[c] Josep Mª Monguet. Collective intelligence. Summary of the lecture at Innovation Kitchen Barcelona. November 10th 2015.
Collective intelligence (CI) is not new, but like many other areas has gained momentum with technology. CI has been here since the beginning of the times, hunting mammoths for instance was already a CI activity and humans did a lot of creativity improving the hunting tools, and innovation was quite efficient because there are no more mammoths right now.
I do sincerely belief collective Intelligence (CI) is an important driver of the future. Imagine for a moment that some of us might put our brains to work in parallel with a certain level of efficiency. In fact according with the current research, when measuring CI as team performance, it correlates with how well a team works but not with the IQ level of the team members. There is no doubt that technology will help us to be much more efficient in working together and that artificial intelligence will serve a lot at the service of CI.
This lecture will try to inspire you in relation to CI hidden potentials for intelligence development, understanding intelligence in terms of knowledge production and in its creative or practical life dimensions. We have not been very well educated in relation to collective activities, nor educated at all about future or about collective action while new capacities and skills in all these areas are going to be key for innovation. We do a lot of teamwork, we play team sports but in general we do not have tools to play as collectives as we have to play as individuals.
Francis Galton, a multifaceted scientist from the XIX century, attended once a farmers’ fair, where one of the activities consisted of trying to guess the weight of an ox. Around 800 people participated in the contest and wrote their guesses on tickets. The person who guessed closest to the weight of the ox won the prize. After the contest Francis Galton took the 800 tickets and did some statistics. He discovered that the average guess of “all the entrants” was remarkably close to the actual weight of the ox. This collective guess was not only better than the actual winner of the contest but also better than the guesses made by cattle experts at the fair.
A domestic simple example of CI is “Who wants to be a millionaire”, a contest in which sometimes the player can ask the audience (the joker card). Each member of the audience makes an individual vote for one of the answers. The votes are collected and the results are displayed. If a particular answer gets a lot of votes, the player generally goes along with it, and in 95% of the cases it is correct.
Juries verdicts may be considered a relevant case of CI. The jury is at the frontier of another concept known, from a long time ago, as “Collective Wisdom”. If CI is related with human knowledge, collective wisdom might be related with human values. The problem is that according to research juries are wrong in one out of eighth cases.
A case that someone could typify as a bit worrying is the “Good Judgement Project” aimed to find new approaches to political forecasting. Hundreds of questions related to geopolitics were sent to thousands of participants to evaluate their forecasting capacity. This served to select the top 2%, so called super forecasters, able to be quite accurate in guessing about world events evolution.
Acting in an intelligent way collectively may be done through different strategies and particularly using Internet tools. In this session we will propose the use of two different internet tools that may be categorised in the field of collective intelligence. Tools are creations of Onsanity. www.onsanity,com
1. Team Equilibrium
Register, login and just follow the instructions. Once you get your profile please invite members of your team to compare individual differences and discuss the profile of the group. This exercise is intended at promoting consciousness and implications of team profile.
2. 2050 Lab
http://lab.healthconsensus.net /Ask for nominal participation. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information visit: http://healthconsensus.net
I propose to participate in a collective intelligence tool to develop our intuition about the future. Nobody knows what is going to happen in the future but if we could combine the intuitions of the right people, people with a balanced combination of creativity, rationality, knowledge and experience, their collective intuition could be a fine approach to the trends of the future.
The tool consists of a Real Time Delphi system that allows getting consensus about a particular model of the future. In this case the model is about knowledge and academy in 2050.
Once the model is discussed and agreed upon, participants start the process of responding to the questions they are asked. As soon as a participant answers a question, an instant representation of all of the participants aggregated results is displayed next to the answer. This way, the participant may ponder the answer against the crowds answer through centrality (mean or median) and dispersion scores (standard deviation or interquartile range) and decide whether or not to change his or her opinion. As it is allowed to change answers to facilitate agreement, it’s easy at the end see which components of the model have gained a strong consensus and where weak agreements have been found.
(image source : Pink Sherbet Photography on Flickr)