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Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning
Collective intelligence is a shared or group intelligence involving knowledge creation and flow. Pooled brainpower emerges from the collaboration and learning actions of a community of connected individuals empowered by social media, participatory tools, and mobile platforms.
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Academia.edu - The Social Networking Platform For Researchers

Academia.edu - The Social Networking Platform For Researchers | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

For about five years, Richard Price and the team at Academia.edu have been quietly building a social networking platform for academics and researchers.

 

For years, it was slow going. It took three years for the company to get its first million users while mainstream consumer social networking platforms like Twitter were taking off.  But now, Academia.edu boasts 4.3 million users — perhaps around one-quarter of an estimated 17 million academics globally. They have been picking up about 1 million new users every three months.

 

The ultimate goal is to change the way scientific research is distributed and validated. Price envisions a platform where every research paper ever published will be freely available to the public.

 

“More outsiders will be able to come in and bring that beginner’s mind thinking to research,” Price said, pointing to 16-year-old Jack Andraka who studied papers from Science on applications for nanotubes and used that research to invent a new test for pancreatic cancer that is 26,000 times cheaper than previously existing tests and 400 times more sensitive.

 

 

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The effective collective: Grouping could ensure animals find their way in changing environment

The effective collective: Grouping could ensure animals find their way in changing environment | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

Princeton University researchers report in the journal Science that collective intelligence is vital to certain animals' ability to evaluate and respond to their environment. Conducted on fish, the research demonstrated that small groups and individuals become disoriented in complex, changing environments.

 

However, as group size is increased, the fish suddenly became highly responsive to their surroundings. These results should prompt a close examination of how endangered group or herd animals are preserved and managed, said senior researcher Iain Couzin, a Princeton professor of ecology and evolutionary biology. If wild animals depend on collective intelligence for migration, breeding and locating essential resources, they could be imperiled by any activity that diminishes or divides the group, such as overhunting and habitat loss, he explained.

 

The work is among the first to experimentally explain the extent to which collective intelligence improves awareness of complex environments, the researchers write. Collective intelligence is an established advantage of groups, including humans. As it's understood, a group of individuals gain an advantage by pooling imperfect estimates with those around them, which more or less "averages" single experiences into surprisingly accurate common knowledge. For instance, the paper in Science cites a 1907 study that predicted with near precision the weight of an ox based on the estimates of 787 people.       

 

With their work, Couzin and his coauthors uncovered an additional layer to understanding collective intelligence. The conventional view assumes that individual group members have some level of knowledge albeit incomplete. Yet the Princeton researchers found that in some cases individuals have no ability to estimate how a problem needs to be solved, while the group as a whole can find a solution through their social interactions. Moreover, they found that the more numerous the neighbors, the richer the individual—and thus group—knowledge is. These findings correlate with recent research showing that collective intelligence—even in humans—can rely less on the intelligence of each group member than on the effectiveness of their communal interaction, Couzin said. In humans, research suggests that such cooperation would take the form of open and equal communication among individuals regardless of their respective smarts, he said.

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Facebook Is Not The First Place People Go To Do Product Research

Facebook Is Not The First Place People Go To Do Product Research | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it
Consumers are not in a research mode when they're on Facebook. Instead, the first place they go to find out about a product is Google or the company web site.

 

Consumers are not in a research mode when they’re on Facebook. Instead, the first place they go to find out about a product is Google or the company web site.

 

That’s according to an internal study by GetSatisfaction, which found that close to 90% of customers go to a company’s website to research products or services. That’s compared to the 12% who use social networks to research brands and product details.

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Can a mobile game help find the cure for cancer? Amazon, Google and Facebook hope so

Can a mobile game help find the cure for cancer? Amazon, Google and Facebook hope so | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it

We already know that data is integral to finding the cure for cancer, but some of that data needs the attention of human rather than machine eyes to be properly interpreted. To that end, the charity Cancer Research UK has teamed up with Amazon, Facebook and Google to create a mobile game for analysing genetic mutations.

