background preloader

How to Cultivate Collective Intelligence

The first time I heard the word "swarming" in a business context, it made me chuckle. I had an instant visual of bees dressed in suits and carrying briefcases, furiously buzzing over, under, and around a conference table. They weren’t accomplishing anything—just making a lot of noise and looking for something to sting. Then it occurred to me that all worker bees are female. Each bee in my mental image was now wearing a suit with a skirt, and red high heels on all six feet. By this point I was ready to give up on the idea of swarming in business altogether. However, I am a huge believer in collective intelligence, whether at work or in the wild. Similarly, the human brain is naturally wired for empathy, connectivity, and collaboration. An important issue may develop in another time zone across the world, or an immediate deadline may be set. Progress will depend on your ability to bring together highly functioning groups of diverse people.

Related:  WisdomCollective IntelligenceCollaborative Organizations

The Nature of Consciousness: How the Internet Could Learn to Feel - Steve Paulson "Romantic reductionist" neuroscientist Christof Koch discusses the scientific side of consciousness, including the notion that all matter is, to varying degrees, sentient. If you had to list the hardest problems in science -- the questions even some scientists say are insoluble -- you would probably end up with two: Where do the laws of physics come from? How does the physical stuff in our brains produce conscious experience? Even though philosophers have obsessed over the "mind-body problem" for centuries, the mystery of consciousness wasn't considered a proper scientific question until two or three decades ago. Then, a couple of things happened.

Getting from Collective Intelligence to Collective Action I really enjoyed attending the Collective Intelligence FOO Camp, sponsored by Google and O'Reilly Media, last weekend. I'd been expecting a sort of geek slumber party, and had looked forward to rolling out my awesome Darth Vader impersonation. I was all set to cut loose with a growling, "I'm your father, Luke." Collective Intelligence Collective Intelligence As we explore ways to generate more effective groups, organizations, institutions, and other human systems, it may help to begin by taking a closer look at collective intelligence. When I investigate the problems that we face in the world today, I seldom find that individual evil is a central cause. More often I find basically good, intelligent people collectively generating discord and disaster -- in families, groups, organizations, nations and the world. Meanwhile, in their own lives, from their own perspective (and usually that of their loved ones), most of them are doing perfectly good, decent things.

Hard problem of consciousness The existence of a "hard problem" is controversial and has been disputed by some philosophers.[4][5] Providing an answer to this question could lie in understanding the roles that physical processes play in creating consciousness and the extent to which these processes create our subjective qualities of experience.[3] Several questions about consciousness must be resolved in order to acquire a full understanding of it. These questions include, but are not limited to, whether being conscious could be wholly described in physical terms, such as the aggregation of neural processes in the brain.

Collective intelligence in small teams A new study co-authored by MIT researchers documents the existence of collective intelligence among groups of people who cooperate well, showing that such intelligence extends beyond the cognitive abilities of the groups’ individual members, and that the tendency to cooperate effectively is linked to the number of women in a group. Many social scientists have long contended that the ability of individuals to fare well on diverse cognitive tasks demonstrates the existence of a measurable level of intelligence in each person. In a study published Thursday, Sept. 30, in the advance online issue of the journal Science, the researchers applied a similar principle to small teams of people. They discovered that groups featuring the right kind of internal dynamics perform well on a wide range of assignments, a finding with potential applications for businesses and other organizations. “We did not know if groups would show a general cognitive ability across tasks,” said Thomas W.

Collaborative Leadership What is collaborative leadership?Why practice collaborative leadership?When is collaborative leadership appropriate? A Brief Guide to Embodied Cognition: Why You Are Not Your Brain Embodied cognition, the idea that the mind is not only connected to the body but that the body influences the mind, is one of the more counter-intuitive ideas in cognitive science. In sharp contrast is dualism, a theory of mind famously put forth by Rene Descartes in the 17th century when he claimed that “there is a great difference between mind and body, inasmuch as body is by nature always divisible, and the mind is entirely indivisible… the mind or soul of man is entirely different from the body.” In the proceeding centuries, the notion of the disembodied mind flourished. From it, western thought developed two basic ideas: reason is disembodied because the mind is disembodied and reason is transcendent and universal. However, as George Lakoff and Rafeal Núñez explain:

Collective intelligence Does this person feel playful or irritated? If you said irritated, you aren't as likely to raise the collective intelligence of a group. It is a truism that the smartest of all of us is not smarter than all of us, but how much smarter all of us are depends on how we work together. Ecology lives and breathes by group efforts these days--very rarely are papers ever published by a single author. Yet, we have paid scant attention to how to put these groups together and what makes them successful. A paper last fall in Science actually did experiments to test what factors made groups collectively the most intelligent.