, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 45-52
Date: 28 Dec 2012

Solving Wicked Social Problems with Socio-computational Systems

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Global climate change is one of the most challenging problems humanity has ever faced. Fortunately, a new way of solving large, complex problems has become possible in just the last decade or so. Examples like Wikipedia and Linux illustrate how the work of thousands of people can be combined in ways that would have been impossible only a few years ago. Inspired by systems like these, we developed the Climate CoLab—a global, on-line platform in which thousands of people around the world work together to create, analyze, and ultimately select detailed plans for what we humans can do about global climate change.

The Climate CoLab has been operating since November 2009, and has an active community of thousands of users. In this article, we outline some of the challenges faced in developing the system, describe our current solutions to these problems, and report on our experiences.