 

The aim of the game is simply to harness more eyes – cancer researchers already trawl through genetic data to try to pick up on subtle irregularities, but the task would be a lot easier if more people were involved. The charity has already created a web-based game called Cell Slider for looking through archived tissue samples, but the new game is supposed to make the search for a cure more fun, and more suitable for on-the-go usage.

 

Cancer Research UK is holding a hackathon called GameJam this weekend, at which 40 coders – including Facebook engineers — gamers, graphic designers and “other specialists” will hopefully come up with a suitable format — the goal is a game that can be played for just 5 minutes at a time. The result will be hosted on Amazon Web Services, and Google is hosting the event and providing financial support for the scheme.

 

“We’re making great progress in understanding the genetic reasons cancer develops. But the clues to why some drugs will work and some won’t, are held in data which need to be analysed by the human eye – and this could take years,”  said Professor Carlos Caldas, senior group leader at Cancer Research UK’s University of Cambridge facility, in a statement.

 

“By harnessing the collective power of citizen scientists we’ll accelerate the discovery of new ways to diagnose and treat cancer much more precisely.”

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Academia.edu Adds Analytics To Bring Transparency To How Research Spreads

Academia.edu Adds Analytics To Bring Transparency To How Research Spreads | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it
Far away from Silicon Valley is another echo chamber in the Ivory Tower, except there's very little transparency there about how content and ideas spread.

 


Academia.edu, a social network for researchers, just unveiled an analytics dashboard that’s meant to help scientists and other academics understand how their work is being read and distributed. It’s a difference from an older, more opaque world in which researchers vied to get into elite journals like the New England Journal of Medicine.

 

“To be a successful academic, it’s becoming as important to have an established web presence as it is to be published in a journal and it’s going to be increasingly critical,” said CEO Richard Price.  To those of us in the tech community, the concept of an analytics dashboard would appear pretty basic. But in the slow-moving world of academia, Price says it has profound consequences.

 

“Hiring and grant committees know that there is this credit gap where papers are being read, but they haven’t had the metrics to prove that historically,” Price said. “They’d look at which journal you published in and your citations.”

 

At the same time, it can take citations five years to emerge, he added. Real-time metrics that track mentions on the web and on Twitter could give credibility to a researcher a lot sooner.

 

“It gives scientists visibility into all of the traffic they’re receiving by country and other factors. It’s super granular and it’s in real-time,” Price said. A professor, for example, will be able to see how many paper downloads they’ve gotten in the last 30 days.

 

Price said the metrics also preserve reader privacy and are basically in line with what other analytics products offer like geographic data and time spent on the page. 

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23andMe Makes First Acquisition, Nabs CureTogether To Double Down On Crowdsourced Genetic Research | TechCrunch

23andMe Makes First Acquisition, Nabs CureTogether To Double Down On Crowdsourced Genetic Research | TechCrunch | Collective Intelligence & Distance Learning | Scoop.it
Founded in 2006, 23andMe set out with an ambitious goal: To one day make the human genome searchable by becoming the go-to resource for personal genetic information.

 

Founded in 2006, 23andMe set out with an ambitious goal: To one day make the human genome searchable by becoming the go-to resource for personal genetic information. Leveraging DNA analysis technology and web-based interactive tools, the company developed a “Personal Genome Service” that allows anyone and everyone to access and better understand their genetic data, including their ancestry and predisposition to certain diseases.

 

But the company believes that its true differentiation and value proposition today derives from a novel research model. Along with providing users with 200+ health and traits reports and ancestry info, the service enables users to opt-into sharing their medical and family history, lifestyle and other phenotypic data, contributing it to genetic research or participating directly in studies and surveys.

 

So, when 23andMe was recently awarded its first patent for determining a user’s risk for Parkinson’s Disease, it was naturally seen as big validation for its crowdsourced and community-driven approach to genetic research.

 

With its patent representing both a validation of its research and model and a potential new revenue stream), 23andMe now wants to double down on patient and community-driven research. And what better way to follow your first patent than with your first acquisition? On Tuesday, the company officially announced that it is scooping up the four-year-old CureTogether, a similarly-focused startup that aims to give people the tools they need to create their own research studies, learn about their health, and connect with experts and others who suffer from similar conditions.

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