I really loved this talk from Clay Shirky on how the ‘Internet’ could transform government (below). In it, he primarily talks about Git (and GitHub). Git is a wicked cool tool that I use every day as a programmer. It’s a version control system for collaborative software development. Think of it as a library, in which all manuscripts are being written simultaneously. Each author can pop in and contribute to every other author’s book. And all previously versions of the library (as it expands) are saved. It’s democratic project management. More or less.
But it has no easy learning curve, especially if you’re not a techie. What I find most interesting about Git is that as human knowledge accumulates and as scientists are conceivably unable to know all of the requisite fields to draw new incredible cross-disciplinary revelations, that the combined, de-centralized brain of a Git project might allow for discoveries once science is beyond the scope of our own ability to synthesize it. Cool.
I like the idea of government running off of git, though it’s a little hard to imagine what would precipitate that type of power shift. However, where there’s not a huge power difference between parties, it can be an ideal platform. Writing software is very similar to writing novels, in my mind. They’re often big and sprawling multi-year projects where one loses track of various threads. You constantly battle against a sea of information. I can certainly imagine co-writing a future novel in Git.