A discussion on collective intelligence and the threat of selfish knowledge generation.

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In under a decade the way we as a society have come to interpret a collective has changed radically. The widespread proliferation of collective intelligence has not only brought on a renaissance for group-powered thought but also paved the way for a new age of digitally enabled knowledge generation.

The positive reception to this growth has been profound, with think tanks and other thought generation outfits seen across a truly wide span of industries, with more joining the ranks every day.

Of particular interest are the sectors whose means of innovation have been historically unmoving in this regard. They too have felt the driving force of the collective intelligence industry, helping them create sorely needed thought and discourse and then using that momentum to drive future advances.

This growth is unequivocally a good thing, as the ability to generate knowledge and share it with those who benefit most is something that should be championed by society whenever possible.

However, the collective intelligence industry has once again reached a crossroad and must be careful in the way it approaches the next step in its journey.

Because this next step will decide whether its potential continues to reach the many or the few.

It’s no secret that collective intelligence uptake has been largely relegated to industry and the global business sector, after all, they stand to gain the most from innovative thought and directive knowledge generation.

This in itself is a fantastic thing, as it shows that industries are willing and able to explore thought-based action rather than regimenting their operations to theory or practice with no grey area.

However, these industries cannot lose sight of the ulterior motive that has driven collective intelligence to the point it is today, altruism.

A strong word to use but one that holds merit when considering the ultimate goal of a collective, to drive progress.

Progress is inherently a positive force, and the knowledge created and shared by collective intelligence fits this mould for growth and prosperity on a societal level.

Which is why as collective intelligence advances and is taken up more and more by private sector interests, it should adhere to two strict rules to maintain its legitimacy as a craft.

Firstly, collective intelligence must be prevented at all costs from ending up on the same path as data, traded off to the highest bidder and locked away from those who may need it most.

Secondly, there must be an effort at an industry level to prevent gating of collective intelligence, as the secrets and knowledge generated by the discipline should continue to benefit those who need it most.

An additional mention of artificial intelligence is also warranted.

The widespread usage of AI-driven systems within collective intelligence is something that has the potential to increase the barrier to entry and further gate relevant parties off from the knowledge generated by collectives.

As artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated this problem will only grow, as not only the root thought generated by outfits will be inaccessible, but the means of following the same path to a similar conclusion will be out of reach to everyone but those with the most advanced AI systems.

It must be noted however that the reality of the situation is not nearly as dire as has been made out so far.

Not every company is out for their own interests, there are some amazing collective intelligence outfits working to create and share knowledge anyone can access.

There also exist those whose focus is not just on the end goal of knowledge generation, but the task of facilitating it in new and innovative ways.

Like us at Mindhive.

We decided that rather than gatekeep collective intelligence, we’d move in the other direction and open it up to the world. By augmenting traditional methods of knowledge generation with AI-driven systems, we’ve made it possible for anyone to ask questions and solve problems with the aid of a global network of experts.

After all, self-serving goals will only cause harm to collective intelligence in future.

A discipline-wide community-minded approach is the only way forward for collectives, lest they stagnate and further close themselves off from those who could benefit from their work their most.

By constantly reminding ourselves that thought, ideas and knowledge should be available to everyone who needs it, we can prevent the power behind collective intelligence being lost behind an endless succession of locked doors.

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More here: Mindhive Insights Blog. Sign up to Mindhive here.

Written by

Mindhive | ex — Eidos, Boilerhouse, Basement, Margaret Marr | Speaker, Author | Bringing the shared economy to problem-solving #collectiveintelligence

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