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Collective Intelligence is a concept created by Pierre Levy (France).

"It is a form of universal distributed intelligence, constantly enhanced, coordinated in real time, and resulting in the effect mobilization of skills. The basis and goal of collective intelligence is the mutual recognition and enrichment of individuals rather than the cult of fetishized or hypostatized communities."

"No one knows everything, everyone knows something, all knowledge resides in humanity."

This utopian idea could be realized by a computerized distributed network acting as a virtual world where ideas, thoughts and discussions could flow without limit.

Huh, isn't that existing as the internet ?

Yes, but that virtual world would replace the way the politics and the economy work, but more importantly how humans interact with each other ("engineering the social bond" as Levy puts it). A true and "real-time" democracy would emerge using that technology. Also, new navigation systems have to be developed. The knowledge we are talking about is knowledge of living (not mere scientific facts). How to navigate through them, link them, conversate about them, construct others and implement others?

This writeup does not convey the tenth of Levy's idea, so check out his book ( Collective Intelligence, Mankind's Emerging in Cyberspace 1997 ISBN 0-306-45635-4 )!

And does someone see the connection with e2 ?

last updated 3-4-01 ... to be continued ...
The everyone knows something principle is, in fact, quite useful in problem solving. Take a problem which has a numerical answer (e.g., how many pennies will fit into a 32 oz. bottle of Gatorade (sans fluid)?). Inquire of a statistically significant group of people. Collect their answers. Average them. You now have a good approximation as to the correct answer.

When solving Fermi problems, collective intelligence does surprisingly well.

I have, in fact, tried this with the pennies. The correct answer was around 1453; the collective intelligence of the 609th Information Warfare Squadron placed it at 1444; the closest individual guess was 1478.

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