What is collective intelligence?
One simple definition of intelligence is the ability to achieve a goal. Throughout history, human society has progressed not primarily due to the superior intelligence of a few extraordinary individuals, but rather, because of the collective intelligence of groups: tribes on the savannah; the first city-states and empires in ancient times; and in the modern era, nation states, corporations, and world-spanning markets.
What’s new over the past few decades is that advances in information technology, such as the Internet and artificial intelligence, now allow novel forms of collective intelligence to be created that are larger and more sophisticated than any that have previously existed. We use the term supermind, which means “a group of individuals acting together in ways that seem intelligent,” to refer to these new kinds of collective intelligence. It’s important to note that these combinations can include not only human minds but also computers, that is, “minds” embodied in silicon chips and software.
What does CCI do?
CCI’s mission is to understand collective intelligence at a deep level to be able to take advantage of the new possibilities it presents. Another way of saying this: we seek to learn about the workings of superminds so we and the world can build new kinds of superminds in the future.
These aspirations are embodied in the animating question behind CCI’s work:
How can people and computers
be connected so that
they act more intelligently
than any person, group, or computer
has ever done before?
Our hope is that CCI’s work will lead both to new scientific understanding in a variety of disciplines and to practical advances in many areas of business and society.