Collective Intelligence

“Without creative, independently thinking and judging personalities the upward development of society is as unthinkable as the development of the individual personality without the nourishing soil of the community. The health of society thus depends quite as much on the independence of the individuals composing it as on their close social cohesion.” – Albert Einstein

The Internet is the closest we have to a collective brain at the planetary scale. Data in the order of 10 to the power 100, accessed by close to 10 to the power 10 human beings, each one of them having 10 to the power 11 neurons. Does this exponential scaling up of collective information necessarily translate to exponentially higher collective wisdom? Are we as individuals and as a society making significantly wiser decisions? Is this all necessarily translating to us focussing on and solving the important problems of the world? If the Internet is indeed making the world flat, why is the world still seem so skewed?

Echo chambers, filter bubbles and confirmation bias are some of the whirlpools and blind spots of the Internet. Interesting over rides the important, loud over rides over the whisper, popularity over rides meaning. The bottleneck of the Internet will not be the pipes that carry the data nor the scale of the cloud storage, but our attention spans and finiteness of time in one’s life.

How do we minimise the effect of these phenomenon while accentuating the strengths of the Internet.  I have found curated sites like Brain Pickings,  Edge, TED solving this to a great extent. Massive Open Online Courses are another end of the curated spectrum of learning. Delicious, Wikipedia and Quora are very good different flavours of social curation. What is the architecture to extract and churn all the wisdom of the Internet? Is the model a mosaic of several other models? Is there a way to architect a self curating, a self organising, self learning super wise Internet?

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