institute convened a conference on Collective Intelligence. David wrote a 75 page paper reprising what he heard emerge from the collective intelligence of those attending. His post offers a capsule summary.
I did not see "the public interest" emerge as a theme. Commerce and culture get us part way there. But polity comes into it as well. We are ultimately talking about the creation and allocation of knowledge, pleasure, profit, wisdom, status, identity, ownership, control, and political power. Who wraps their wrapper around that commons and says, "Mine"? Or says, "Ours"? Does the political commons, our democracy, wrap around the digital commons, or does the digital commons, privately owned, begin to wrap itself around the public square and the political sphere?
So much of the early work on these issues was done by Libertarian tech and marketing types (the Clue Train crowd). We are way behind in thinking through the digital commons from the standpoint of the nonprofit sector and the political sphere. Power to the Edges, and subverting hierarchy, and co-creation of value does not inspire me much if the whole thing is wrapped into a limited liability company owned and operated by Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, Rupert Murdock of MySpace, or Candidia Cruikshanks and her triple bottom line social venture funders at the CIA.