"A group of hyperconnected individuals choosing to hyperdistribute their knowledge around an identified domain can engender hyperintelligence. That hyperintelligence is not a static actor. To be in relation to a hyperintelligence necessarily means using the knowledge provided by that hyperintelligence where, when and as needed. The more comprehensive the hyperintelligence, the greater the range of possible uses and potential effects.
Perhaps the outstanding example of a hyperintelligence, Wikipedia provides only modest advantages in those developed parts of the world with ready access to knowledge. Yet in South Africa or India, where such knowledge resources did not exist, Wikipedia catapults individuals into a vastly expanded set of potential capabilities. Actions which would have been taken in ignorance are now wholly informed by the presence of hyperintelligence, and are, as a consequence, different and likely more effective. This is a perfect echo of the introduction of mobile telephony: in the developed world the mobile remains nice but rarely essential; in the developing world it is the difference between thriving and subsistence. Hyperintelligence is a capability amplifier.
Individuals are not alone in their relationship to a hyperintelligence; it is the product of the hyperdistribution activities of a hyperconnected network of people. These activities tend to improve through time, as the network amplifies its own capabilities. These two levels of hyperintelligence, individual and collective, produce radical transformations in both individual power and the power of hyperconnected individuals as a network. This hyperempowerment is hyperintelligence in action, the directed application of the knowledge and capabilities provided via hyperintelligence.
Hyperempowered individuals and networks are asymmetrically empowered relative to any individual or group of individuals (whether as a collective, an organization, or an institution) not similarly hyperempowered. In any exchange, hyperempowered actors will always be more effective in achieving their aims, because in every situation they know more, and know better how to act on what they know. The existence of hyperempowerment simultaneously creates a new class of selection pressure; as various social and cultural configurations interact with hyperempowered individuals and networks, they will be selected against unless they themselves use the techniques of hyperconnectivity, hyperdistribution and hyperintelligence to engender their own hyperempowerment. Once any one actor achieves hyperempowerment, all who interact with that actor must either hyperempower themselves or face extinction. This leads to a cascading series of hyperempowerments, as hyperempowered networks interact with networks which are not hyperempowered, and force those networks toward hyperempowerment.
Hyperconnectivity, hyperdistribution, hyperintelligence and hyperempowerment have propelled human culture to the midst of a psychosocial phase transition, similar to a crystallization phase in a supersaturated solution, a ‘revolution’ making the agricultural, urban and industrial revolutions seem, in comparison, lazy and incomplete. Twenty years ago none of this toolkit existed nor was even intimated. Twenty years from now it will be pervasively and ubiquitously distributed, inextricably bound up in our self-definition as human beings. We have always been the product of our relationships, and now our relationships are redefining us." (http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/2011/02/20/the-new-toolkit/)
Stages in the development of individual empowerment
"The move toward individual empowerment is a long, gradual revolution. It began with the first personal computers, which caught on in the early 1980s. With PCs, people got the power to do what big business called "data processing"—but in many more ways than any company could ever do.
The next stage in the revolution was networking. There were "local area networks" and "online services" available before the Internet, but none that made individuals free to network on their own. The Internet did that.
The third stage was smartphones. With smartphones, the individual has both computing and networking in a device as portable as a wallet—but not as personal. Smartphones do provide a lot of freedom, but they are still controlled by phone companies, and in some cases (notably Apple's) also by the manufacturer. This wasn't true of the PC, and it isn't true of the Internet.
This revolution in personal liberation and empowerment won't be complete until we are free to use our computing and networking powers with any device we like, outside the exclusive confines of "providers." This won't be easy. Big companies and old industries are notoriously bad at changing their ways and giving up control, even when obvious opportunities argue for embracing openness and change. There is also big money behind "big data" and supporting the belief that marketing machinery can know people better than people know themselves." (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444873204577535352521092154.html)
The three other characteristics of the Age of Connection are: