Introspection is out, and outrospection is in. Philosopher and author Roman Krznaric explains how we can help drive social change by stepping outside ourselv...
A lot of thought-provoking social commentary. I think the Guevara image - perhaps meant create an edgy style - is a bit too polarizing, and I don't quite agree with the suggestion of simply reversing the either/or stereotypes of "inner" and "outer".
Beyond that, the takeaway for me is the focus on broadening the scope of "empathy" - to see the ways it can be explored and made available to enrich an individual's relationship to a more diverse world of other people and social conditions. Beyond that I like the reconstruction of empathy as a shared value, as something that is held collectively by a group or culture.
This ibook review has interesting reflective comments by a researcher who has pursued the evolution of approaches to collaborative intellectual work.
The author writes:
"With my move to the Open University, I began to broaden the concepts and technologies from Design Rationale to other forms of intellectual work, which saw impacts in the broader notions of Visualizing Argumentation, Knowledge Cartography, Scholarly Publishing, and Learning Technology, and with the emergence of the social/semantic web, is highly relevant to Computational Argumentation, CSCW/Collective Intelligence, and Evidence-based Policy. Most recently, we are using structured, online deliberation platforms – which include IBIS – to inform the kinds of analytics that can give insight into learning and sensemaking processes online."
What's changing our paradigms of how we "think together" about large scale social issues? This article from the Philosophy for Change blog puts it this way:
"For decades, social reformers labored under a vision of human beings as self-maximizing rational agents, a vision developed in the first enlightenment and perpetuated in the field of economics. Today, as Bornstein claims, we’re seeing the death of ‘homo economicus’. New research in neuroscience and behavioral psychology is showing that we’re not as rational as we thought. We certainly don’t respond rationally to social problems. Today’s generation of changemakers are taking this lesson to heart. Successful social change programs are targeting the heart as well as the head, effecting change by appealing to ‘non-rational’ factors such as emotion, group identity, and relationships."
This group (with which I am not affiliated) is emblematic of one way social media are re-organizing the productive processes of collective intelligence.
Collective intelligence applied to collective intelligence - different ages provide a menu of metaphors for making sense of this - could result in "leverage" - "powerful" - "evolutionary discontinuity".
The group's vision statement says:
"The world has become a lot more complex in the last couple of decades: we are more connected, there are more of us to connect and there is a lot more uncertainty — and potential. In the past it made sense to tackle problems alone and hand it off to the next person — that was the norm. These days we need to work together (intensely, sometimes over long periods) to get things done. And we need to be very good at learning together, accidentally, purposely or on the fly. CPsquare can help us do that. We can learn together to be better at working and learning together to make things happen. We will have succeeded when communities of practice are common practice in all walks of life and people know how to nurture them effectively."
Although positioned as an insight relative to social media (and what isn't, these days?) this article touches on a basic paradigm shift in how human intelligence works.
According to the author, Maslow's popular "hierarchy of needs" would better be replaced by a model that recognises that needs and motivations aren't hierarchical and they aren't individualistic.
Connection and community are basic to everything we do as humans.
The author states:
"Maslow’s model needs rewiring so it matches our brains. Belongingness is the driving force of human behavior, not a third tier activity. The system of human needs from bottom to top, shelter, safety,sex, leadership, community, competence and trust, are dependent on our ability to connect with others."
"In my view, Knowledge Management – like some many other ideas and concepts before it - never went away but merely went dormant for a time, as technology and culture caught up to the concept. We now have the capability through ECM and associated technologies that allow us to capture, manage deliver, and collaborate where once they were nonexistent or inadequate. We now have a cultural mindset embracing collaborative and shared work environments. The opportunity is here to do what we talked about and thought about in the 1990s"
Human collective intelligence is a shared intelligence augmented by digital technologies. This form of group intelligence results in learning, communication, and collaboration improvements for its networked members.
The infographic describes the relationship between individual and group socio-cognitive dynamics. Additionally, the diagram lists key concepts currently related to collective intelligence emerging as a self organizing system similar to a neural network.
This has been making the rounds for a while now, but it's still interesting. Here's an editorial on research at MIT's Center for Collective Intelligence relating group success to factors other than IQ style individual intelligence. Although it is described with the term "social sensitivity" I think it refers to a capability that hasn't quite found its study niche yet - emotional intelligence, but at the group level.
"When Malone, Woolley and the rest of the MIT team set out to measure collective intelligence, it wasn’t even clear if such a thing could statistically be shown to exist. Sure, people have spent years measuring how groups perform a task, but no one was really asking if a group that was good at one task would somehow be good at most tasks. That’s something we tend to associate with individual IQ, which is often used as a measure for one’s universal ability to handle complex problems. Does group IQ, or collective intelligence, really exist?"
While this deck is about content curation and the algorithms that lie beneath, the point is also important in the data for social change world. From GC: This is what is it was about: "We engineers love data and algorithms.
"What I’m trying to get at is that our school assessment lives primarily in the bottom left part of that graph, and that we rarely if ever get to the “immeasurable” stuff that resides toward the top right. To put it another way, we focus in schools on that which is quantifiable when, I think, our real value as places of learning rests in that messy stuff that isn’t."
This well-written article explores (and defines) the design space of socio-technical systems for collective intelligence,including crowdsourcing, the wisdom of crowds, open innovation, social computing, and "social machines" the category the authors are defining and promoting.
As one of its strengths, it uses a qualitative research and knowledge elicitation method, "repertory grids" to draw out the assumptions and definitions of these terms that are current in industry practice.
