January 31, 2008

Intelligence can emerge between individuals

On this website I found this interesting quote:
We see intelligence almost entirely as a feature of individual agents: IQ tests are of one agent's intellectual abilities; EQ of one agents emotional ones etc etc. When we ascribe intelligence to a group we tend to mean that all of the individuals who make up the group are intelligent, rather than meaning that collectively the group is intelligent. That's why "swarm" or "group" intelligence seems so interesting: it breaks our rules of what intelligence is. But have you noticed how we have to keep putting the individual back in: deep down we can't believe in intelligence in any other mode. To make ourselves feel better we go back to our individual intelligence rule: some folk are smarter than others; some are less smart than these...
In this article from 2004 I wrote:
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.
This view is in line with the solution-focused perspective which puts much emphasis on the importance of interactions between people.

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