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Collective Intelligence 101? – Thank you my favourite muse :-*


Jaiku can be very (understatement) inspirational, and this time I managed to inspire my favourite muse, Henriette, to write a great blog-post, despite her being sick.

Web avant-garde » Blog Archive » the pulsefrequency of the brain (and it’s effect on creativity and incubation)

I wrote this on Jaiku to thank her:

Thanks, very nice!!! It was sort of a “thank you”. Remember some months ago you asked about ideas on how to be creative, and I just started blogging like a madman… I’ll think of a worthy comment, but I do need to catch some alpha-waves – surfs up – ahem down…

First Henriette asks this question:

so what do YOU love to do ? and are you doing it when you are taking time off ?

Henriette loved this:

This weekend I took my favorite man and went on a mental training workshop by Susan Ekberg. It was a real mental kick and I got so much out of it. Among other things she talked about the pulsefrequency of the brain which I want to share with ya’ll.

So I promised her a “worthy” answer:

This is (one thing) that I love – when not catching Alpha Waves (which I try to practice Yoga Nidra to achieve), or walking and/or biking in nature.

I love to ponder the future, technology, and how it can finally help humanity evolve. Today it has mostly made us slaves – the production lines has never run faster than today, despite talk about a “spare-time society” – where you aren’t a slave.

So here goes “nothing“:

Henriette mentions “Collective Intelligence”, this is a subject I’ve been trying to brew up a blog-post on, since July. It’s, tentatively, titled “Building a framework for (online) knowledge sharing“.

That blog post was itself inspired by the GREAT session “Boosting our collective intelligence” at reboot 9.0, but it was actually triggered by a Jaiku presence stream.

Below are some quotes from – and comments I’ve just added to – this future blog-post. It’s a work in progress, but I feel like I’ve been kind of stuck, and getting it out now might help getting reactions, and taking a cue from some of Henriette’s blog-posts, I need to spice it up with some line-drawings.

Note: Yesterday is now somewhat later, but this is going to be my most ambitious web-post ever, so it will take some time before I release it:

As noted some weeks ago, using the service Jaiku can be very inspirational.

One of the most interesting aspects of Jaiku is the fact that you select what people to follow – or listen in to – this means that you get the opportunity to eavesdrop on the conversations, or presence streams, that your contacts are engaging in.

It’s a bit like overhearing a phone conversation, where you, at first, only hears what the person sitting next to you is talking about, and you then later discuss it with that person.

When you add the asynchronous aspect to it, it gets really interesting, this is because you have access to a transcript of the conversation, and you can, if you dare, join the conversation.

This happened [yesterday], when Gunnar Langemark, who I follow (“subscribe to” might be the correct term) on Jaiku, commented on this presence message: “Jaiku | Og hvornår bliver det muligt isoleret at kommentere på en kommentar??” (translation: “when will it be possible, isolated, to comment on a comment??”).

This let me to ponder this, regarding sharing of knowledge, and a real world example where I just couldn’t locate some information on a Wiki I knew I was there – since I had entered it myself – why couldn’t I find the information, and how I, eventually, managed to recover the information.

Last week I found an obvious error in an article on the Wiki. I knew that I had written about it, I just couldn’t find the information, despite the wiki’s powerful search function.

I finally found the information, but it required that I repeated the process involved, when I originally stored the information.

I remembered how I found the information in the first place, using google, I did a similar google search, the correct article showed up, I now had a narrower search criteria, and I immediately found the article using the wiki’s search.


It was only because I remembered how I found the information in the first place that I was able to find it again, and this information was almost totally lost in the wiki.

What if you in some way could save the information about the process, when you stored knowledge, I was only able to find the information, because the process was stored in my “wetware” and it still was “online” (meaning: I’m still sharing this moment in time with you: I’m alive – dear readers ;-)).


What was it actually that was lost, and what was the reason I couldn’t retrieve the information?


Well! It was very important “meta-data” about the process.

Suggested solution:

What if you could have information about the process saved, along with the information. The information should be saved automatically, or you should at least be prompted to give information about the process, every-time you stored information.

Collective Intelligence

And this is why I need to study sociology!

