Posts Tagged 'Collective Intelligence'

Collective Consciousness and Compassion

Compassion was the first round of global awakening.

Collective intelligence is emerging as the second round.

Compassion was the key trait of the Axial Age (roughly 900 BC to 300 BC) that brought forth the great world religions and philosophies, and which led to the great principles of Vedanta, Yoga, Taoism, Greek philosophy and democracy, Judaism, Buddhism,  Christianity, and Islam.  (Good reference:  The Great Transformation)

Compassion is a crucial seed for collective intelligence and collective consciousness.  Compassion is a recognition of the Other – including the other’s needs – and resources.

But true compassion is not feeling sorry that someone else is different.

An important extension of compassion is to realize that differences are natural, good, and are in fact built into the way Nature and Universe works.  For those who believe in a divine Creator, differences can be realized to be a key part of the Creator’s plan.

Compassion sets the stage for appreciation.  Compassion is most often focused on recognizing suffering of another and wanting to help relieve it.  (The Axial Age was an especially brutal time.)   Appreciation is a much bigger recognition of the other, by seeing the other’s gifts, and the gift of exchanging gifts:  Knowledge, abilities, wealth, ideas.

True compassion brings with it a great deal of humility.

Arrogance is to believe that you have been told by God or by your own brilliance, and in great detail, that which is good and best for all people and all beings, and for all times.

The key here is “in great detail”.    At the deepest levels possible, there appear to be true absolutes, true for all people.  These truths can be experienced, but are very hard to express in ways that make sense to all others who have not had all your experiences.  Thus “Truth” naturally contains a healthy amount of Mystery.

But when you start adding details prescribing particular practices, beliefs, rules, and laws, then that is when humility becomes especially important:

“These are the beliefs and practices that I have found to be most helpful.

“These are the beliefs and practices that my people have found to be most helpful.”

What do Meta Networks Need?

(Continued from Basic Case for Meta Networks and Global Transformation)

Meta Networks are:

  • Decentralized networks of people, organizations and networks,
  • Bound together by shared goals, values, and experiences.

Meta networks are crucial for fixing global problems before they overwhelm us.

Meta networks need passionate, committed, and talented people, plus ideas, funding, and other resources.   But they also need methods and tools to make the individuals, organizations, and network as a whole more intelligent and effective.

Here are four types of methods and tools that meta networks need:

1.  Connecting people and organizations.

a.  Connecting people to people and organizations to obtain:

– Ideas, expertise and help (employees, partners, consultants, advisors, volunteers)

– Funding (investors, grants, donors)

– Inside Intelligence & Influence (related to potential customers, partners, investors, employees, and suppliers, and agencies, policy makers, communities, etc.)

Examples of tools:
Job, volunteer and consultant matching sites and databases; professional social network platforms for finding needed expertise and affiliations and obtaining trusted recommendations and referrals (e.g., LinkedIn).

Examples of methods:
Network weaving and social network analysis.

b. Connecting people to content
(to obtain news, ideas, opinions, research, experiences, knowledge)

Examples – Generic and specialized Internet search engines, content management and knowledge sharing applications and portals.

2. Sources for Reputation, Fact-checking, Due-Diligence.
(Supports other needs, e.g., connecting people, decision-making, etc.)

Examples:  Generic Internet search engines; professional social network platforms for checking professional experience and getting personally trusted insights and recommendations; reputation sites (most are not very mature yet).

3. Messaging campaigns to spread awareness and actions
(e.g., awareness and actions related to voting, contacting policy makers, talking to neighbors, donating, buying or boycotting)

Examples:  Social media sites and tools (Facebook, Twitter, messaging tools, etc.)

