LinkLog: Collective Intelligence 2012

We seek papers about behavior that is both collective and intelligent. By collective, we mean groups of individual actors, including, for example, people, computational agents, and organizations. By intelligent, we mean that the collective behavior of the group exhibits characteristics such as, for example, perception, learning, judgment, or problem solving.

With a fascinating set of topics, this conference promises to be a great one.

Topics of interest include but are not limited to:

  • human computation
  • social computing
  • crowd sourcing
  • wisdom of crowds (e.g., prediction markets)
  • group memory and problem-solving
  • deliberative democracy
  • animal collective behavior
  • organizational design
  • public policy design (e.g., regulatory reform)
  • ethics of collective intelligence (e.g., “digital sweatshops”)
  • computational models of group search and optimization
  • emergence and evolution of intelligence
  • new technologies for making groups smarter

LinkLog: Is Internet Impacting Our Intelligence?

Is internet changing the definition of human intelligence? In a  survey that explores whether internet is making us smarter or dumber, there are several interesting opinions:

Experts and stakeholders say the Internet will enhance our intelligence – not make us stupid. It will also change the functions of reading and writing and be built around still‐unanticipated gadgetry and applications.

As a gadget lovers and application builders, this is good news for a few of us. It is also a challenge. What do we need to understand to build future applications?  A post titled Text me – Don’t call me, gives us a glimpse.

We are in the midst of four distinct generationsBaby Boomers (born 1946-64), Generation X (1965-79), Net Generation (1980-89) and the new iGeneration (born in the 1990s and beyond). The “i” designation represents the “individualized” nature of their media.

Are these four overlapping markets (one for each generation)? What are the new literacies you require to function in this mixed world? What will be the new jobs,  new skills? Where does education fit into all this?

New literacies will be required to function in this world. In fact, the internet might change the very notion of what it means to be smart. Retrieval of good information will be prized. Maybe a race of “extreme Googlers” will come into being.

Do we need to redefine IQ? Will Social Collective Intelligence play a more important part?

If one defines ‐‐ or partially defines ‐‐ IQ as literary intelligence, the ability to sit with a piece of textual material and analyze it for complex meaning and retain derived knowledge, then we are indeed in trouble. Literary culture is in trouble….

…while the proliferation of technology and media can challenge humans’ capacity to concentrate there
were signs that we are developing “fluid intelligence—the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems, independent of acquired knowledge

I am looking forward to exploring a few of these topics in  Program For the Future Collaboration Mashup

Program For The Future – InfoStream

Program for the Future was fun. We set up an InfoStream, thanks to Yahoo Pipes and my hard working colleague, in a few hours. We combined, filtered feeds from Twitter,, Flickr and YouTube. I know it can be improved. If you have any suggestions, please free to post a comment.We also set up a Social Network on Ning (public), and a group on Facebook.

You can see the feed in action here.

You can get the feed source here.

We are tracking the conversation after the event. Hopefully there will be a lot more in blogs (the Twitter traffic being real time may die down).

This was a good exercise. Even though I have been playing around Yahoo pipes a bit, this is the first time we did some thing useful with it.

If you need help in setting up similar feeds for other events, let us know. We can send you more info (or write a blog about it).

Program For The Future

Over the next few days, I will be blogging about Program For the Future Conference. Since the essence of the event is Collective Intelligence, I would love to have many of you follow it and share your ideas. I will be participating from Chennai, India. You can participate from anywhere through Twitter, FriendFeed, Slideshare, Blogs and Comments to blogs.

Twitter hashtag #pftf
Tag in other social media pftf

You can also use the same tag for other media – Flickr,, YouTube, FriendFeed etc. This is the page for Virtual Participants.


We originally had the tag pff, but had to change it since there were many other items already existing with this tag.

LinkLog: Cognitive Surplus?

