LeoGlossary: Ecosystem (Digital)

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The term ecosystem is used to describe all organisms and the physical environment they are in.

Ecosystems are dynamic entities, controlled by both internal and external factors. Energy, in the natural world, is provided through photosynthesis. From here, all food supplies manifest.

One of the keys is diversity. In the natural environment, a wide range of species exists. They interact based upon their own "programming". This helps the ecosystem to flourish and expand. They are organic in nature while also being extremely complex.

Digital Ecosystems

These are modeled after the natural ecosystems around us.

In the digital realm, competition and collaboration are both present, just like the natural counterpart. Here we see the properties of sustainability, self-organization, and scalability all emerge. It is a socio-technical system whereby the different participants operate according to their own interest, furthering the evolution of the entire system.

The Internet made this concept rather popular. Industries such as entertainment and computers have long thought of things in this manner. It is also a concept that was applied to social media networks.

We could see this concept further enhanced going forward with the evolution of Web 3.0. This is based upon the idea of decentralization, something that is a foundation of natural ecosystems. By using blockchain as the database system, we can see how applications and games built upon it take on a different connotation.

Networks of this nature have the collaborative essence that is sometimes missing within the Web 2.0 landscape. Since ownership of the platforms tends to be a corporation, there are few who have ownership interest. With cryptocurrency tied to a blockchain network, we see how anyone who is holding the coin is in position of having a financial stake in the system.


The idea of a Digital Business Ecosystem was put forward in 2002 by a group of European researchers and practitioners, including Francesco Nachira, Paolo Dini and Andrea Nicolai.

They applied the general notion of digital ecosystems to model the process of adoption and development of ICT-based products and services in competitive, highly fragmented markets. They used the one in Europe as an example.


It is likely that the impact of the digital world on humanity will only keep growing. Digital ecosystems are going to include not only humans but automation. The idea of [artificial intelligence](@leoglossary/leoglossary-artificial-intelligence0 is already starting to take hold.

In addition to energy, computational power and data are the food for these ecosystems. Each person is generates a massive amount on a daily basis. In addition to being content creators on social media, people also do so by their surfing of the Web or the tracking on their phone.

The ability to monetize these system is starting to take shape. This turns a digital ecosystem into an economy, another ecosystem of sorts. Here is where individuals can actually become businesses. An example is a person who makes a living simply from gaming.


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