Peter Thompson and Anni Rowland-Campbell co-hosted an ANZSOG/Web Science Australia event in Canberra on 22 October – “Government as a Social Machine”. Special guest was Dame Wendy Hall of the University of Southampton. In 2006 Wendy became a founding director of the Web Science Research Initiative, along with Sir Tim Berners-Lee. She was at the birth when the internet sprung into life. Wendy presented a thrilling narrative of the developmental history and emergent future possibilities of the web.
In 2013 – Anni has directed an ANZSOG research project into the idea of digital technologies creating a kind of social machine – and its implications for the public sector. A social machine is made up of creative contributions made by citizens (the social part) and a host that provides the site and admin (the machine part). Wikipedia is a good example of a social machine. The social machine has potential to facilitate citizen democracy, government-citizen two way communication and better delivery of government services.