A variety of authors like Yochai Benkler have argued that the rise of decentralized networks of knowledge creation, information processing, knowledge sharing, etc. are just an early indicator of a deep radical change in the economic and social realms.
Decentralized network-based systems challenge centralized hierarchical systems. Seti@home distributed computation challenges supercomputer makers like IBM and NEC; Web-as-a-platform systems and open source code development challenge Microsoft; p2p distribution challenges media giants like the recording industry; Wikipedia challenges Britannica; the Iowa Electronic Markets challenge expert political forecasters; and the list goes on.
I recently gave a short talk about the idea that the businesses that will succeed this disruptive wave will be the ones that figure out how to harness more people, more efficiently, in more sophisticated and creative ways, and this will require some new forms of science. A link to a video of the narrated slideshow can be found in this blogpost.