Sunday, November 27, 2011

What is the collective intelligence?

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals and appears in consensus decision making in bacteria, animals, humans and computer networks.  For what is relevant here, it is a fantastic phenomenon where Groups of individuals doing things collectively that seem intelligent.
There is a long way along since the entomologist  Mr. William Morton Wheeler's observation (seemingly independent individuals can cooperate so closely as to become indistinguishable from a single organism stated in 1911) who was the first to mention the "superorganism" to the most recent phenomenon of Twitter or Wikipedia. But nowadays, thanks to the current technology development seams the right moment to finally enhance the “collective intelligence” to the level it deserves.
It is not just the technology development though, there are other signals show us that the “collective intelligence” can be the new way, the right track to a better future. In the last January 25th, during the day of the revolution in Egypt, most of the communication among the revolts was done by Twitter. Not by chance, Weal Ghonim, Egyptian, was recognized as the most influential person of the year by Time USA because he started the protests vs the Egyptian government from his blog. Weal Ghonim has been the starter not the leader. The people, the Egyptians are still fighting for their rights today with no single leader but people around an ideal and put together thanks to internet.

It is like as a Super-Superman who thinks and acts with the speed of light because it is made by millions of individuals who thanks to internet and the social networks create a swarm. Indeed like ant colonies, bird flocking, animal herding, bacterial growth, and fish schooling that show a super power, a superior capacity who is difficult and almost impossible to stop, even for entire army as it is happening these days in Egypt and how it happened in Libya.
There are three basic learning so far:
a)    A group of people is more powerful than the sum of individuals.
b)   The movement of the group of people is amplified and speeded up by internet
c)    Many cluster of animals have the same working processes

I see the Collective intelligence as a fantastic opportunity to make the whole world evolve to a better status but without flying so high is a great chance to improve systems and productivities to give better and fairer welfare.

1 comment:

  1. It is true that a group of people MAY sometimes be more powerful than the sum of individuals. But I can name organizations where the opposite is true - the collective intelligence of the organization is considerably lower than the aggregate intelligence of the individual members.

    It is also possible that the Internet MAY amplify and accelerate communication, but the opposite is also possible - that the Internet may sometimes create too much noise for meaningful signals to be effectively transmitted.

    In my work on Organizational Intelligence, I am interested in exploring the critical success factors for the kind of synergy and amplification that you are talking about.