Collective intelligence

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Collective intelligence is not a very precise concept. It may refer to

We define collective intelligence (to distinguish it from other forms) as natural or constructed designs where individuals share things with others and that lead to a better performance of the group and its individuals.

Other definitions
  • “Collective intelligence, as characterized by Tom Atlee, Douglas Engelbart, Cliff Joslyn, Francis Heylighen, Ron Dembo, and other theorists, is a working form of intelligence which overcomes "groupthink" and individual cognitive bias in order to allow a collective to cooperate on one process-while maintaining reliable intellectual performance. In this context, it refers to robust consensus decision making, and may properly be considered a subfield of sociology.” (Wikipedia:Collective intelligence, 17:06, 15 September 2006 (MEST))

See also: collective learning.

Examples of collective intelligence

  • Many activities that we categorize under social computing making use of social software, e.g. links and artifacts sharing or social shopping
  • Knowledge management
  • Project-oriented learning design where students mostly work individually or in small teams, but do have to participate in "sharing activities"
  • Wikipedia-like Wikis
  • Software like SEE-K, based on Michel Serres, Michel Authier et Pierre Lévy's original "Knowledge trees". It includes an"Information Mapper" and a "Capability tree" (sold by Trivium).



  • Olivier Zara, Managing Collective Intelligence, Toward a New Corporate Governance, PDF
  • Lévi, Pierre, L'intelligence collective et ses objets, HTML
  • Levy, Pierre and Robert Bononno (1997), Collective Intelligence, Plenum Publishing Corporation, ISBN 0306456354