We have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to make the world work better.
Happily, now we can. Intelligence is being infused into the way the world literally works—into the systems, processes and infrastructure that allow services to be delivered, that facilitate the movement of everything from money and oil to water and electrons, and that can help billions of people work and live.
And although it may be surprising for a company like IBM to say this, the primary challenges facing the world are not of technology, but of policy, culture, collaboration and purpose.
In the end, that’s what we mean when we talk about building a smarter planet. When a business takes a systemic view of the world—when you see the economy, society and physical environment as a complex, global system—it opens up new ways of working with all your constituencies—communities, clients and individuals—in ways that matter:
Introduction: These are system crises—from security, to climate, to food and water, to energy, to financial markets and more. Together, they tell us that our economy and society are now globally integrated. They also tell us that the systems by which the world works must be transformed. In their current forms, they are unsustainable.
Over the past decade, we have seen, from multiple angles, that we are all connected: economically, socially, technically, biologically, and environmentally. When a crisis occurs on one part of the planet—whether from microbes, malware or mortgages—it can bring problems to the entire planet within days… or even hours.
We can now see that being connected isn’t enough. The way the world literally works has to become smarter.
Assist victims of natural disasters
When disasters strike, speed and coordination of relief efforts can make the difference between life and death. Those involved need to understand quickly what is happening on the ground and how to make a maximum impact. Victims in Sri Lanka, Philippines, Indonesia, Peru and China’s Sichuan Province have benefited from Sahana, an open source, Web-based “disaster relief in a box” management system. The software, supported by IBM, provides essential tools for tracking missing persons, coordinating relief efforts and managing pledges for support.