Collective intelligence as an aspect of participatory culture. Exemplified whereby a information or intelligence is generated through the collaboration or competition of individuals (dictionary.com, n.d.). This is most apparent in the rise of communications technology- interactivity enabled whereby users can modify, develop and generate their own content.
It is important not to confuse these two terms. Though the difference is subtle, it is vital to understanding what Collective Intelligence really is; it is the difference between knowing how to open a piece of software, and updating a piece of software with modifications from an online forum. Not everybody knows how to modify the software, but the few who do make it available for all to use.
InWikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes EverythingTapscott and Williams describe Collective Intelligence as ‘mass collaboration’ , stating that 4 features that are required in order for Collective Intelligence to thrive: Openness, Peering, Sharing, and Acting Globally.
Sharing ideas and intellectual property. Though this may seem ridiculous in a cut throat world where ideas are often stolen, this can be beneficial as it allows for positive criticism and, thus, improvement.
Allowing users to modify and develop and idea on the condition that they will then make it available to others- e.g. Linux. This encourages self-organization which can be very beneficial.
Companies share some ideas while maintaining a level of privacy over others.
The boom in communication technology has instigated a rise in global companies at low overheads; e.g. Skype conference calls- FREE calls worldwide! The internet eradicates global boundaries allowing access to new markets, ideas, and technologies.
Often it is hard to progress and develop without some form of helpful, constructive criticism in some form from someone else. Think of how we improve in our work once we receive grades and feedback from pieces we have already handed in. There are fewer people who know how to advance technology than we would think, therefore surely if they work together they will achieve more than if they work alone? It is often said that Collective Intelligence is necessary, if not vital, for technological development.
Collective Intelligence is often related to new media, and it isn’t too difficult to see example of this. As we saw before, Linux is a great example of a free, modifiable software that can be shared across the globe. But where else do we see Collective Intelligence in our everyday lives in terms of new media?
Social Network sites are prime examples of how Collective Intelligence is used worldwide to improve upon a service cost effectively. For example, Facebook’s Map application; users may ‘check in’ themselves and their friends to certain places and this will appear on their own personal map- this can also be done with photographs, ‘life events’, trips abroad, and hometowns. In order to improve this service Facebook requests that users update or correct certain locations using their own knowledge which is then made available to other users who ‘tag’ that place on their map.
Twitter’s design sister site ‘Themeleon’ allows users to create designs for their Twitter page and share them with other users who then may use them as they are or edit them to their own personal tastes.
From cooking and DIY help, to make up and hair tutorials, to game walk-throughs and testings, YouTube is an Aladdin’s Cave of shared knowledge (and occasionally, shared stupidity). In fact, YouTube relies on Collective Intelligence to keep it running- if users stop posting videos, video responses, written comments, and ratings, YouTube will collapse.
Massively multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG) such as ‘World of Warcraft’ are perfect examples of Collective Intelligence. The aim of most games of this type is to develop one’s character- this is often done through completing tasks with other players’ help and advice. Though the development of these games is usually undertaken by the corporate businesses who own the rights, players who are artists and game developers are often employed to assist. Furthermore, with the trend of ‘player-created content’ becoming more and more popular, users often undertake developments and changes themselves which they share with the gaming community.
Life Simulation games such as ‘The Sims’ often have large online communities through which players may seek advice for developing their game, as well as sharing and downloading content they have created either online or via software specific for this purpose- e.g. Houses, clothes, hair colour/style, pre-made Sims etc.
Though the original meaning derives from the term ‘Memetics’, a Darwinian based theory from Richard Dawkins, internet image memes have swept the globe, with new ones appearing every day. Popular Memes such as LOLcatz, Philosoraptor and Socially Awkward Penguin can be edited, developed, and made personal through online ‘Meme Generators’ that also offer the option to create entirely new Memes- once generated these are available to the general public who may then use or develop them as they wish.
Loved by all students who didn’t listen in class and need a quick overview to start their essay, Wikipedia is by far the mot obvious example of Collective Intelligence. Articles are made available to anybody who seeks them (as well as many who are led there through a series of hyperlinked phrases in completely unrelated articles), and may be edited, developed and improved by just about anybody! Unfortunately, Wikipedia’s heavy reliance on Collective Intelligence paradoxically prevents it from holding any academic validity, and thus any information learned must remain for personal use.
Yahoo! Answers is now considered to be one of the most useful and successful resources on the web, yet is reliant on Collective Intelligence to answer questions people couldn’t be bothered to Google.
The Internet Movie Database is reliant on users to provide ratings as well as trivia, biographies, plot summaries, and reviews in order to provide a reliable resource based on the public opinion.
Websites that offer musical instruction gain their information from users who upload their own knowledge to share with others with similar interests. Similarly to ensure accuracy, many of these websites include a rating system or feedback form through which visitors may offer corrections or modifications as they see fit.
Thank you for your time and patience. All images are courtesy of GoogleImages, Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo! Answers, and IMDB. And now in the spirit of Collective Intelligence, may I now take any questions and suggestions for development.
Pecha Kucha - Collective Intelligence
Collective CollectiveIntelligence Knowledge That which is That which is made available known by all to all members members of a of a community community