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social network analysis

March 15, 2010 Leave a comment

from wikipedia: social network # social network analysis

The shape of a social network helps determine a network’s usefulness to its individuals. Smaller, tighter networks can be less useful to their members than networks with lots of loose connections (weak ties) to individuals outside the main network. More open networks, with many weak ties and social connections, are more likely to introduce new ideas and opportunities to their members than closed networks with many redundant ties. In other words, a group of friends who only do things with each other already share the same knowledge and opportunities. A group of individuals with connections to other social worlds is likely to have access to a wider range of information. It is better for individual success to have connections to a variety of networks rather than many connections within a single network. Similarly, individuals can exercise influence or act as brokers within their social networks by bridging two networks that are not directly linked (called filling structural holes).

The power of social network analysis stems from its difference from traditional social scientific studies, which assume that it is the attributes of individual actors—whether they are friendly or unfriendly, smart or dumb, etc.—that matter. Social network analysis produces an alternate view, where the attributes of individuals are less important than their relationships and ties with other actors within the network. This approach has turned out to be useful for explaining many real-world phenomena, but leaves less room for individual agency, the ability for individuals to influence their success, because so much of it rests within the structure of their network.

Collective Intelligence Quotient

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment

from Wikipedia: Collective Intelligence # Mathematical techniques:

One measure sometimes applied, especially by more artificial intelligence focused theorists, is a “collective intelligence quotient” (or “cooperation quotient”)—which presumably can be measured like the “individual” intelligence quotient (IQ)—thus making it possible to determine the marginal extra intelligence added by each new individual participating in the collective, thus using metrics to avoid the hazards of group think and stupidity.

In 2001, Tadeusz (Ted) Szuba from the AGH University in Poland proposed a formal model for the phenomenon of Collective Intelligence. It is assumed to be an unconscious, random, parallel, and distributed computational process, run in mathematical logic by the social structure.

In this model, beings and information are modeled as abstract information molecules carrying expressions of mathematical logic. They are quasi-randomly displacing due to their interaction with their environments with their intended displacements. Their interaction in abstract computational space creates multithread inference process which we perceive as Collective Intelligence. Thus, a non-Turing model of computation is used. This theory allows simple formal definition of Collective Intelligence as the property of social structure and seems to be working well for a wide spectrum of beings, from bacterial colonies up to human social structures. Collective Intelligence considered as a specific computational process is providing a straightforward explanation of several social phenomena. For this model of Collective Intelligence, the formal definition of IQS (IQ Social) was proposed and was defined as “the probability function over the time and domain of N-element inferences which are reflecting inference activity of the social structure.” While IQS seems to be computationally hard, modeling of social structure in terms of a computational process as described above gives a chance for approximation. Prospective applications are optimization of companies through the maximization of their IQS, and the analysis of drug resistance against Collective Intelligence of bacterial colonies.

Hofstadter’s Strange Loops and Distributed Consciousness

March 1, 2010 Leave a comment

The abstract to Douglas Hofstadter’s contribution to the 2006 Science of Consciousness Conference in Tucson:

Strange Loops, Downward causation, and Distributed Consciousness by Douglas Hofstadter

As everyone knows from hearing microphones screeching in auditoriums, feedback loops give rise to a highly stable type of locking-in phenomenon. A related phenomenon arises in other types of feedback loops — in particular, in video feedback. The patterns that result from such feedback loops exhibit stability and robustness, and therefore take on a seeming reality at their own level.

The brain’s mirroring of the world is far more complex than that of a television camera, since its purpose is to “make sense” of the world, which means the selective activation of small sets of symbolic structures, or as I call them, “symbols”, which reside on a level far higher than that of neurons. The interplay of symbols in the brain constitutes thought, and thought results in behavior, whose consequences are then perceived anew by the selfsame brain. Such a feedback loop exists in any system that has internal symbols, but when the symbolic repertoire is unlimitedly extensible (through the mechanism of chunking) and when it additionally gives rise not only to permanent records of past episodes but also to the possibility of imagining future and counterfactual scenarios (which is the case for human brains but not for, say, dog brains), then the system’s representation of itself becomes an extremely stable, robust, locked-in, epiphenomenal pattern (which I dub a “strange loop”), and the system thus fabricates for itself an “I”, whose reality (to the system itself) seems beyond doubt.