4. Collective Thinking and Action (big category!)

a)  Removing barriers to communication and collaboration.
(Dialogue, listening, finding common ground, consensus-building, conflict transformation, use of stories, symbols and rituals, collective consciousness effects)

b) Identifying, understanding and solving problems
(Collecting facts and perspectives from all relevant sources; Innovating (exploring/scanning/brainstorming); Integrating perspectives to reach consensus/decision on best strategies and tactics; Prediction; Deliberation and planning (evaluating ideas from different perspectives, consensus building); and Getting commitments for action.)

c) Collaborative Action – requiring complex coordination of actions by many people and organizations.

Examples of a, b, & c:   Online and in-person methods and tools for dialogue, deliberation, and collaboration.   For a partial list see NCDD’s Framework for Dialogue and Deliberation.

What is left out of this list?  Or what would you change?

Holistic Thinking: Contains No Preservatives

(Continuation of theme of previous post)

Preservatives by nature stop interactivity and adaptation.   Holistic – whole systems –  thinking doesn’t need or want ‘preservatives’:  attitudes, biases, hidden agendas, etc., whose main function is to protect individual or collective egos.   Does that mean that whole-systems thinking transcends egos?   I guess that’s at least the ideal.  But of course, the input has to filter through many egos.

Collective intelligence can work by collecting inputs from a whole system of egos (perspectives) with or without the awareness or participation of those egos.   When it occurs transparently and with the willing participation of the sources then collective intelligence can lead to collective consciousness.   But the trick, of course, is the “willing participation” part.

When gathering inputs for ‘collective intelligence’ there are a number of tricks for motivating people, when simply collecting without asking isn’t an option.   One is to offer a piece of candy (a reward of some type) in return for participation.   Another is to appeal to affinity, social capital, shared trust, values, or goals.  Hmmm.   Which of these seem most likely to result in collective consciousness?

When is Collective Intelligence also Collective Consciousness?

This seems to be a really important and practical question — not just an interesting philosophical one.

This question occurred to me early this month when I read this NY Times article about Collective Intelligence and Privacy.   I realized that I had been sloppily (or naively) using “collective intelligence” and “collective consciousness” as almost having the same meaning.  The article in contrast – and apparently most tech-type people who use the CI term – are referring to the macro-level knowledge, insights, and power that accrues when intelligence about behaviors and perspectives is gathered from many sources, and analyzed to reveal patterns.   In that usage the sources (e.g., individual people or organizations) may not even be aware that their intelligence and behaviors are being collected, or what the results are, or how the results are being used.   As a result, “collective intelligence” is fraught with challenges to individual privacy, rights, etc.

What is the answer?

At minimum it seems that for collective intelligence to lead to collective consciousness, it has to be transparently accessible to the collective (the sources) as well as to the collectors.

But I would really like to know more how others think about this, especially those who are most actively researching, pondering, parsing, categorizing, analyzing, wonkifying and creating collective intelligence.

I’ll also add a few other posts about this, starting with the next one, (which you may have just read).

Mural: “Co-Evolution of Human Systems and Tool Systems”

Here is a 4.4 MB mural at the Program for the Future Conference in San Jose,CA, Dec. 8-9, celebrating Doug Engelbart’s vision for using evolving tools to improve the collective intelligence of the human race.

The mural stretches from 1925 to 2025, concluding with the question:

How do we collectively use technology

to map our future

with integrity

mindful of perspectives of others …

and future generations?

Peter Magnusson’s detailed blog posts of the event.

Wired article on the event:  http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2008/12/silicon-valley.html

Mountain Top Removal and Social Media

How is it that 66% of West Virginians are against mountain top removal, and yet their state legislature, which they elect, can’t (won’t) pass a decent law to stop it?

Does this have something to do with social media? Mountain top media? The media is on the top of the mountain and we’re way down here? Not enough connections?

Not just a West Virginia problem.   And yet, greed, though frustrating and baffling, is not the cause.  And we are not bad because we are ignorant and not well enough able to connect the dots.   We are connecting them; and it is getting clearer that this is in the interest of each and every individual bundle of experience and desires, and not just of a few.


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