Howard Rheingold on Smart Mobs

Mark Frauenfelder of BoingBoing has an interview with Howard Rheingold about his new book, Smart Mobs.

I looked at a number of phenomena that I am seeing today. Peer-to-peer sharing, for example, or peer-to-peer sharing of computing power as is done with SETI@home or Distributed.net. These are examples of groups of individuals voluntarily creating something collectively that’s much more powerful than what they could do individually. You see a kind of emergent property here. Napster had 70 million users. Intellectual property issues aside, the important thing about Napster was that people were able to create this kind of commons in which the act of sharing created more value for everyone. By the way in which all those millions of computer users shared their files, the act of finding something that you would find useful automatically made your resources available to others.