The “I” seems to act on the world purely through high-level phenomena such as desires, hopes, beliefs, and so on — and this lends it an apparent quality of “downward causation” (i.e., thoughts and other emergent phenomena “pushing around” particles, rather than the reverse). To the extent that the “I” is real, so is downward causation and also conversely: to the extent that downward causation is real, so is the “I”.

Each human being, by virtue of being acquainted with (and thus internally mirroring) many other human beings, houses not only one strange loop or “I”, but many such, at extremely different levels of fidelity — metaphorically speaking, mosaics at wildly different grain sizes. Thus each human brain is the locus of not just one consciousness (or “soul”) but of many such, having different levels of intensity or presence. Conversely, a given individual, although it inhabits primarily a particular brain, does not inhabit that brain exclusively, and as a consequence each human “soul” and each human identity is a somewhat distributed entity.

The near-alignment of one brain and one soul is thus misleading: it gives rise to the illusion that consciousness is not distributed, and it is that illusion that is the source of much confusion about what we human beings really are.

Egregore

January 23, 2010 Leave a comment

from “Egregore Definition Compilation”

This following is from Gaetan Delaforgem from a Gnosis article, “The Templar Tradition: yesterday and today”:

…”An egregore is a kind of group mind which is created when people consciously come together for a common purpose. Whenever people gather together to do something and egregore is formed, but unless an attempt is made to maintain it deliberately it will dissipate rather quickly. However if the people wish to maintain it and know the techniques of how to do so, the egregore will continue to grow in strength and can last for centuries.
An egregore has the characteristic of having an effectiveness greater than the mere sum of its individual members. It continuously interacts with its members, influencing them and being influenced by them. The interaction works positively by stimulating and assisting its members but only as long as they behave and act in line with its original aim. It will stimulate both individually and collectively all those faculties in the group which will permit the realization of the objectives of its original program. If this process is continued a long time the egregore will take on a kind of life of its own, and can become so strong that even if all its members should die, it would continue to exist on the inner dimensions and can be contacted even centuries later by a group of people prepared to live the lives of the original founders, particularly if they are willing to provide the initial input of energy to get it going again.

from The Art of Memetics

One of the sigilization techniques which has arisen online in recent years is the Hyperstition, a virtual or abstract form that realizes itself though the actions of those who hold that idea-set and who leverage discourse about that idea-set.

brainwave: compare/contrast collective intelligence vs egregore vs hyperstition

Collective Intelligence

July 20, 2009 Leave a comment

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Collective_intelligence

Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence that emerges from the collaboration and competition of many individuals.

From Pór and Atlee’s point of view, maximizing collective intelligence relies on the ability of an organization to accept and develop “The Golden Suggestion”, which is any potentially useful input from any member. Groupthink often hampers collective intelligence by limiting input to a select few individuals or filtering potential Golden Suggestions without fully developing them to implementation.

Howard Bloom stresses the biological adaptations that have turned most of this earth’s living beings into components of what he calls “a learning machine”. And Peter Russell, Elisabet Sahtouris, and Barbara Marx Hubbard (originator of the term “conscious evolution”) are inspired by the visions of a noosphere — a transcendent, rapidly evolving collective intelligence — an informational cortex of the planet.

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According to Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams, collective intelligence is mass collaboration. In order for this concept to happen, four principles need to exist. These are openness, peering, sharing and acting globally.

Openness
… However, in time people and companies began to loosen hold over these resources as they reap more benefits in doing so. Allowing others to share ideas and bid for franchising will enable products to gain significant improvement and scrutiny through collaboration.

Peering
This is a form of horizontal organization with the capacity to create information technology and physical products. … As quoted, “Peering succeeds because it leverages self-organization – a style of production that works more effectively than hierarchical management for certain tasks.”

Sharing
… companies have realized that by limiting all their intellectual property, they are shutting out all possible opportunities. Sharing some has allowed them to expand their market and bring out products faster.

Acting Globally
… The influence of the Internet is widespread, therefore a globally integrated company would have no geographical boundaries but have global connections, allowing them to gain access to new markets, ideas and technology. …