The MIT Centre for Collective Intelligence (MITCCI), is a great place to start.

MITCCI is developing a handbook, and this is a quote from the introduction that defines the concept of “Collective Intelligence”: “What is collective intelligence”:

Many people have offered definitions of collective intelligence and related terms over the years (see definitions of collective intelligence at wikipedia). See also related but different concepts, such as the “popular mind” (Le Bon, 1896), “collective representations” (Durkheim, 1895), “group mind” (Freud, 1901), and “collective unconscious” (Jung, 1968).

Perhaps the closest early definition of what we have in mind is in Weschsler’s (1971) “Concept of Collective Intelligence.” He writes that collective means “pertaining to a quality or trait that is shared in any way by two or more persons or things…it also presupposes some degree of concerted endeavor, but mere conjoint effort or behavior is not enough. One must distinguish between collective behavior and collective intelligence….The main question is not only whether a group of individual working together may not, through concerted thinking, come up with a better solution (or for that matter a poorer one) but whether in doing so the individuals composing the group may not have acquired or made us of perceptions or insights not experienced or available to them when working or cogitating alone.”

Rather than simply adopting one of this or the other definitions here, however, we will first analyze the two words that make up the term:“intelligence” and “collective”.

MITCCI comes up with a simple definition of what they think “Collective Intelligence” is:

Groups of individuals doing things collectively that seem intelligent.


Collective Intelligence relies upon the individual knowledge, creativity, and identity of its constituent parts, and emerges from a synergy between them. In its highest forms, participating in collective intelligence can actually help people self-actualize while solving collective problems.

Conclusion – for now

As the tentative title suggests, I want to help develop the concepts into an actual framework, that can be used to make it simpler to share knowledge online – it’s amazing how little help we get from our immensely powerful computers, when we’re trying to share knowledge, leading to MAJOR redundancy.

FAQs are helpful, but it’s just easier to ask the question again, and this is not, usually (there are exceptions 😉 because the person asking the question is stupid, it’s most frequently, because the person can’t find the answer, which is frustrating because the person is certain, and often right, that the information is available where he’s looking, it’s just hidden.

Pyramid builders

Google works by “brute force”. It’s only because information is so abundant on the web, that it works, and Google deserves very little credit for building a business on other peoples work.

Google really fit’s the eternal words of Alan Kay:

If you look at software today, through the lens of the history of engineering, it’s certainly engineering of a sort—but it’s the kind of engineering that people without the concept of the arch did. Most software today is very much like an Egyptian pyramid with millions of bricks piled on top of each other, with no structural integrity, but just done by brute force and thousands of slaves.

The slaves are “you and me”, providing free content for Google to make money from – and the feeding frenzy is building, after the successful IPO of Google has revived the belief in the concept of “New Economy” (that is, however, called something else these days, and you’re not going to hear the dreaded Two-Dot-OMG word from me).

Abolish slavery

So I want something much more sophisticated, so that we can stop creating the same information over and over again.

What I really have to do, is hit the books to develop this idea further – it will be about technology, but not just yet.

So far I’ve tried to enlist a woman that studies sociology, but she’s preoccupied preparing for the gift of motherhood – congratulations to her!!!

Thank you my favourite muse

Thank you so much Henriette for inspiring me to pick this up again, I feel that it’s important:

Was this actually collective intelligence at play? And was this a “worthy” answer my dear muse?

3 replies on “Collective Intelligence 101? – Thank you my favourite muse :-*”

First – I don’t recall being called a muse before – but I am very happy to be making a difference in your thoughts =) and BULLSEYE.. what an interesting blogpost – I am looking forward to see what this evolves into.

The idea of making such a framework is great – however I don’t really know how it would work in practice as of yet – but book consulting might be a really good idea =)

And I think that collective intelligence is at play – in most jaiku streams it often is =)

I have NO idea of how it could work or be build – but if you’ve worked with development tools, you’ve heard of something called “Intellisense”, it has now found it’s way to browsers, so that it does a dynamic Google search “on the fly”. It’s an advanced version of that I have in mind (I think).

How to fund me? Give me some money – LOL!

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