Collective intellect augments individual

Scott Leslie wrote in his EdTechPost blog:
“Don’t you just love when, in the process of thinking about an issue, you come to a question that you know others are looking at and that is more than you could handle yourself, and then the next minute you turn around and – lo and behold – you find exactly what you were looking for. I expect there’s a name for this phenomenon, and I also expect someone will soon develop an explanation of why this phenomenon seems so applified within the blogosphere.”
Well, a couple of years ago, I developed an explanation that I believe touches Scott’s expectations. Here it is:


In the early years of the web–our interconnected intellects–I started noticing, it’s been teaching me something quite remarkable, that still fascinates me:
When my mind conceives a great, brand new idea that I think it would be useful to share with colleagues, my first reaction is to google it, just in case, to see who else may have thought of the same. Frequently, I find at least a dozen pages adressing it. Instead of being annoyed by not being that original, I feel validated by seeing that there are other folks too whose mind is venturing into the same uncharted territories. The variations in what we see there, as reflected by the individual expression of the same or similar thoughts, add to the depth of mine. Not only that, they also inspire me to further my inquiry into areas not (yet) touched by my fellow co-explorers.
It feels like roaming in an ecosystem of ideas, insights and inspirations, originated in the meatspace but now living their own life, cross-pollinating, aggregating, propating the most vibrant memes and memeplexes, and letting them bubble up in our collective consciousness.
Of course, they still use us, humans, and I find myself more than willing to serve this magic emergence of collective meaning in the Networks. The reward is tremendous. [reminder]This is a reminder to myself, a sort of message in a bottle thrown into the swelling oceans of collective memory, to be picked up another time, and blog those rewards.[/reminder]
[reminder]Another reminder: Situate CI Network in the context of Ross Mayfield’s “Ecosystem of Networks. My hunch is that the insights we could glean from it, would usefully inform a bootstrapping action research into visualizing thought ecosystems relevant to an evolutionary concern, such as CI itself.[/reminder]
This very entry and how it came into being is an illustration of what I’m talking about, except that here, the trigger question/idea came not from me but from someone else. Thank you Scott, also for triggering some generative ideas that I captured in the reminders above.
The way I conceptualized this whole phenomenon–that got enhanced by the words of a friend, Mike McMaster–is the Double Helix of Co-evolving Individual and Collective Intelligences, See below.
collective co-evolve.jpg
That picture was part of my position paper on “The Value of Emergent Value Creation Models in the Knowledge Economy” presented to the “Consultation Meeting on the Future of Organisations and Knowledge Management” of the European Commission’s Directorate-General Information Society Brussels, May 23-24, 2000.

This entry was posted in Collective Intellect Augments Individual, Visualizing Our Ecosystem. Bookmark the permalink.

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