July 18, 2007

The True Nature of Intelligence- collective intelligence

In my 2004 article The True Nature of Intelligence one suggestion I made (along with two other suggestions) was to view intelligence as an interpersonal phenomenon:
"Intelligence does not need to be seen only as something that is inside the head of the individual but can also be seen as something that emerges between people when they co-operate. This view makes opens the possibility that intelligence also happens between people. Every time when two people deliver intellectual performances that they could not have accomplished on their own, we see an example of the interpersonal aspect of intelligence. Hard to imagine? Think about this. The human brain is a network of approximately 100 billion brain cells (neurons) of different kinds that each are connected to very many other neurons. It all adds up to an estimated total of 100 trillion connections. Although the brain is capable of impressive intellectual feats, the neurons of which it is built are not very intelligent. The intelligence of people is not in the neurons but in the connections between the neurons, so between the neurons, or in the network. The comparison between the brain and co-operating people should not be taken too far, if it were only because brains are unimaginably more complex than even the most complex organization. But the analogy does make it easier for us to imagine organizations as networks of interconnected people in which the value and intelligence of the organization is not solely in the people but also between the people. It makes it easier to think in terms of a collective intelligence."
A new paper by Alex (Sandy) Pentland presents evidence for the existence of collective intelligence. Read the paper here: On The Collective Nature of Human Intelligence.

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