This post triggers a whole bunch of thoughts and ideas. Clay Shirky talks about Social Surplus and Cognitive Surplus. Some nuggets:

So how big is that surplus? So if you take Wikipedia as a kind of unit, all of Wikipedia, the whole project–every page, every edit, every talk page, every line of code, in every language that Wikipedia exists in–that represents something like the cumulation of 100 million hours of human thought.

The way you explore complex ecosystems is you just try lots and lots and lots of things, and you hope that everybody who fails fails informatively…

The normal case of social software is still failure; most of these experiments don’t pan out. But the ones that do are quite incredible…

People like to consume, but they also like to produce, and they like to share.

It’s [cognitive surplus] so large that even a small change could have huge ramifications. Let’s say that everything stays 99 percent the same, that people watch 99 percent as much television as they used to, but 1 percent of that is carved out for producing and for sharing. The Internet-connected population watches roughly a trillion hours of TV a year. That’s about five times the size of the annual U.S. consumption. One per cent of that is 10,000 Wikipedia projects per year worth of participation.

I think that’s going to be a big deal. Don’t you?

There are all kinds of interesting and useful projects cropping up all over the web. They promote the architecture of participation. Some of them are physical meets, some of them are shared col laboratories mostly powered by wikis and many of them promote sharing. I have my own experiments in this space – one on teaching and learning and another in setting up an incremental innovation lab. I will report my progress in a few months.

Wikis and Information Intelligence

Information Intelligence is the practice of gathering intelligence useful to an organization. It uses Open Source Intelligence to enrich an organization’s ability to gather intelligence for internal use.

Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) is an information processing discipline that involves finding, selecting, and acquiring information from publicly available sources and analyzing it to produce actionable intelligence. In the Intelligence Community (IC), the term “open” refers to overt, publicly available sources (as opposed to covert or classified sources); it is not related to open-source software. OSINT includes a wide variety of information and sources:

  • Media – newspapers, magazines, radio, television, and computer-based information.
  • Public data – government reports, official data such as budgets and demographics, hearings, legislative debates, press conferences, speeches, marine and aeronautical safety warnings, environmental impact statements, contract awards.
  • Observation and reporting – Amateur airplane spotters, radio monitors and satellite observers among many others have provided significant information not otherwise available. The availability of worldwide satellite photography, often of high resolution, on the Web (e.g., Google Earth) has expanded open source capabilities into areas formerly available only to major intelligence services.
  • Professional and academic – conferences, symposia, professional associations, academic papers, and subject matter experts.[1]

In addition to these Media mentioned above there are several sources for Web Data Mining. There are several aspects of improving Information Intelligence:

  1. Gathering information from a variety of openly available sources
  2. Supplementing the open source intelligence with internal information
  3. Providing a collaborative platform to share information
  4. Enriching information – tagging, interlinking, annotating
  5. Versioning information to keep it current
  6. Providing a semantic layer for easy retrieval and integration with other tools
  7. Providing both a horizontal view and specific vertical views of the information

Wiki is an ideal tool for managing Information Intelligence inside an organization. You can start with a base wiki technology like MediaWiki (used by Wikipedia) and build additional layers like Semantic Media Wiki or provide structured data access like DbPedia . You can get information on several vertical sharing information sites using MediaWiki here.

A good example of both horizontal and vertical views is demonstrated by the US Government initiatives Diplopedia and Intellipedia.

Recent congressional testimony from Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia,[5] notes the difference between vertical and horizontal information sharing and suggests that both could be successful e-government endeavors. Intellipedia is an excellent example of sharing information horizontally across agencies, and Diplopedia has found similar success in sharing information within the Department of State bureaucracy. Statements on both wikis encourage cross posting of relevant information as appropriate.

Wikis provide a great foundation for Information Intelligence. Enriching Wikis with semantic annotations, providing more powerful viewing options, granular addressing and increasing the quality of links may go a long way in increasing their effectiveness.


This entry was triggered by an email invite to an Intellipedia session at the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence.