Ming the Mechanic:
Center for Collective Intelligence

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Center for Collective Intelligence2006-11-18 18:12
18 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

The Center for Collective Intelligence is a new academic center at MIT. This is their basic research question:
How can people and computers be connected so that—collectively—they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?
Ah, very good news. They start with observations like how Google or Wikipedia manage to pool the wisdom of many people in ways that often are better than what any individual or traditional group could accomplish. They have projects focusing on such things as:
  • How can large groups of people produce high quality written documents? For instance, how can the lessons of Wikipedia be applied to other groups and other kinds of documents? What kinds of technologies and motivational structures are needed?

  • How can groups of people make accurate predictions of future events? For instance, in prediction markets, people buy and sell predictions about uncertain future events, and the prices that emerge in these markets are often better predictors than opinion polls or individual experts. When and how do these prediction markets work best? How can they be combined with simulations, neural nets, and other techniques?

  • How can we harness the intelligence of thousands of people around the world to help solve the problems of global climate change? For instance, how can we use innovative combinations of computer-based simulations and explicit representation of argumentation to help people identify and analyze different policy alternatives?

  • How can we create an on-line, searchable library of books from many languages and historical eras? For instance, how can we harness a combination of human and machine intelligence to recognize the images of words in these books?

  • How can we help create commercially sustainable products and services for low-income communities around the world? For instance, how can we use cutting-edge technology to help a world-wide network of entrepreneurs and investors rapidly find, analyze, and replicate successful projects?

  • And they're working on a book called We are smarter than me. And I learned of this, of course, via Blog of Collective Intelligence.


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    18 comments

    18 Nov 2006 @ 19:59 by Jon Husband @24.84.250.94 : Very Positive .. .
    .. and optimistic (and necessary) development  


    18 Nov 2006 @ 21:22 by swanny : Google Coop
    I'd say the google coops "custom search" ties in here
    some way...
    It seems to have meant the end of Dmoz "human edited search"
    which was okay when there wasn't as much web to search.
    The custom search allows for volunteers and contributors
    which cuts down on the logistics variables and algorhythms
    of a 6 billion page web. Still its boggling.
    I've been using it for a couple of weeks and after you get the
    hang of it you get a lot better quality and revelant hits than
    a straight global google, mind you depending on what you're looking
    for. I suggest that now they should search the search engines to narrow
    and organize it a bit more.

    anywho
    swanny  



    18 Nov 2006 @ 21:55 by Hanae @68.164.52.212 : Collect. Intel & Enligtend self-interest

    John Stuart Mill ("On Liberty", 1854, is perhaps the most eloquent treatment of individual freedom in the English language) reasoned that if happiness is the principal objective of society; it can be best achieved when people do good for each other.

    Mill believed that the original motivation for kindness toward another person was enlightened self-interest. That is that beyond those elements that conduct one to do good that are hardwired in us (like, maternal instinct, etc.), individuals in a society do good deeds because they know that they themselves will ultimately benefit from such acts.

    This is not to say that there is nothing higher than enlightened self-interest as a guiding light for human’s endeavor. BUT clearly self-interest (just like altruism) is better when it is enlightened than when it is not so. And this is the beauty of it: it doesn’t take a {link:http://www.newciv.org/nl/newslog.php/_v408/__show_article/_a000408-000075.htm|spiritual understanding} of the world to realize that in society, as in the world at large, a thing that is harmful to "others" rarely ends up not proving harmful too, in one way or another, to one’s own individual interests in the long run: the less "intelligent" (i.e. "cognitive" - which includes "knowledge" as well as "emotional intelligence") a person is , the more likely that person will fail to understand that what harms others also harms him or her. This is why, while I do not claim that enlightened self-interest is the highest that mankind can achieve morally or spiritually (stepping on eggs here, as I have learned how easy it is to offend people in their beliefs), there is a case to be made that if "enlightened" self-interest were to take the place of "blind" self-interest, the world we live in would be a much better place than it is now.

    "How can individuals in a society be connected and work together so that—collectively—they act for their self-interest in a more 'enlightened' way than any individuals, groups, or nations have ever done before?" was the question of the nineteenth century.

    "How can people and computers be connected so that—collectively—they act more intelligently than any individuals, groups, or computers have ever done before?" is its modern counterpart: the question for our times. The question has not really changed, our technology has, and hopefully, maybe, with it, our understanding of things...

    Mill eventually took his analysis further and in so doing was led toward a broader and perhaps more "spiritual" conclusion than that reached by others who supported the enlightened self-interest theory of motivation: Mill argued that in time people can become used to doing good and will continue to do so even if they do not expect any particular reward—in other words, Mill came very close to arguing that people are not necessarily selfish, or that if they are they can change that part of their nature.  



    27 Nov 2006 @ 05:15 by tricia : Following the links...
    Not being a computer person YET, and in preparation for becoming one, I read all of your logs, go to all of the links, and always seem to find a jewel even if most of the computer stuff is now beyond my comprehension; in this particular case, it was the interview with Thomas Malone. Love ~ Tricia  


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