I conclude that Big Data, while potentially powerful and useful, is not a universal solution. I also explain why the concept of super-governments ruling their citizens or of companies steering their customers in a top-down way will not work on the long run. To master the growing complexity as we network our world, as cultural evolution progresses, and as economic markets differentiate, we need a more decentralized approach. The “Internet of Things” will empower self-organizing systems that create socio-economic order and functionalities of many kinds in a bottom-up way. This approach can solve the problem of over-regulation, benefit from diversity, and promote innovation, collective intelligence, societal resilience, and individual happiness.
The world is changing at an ever-increasing pace. This has called for new approaches to support decision-making. Due to many instances of misuse, attempts to collect huge masses of data have undermined the trust of people in a conventional Big Data approach. But the digital revolution does not mean that we must loose human rights, free decisions, dignity, and democracy. There are better ways to create social order and socio-economic well-being with future information systems than by massive data collection of sensitive personal data and surveillance of all kinds, from speed control to Internet control and, one day, perhaps even thought control. As I have pointed out, diversity and independent decision-making are important preconditions for collective intelligence, which is needed to turn the complexity of the world into our advantage. The consideration of multiple perspectives is key to master our future in an increasingly complex society.