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Immortal since Apr 23, 2010
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Emergent day to you. 2010-04-22 is my knowmad birthday. Think I understood the word. More to emerge.
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    What Is Collective Intelligence?
    Project: Polytopia
    by George Por :

    As the CI meme is spreading fast online and off-line, so is the range of significance associated with it. For some, it is the ‘wisdom of crowds,’ for others it is the inter-subjective field of energy that comes into being when people interact from a position beyond ego—to name two of the popular branches of CI. Each of them can be thought of as a particular lens or context through which different meanings of CI can be accessed and can enhance each other. In this article, we introduce CI in the following three contexts: evolutionary, cognitive, and economic. Change agents can power up their impact by using them together.

    CI through the evolutionary lens. My late friend, Finn Voldtofte, described CI as, "The capability of a collective/social system to hold questions and language too complex for any individual intelligence to hold, and to work out strategies, visions, goals, and images of a desired future."

    My own sense of CI grew from examining its role in the unfolding of subsequent chapters in human history. Seen through this historical lens, CI is the capacity of human groups and systems to evolve towards higher order complexity and harmony.

    Voldtofte’s and my definitions of CI are complementary and certainly not value neutral; they imply directionality and historical concreteness. The level of CI reached by a collective entity is defined by the ensemble of knowledge and tools available to it in any stage of its evolution.

    Seen through the evolutionary lens, CI is always associated with a specific human group or social system and can be enhanced and taken to a new level through collective practices.

    In the jump time of history, when the old systems are in crisis and the new ones have not yet developed on a large scale, CI can do its job only if it is guided by collective wisdom. In such times discovering and engaging the path forward calls for the broader perspective of caring for evolution itself. Practices for the evolution of consciousness and social systems urgently need to be co-created and co-invented. Only then shall we be able to reduce the fear, resistance and suffering that are currently accompanying the transition to the new civilization.

    CI through the cognitive lens. Pierre Lévy, Canada Research Chair on CI at the University of Ottawa, wrote, “Intelligence refers to the main cognitive powers: perception, action planning and coordination, memory, imagination and hypothesis generation, inquisitiveness and learning abilities. The expression 'collective intelligence' designates the cognitive powers of a group."

    The emphasis on CI's cognitive dimension is strong in the work of Professor Lévy but he also acknowledges, "[E]mphasis on cognition does not intend to diminish the essential roles of emotions, bodies, medias, sign systems, social relations, technologies, biological environment or physical support in collective intelligence processes. The study of collective intelligence constitutes an inter-discipline aspiring as much to a dialogue between human and social sciences as with the technical, artistic and spiritual traditions."

    Clearly, the potential of such a dialogue cannot be overestimated. All the wisdom traditions value community and communal intelligence. Their confluence with the modern arts and sciences of CI will guide our learning journey to the next level of human possibility, the next stage of our societal evolution.

    CI through the ‘political economy’ lens. What was ‘collective intelligence’ in the evolutionary and cognitive contexts becomes ‘general intellect’ in the language of political economy. This term refers to the productive force of the social mind that has been evolving throughout the millennia. All of humankind’s technical and scientific knowledge is part of it.

    According to Adam Arvidsson, Michel Bauwens, Antonio Negri and other contemporary philosophers, the general intellect as a productive force includes also the affective qualities at play in the social organization of work and learning. Trust is one of them and more and more indispensable as the social glue that enables social networks, even transactions on eBay.

    Not only that, but the low level of trust among members of a collective entity, and with their external stakeholders, can and does hinder organizational effectiveness in business and government. It also means that low-trust ways of organizing limit the development of CI and as a consequence perform relatively poorly when compared with new, higher-trust ways.

    Shared by George Por in Kosmos Journal 2008

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