"The state of the art in human interaction with computational systems blurs the line between computations performed by machine logic and algorithms, and those that result from input by humans, arising from their own psychological processes and life experience. Current socio-technical systems, known as `social machines' exploit the large-scale interaction of humans with machines. Interactions that are motivated by numerous goals and purposes including financial gain, charitable aid, and simply for fun. In this paper we explore the landscape of social machines, both past and present, with the aim of defining an initial classicatory framework. Through a number of knowledge elicitation and refinement exercises we have identified the polyarchical relationship between infrastructure, social machines, and large-scale social initiatives. Our initial framework describes classification constructs in the areas of contributions, participants, and motivation. We present an initial characterization of some of the most popular social machines, as demonstration of the use of the identified constructs. We believe that it is important to undertake an analysis of the behaviour and phenomenology of social machines, and of their growth and evolution over time. Our future work will seek to elicit additional opinions, classifications and validation from a wider audience, to produce a comprehensive framework for the description, analysis and comparison of social machines."
The term 'social software', which is now used to define software that supports group interaction, has only become relatively popular within the last two or more years.
Photo: Peter and Trudy Johnson-Lenz, credited with coining the term "groupware".
The quoted passage is dated 2004, so I suppose that means "10 years".
This blog entry is dated, but still a good short history of social software, 1940's to 2004.
We're now going through an evolutionary step in which social sofware is mainstreamed, conveying a wider variety of purpose and values than those relevant to the laboratory, the corporation and the school. Does that mean "consumers", or are we moving beyond that too now?
I realized this when I started looking at the categories of my tags and bookmarks - "social" is no longer a distinguishing characteristic, when most software is social. Will the term "software" be the next term to vanish?
Is the internet becoming a kinder, more civil culture? The author of this article thinks so, but views the change with a bit of mockery and some nostalgia for the good old days of hostility and trolling. The implication seems to be that hostility and conflict are necessary supporting conditions for critical thinking and realism.
On the other hand, perhaps creative and collective intelligence function better under more civil, respectful, and shall we even venture to say, empathic conditions. Not that this should be anything more than an average. It takes a diversity of different views to make a strong collective intelligence.
As far as what is leading the change, it seems to this reader it is just the way internet technologies are more fully assimilated - no longer an internet sub-culture but simply, culture.
If one were to rank a list of civilization's greatest and most elusive intellectual challenges, the problem of "decoding" ourselves -- understanding the inner workings of our minds and our brains, and how the architecture of these elements is encoded in our genome -- would surely be at the top. Yet the diverse fields that took on this challenge, from philosophy and psychology to computer science and neuroscience, have been fraught with disagreement about the right approach.
This isn't standard fare for curated social media channels - blog entries, white papers, promos for professional services - but if you have the time, this is worth digging into.
This academic paper is a comprehensive literature survey of what various scientific research communities mean by "collective intelligence".
From the Introduction:
"Approaches to studying collective intelligence have been diverse, from the purely theoretical and conceptual to simulations, case studies, experiments and systems design. The field is also multidisciplinary as it is related to, at least, psychology, complexity sciences, cognitive studies, biology, computer sciences and semantics and social media.
"At the moment, there is no theory capable of explaining how collective intelligence actually works. Despite some efforts, generally accepted frameworks for studying collective intelligence in humans do not exist either, and as a result, the field might be at risk of fragmentation. Although a certain amount of diversity is probably good for the advancement of a scientific field, a lack of overarching structure could make the field appear confusing and make it challenging to tie the efforts of different disciplines together in a coherent way. Furthermore, due to the lack of a common framework, it is not possible to assess what is already known. It is challenging for researchers from different disciplines to be aware of advancements in other fields, possibly under differently named concepts."
How do paradigms of collective intelligence shift and evolve? Partly by "subterranean" ideas that cross disciplinary categories and introduce new orienting and organizing values.
Empathy - the concept, and now increasingly, experience and practice - is a genre- and discipline-crossing aspect of collective human intelligence that is gaining energy in a surprising variety of communities of practice, from business, to neuroscience, to social activism and spirituality.
Here empathy takes center stage at the intersection of two disciplines not usually known for hosting it well - journalism and technology.
The author writes:
"It's not that empathy -- the act of imaginatively entering into another person's world -- is unpopular. In the corporate world, "empathy" is increasingly how hard-nosed business types refer to understanding your customers and their needs. But in the journalism world I've traveled in for the last 15 years, the word feels somehow not hard or specific enough. It seems a little soft and fuzzy -- not characteristics you'd generally associate with journalists.
And that's why I'm leaping -- to find a way to use technology to increase empathy.
I'm building GroundTruth: a mobile engagement and research platform."
George Por is one of the pre-eminent theorists (and practitioners) of what I would call an integrative, multi-perspectival, soft-systems approach to collective intelligence.
From the author's abstract:
"By looking at collective intelligence (CI) through four distinct lenses, this paper draws on recent research in organizational design, evolutionary economics, cognitive sciences, knowledge ecology and political economy to built a twin path forward: collective intelligence and collective leadership."
People learn from each other informally all the time – Now, only more so.
The advent of Web 2.0 technologies and social media has led to the evolution of a variety of tools to participate in Social Learning. Social learning comes in a variety of flavors and is not limited to the course/lesson structures associated with traditional formalized learning. The infographic displays social learning types
Christakis has done important work on "contagion" in social networks and in this talk (transcript or video) touches on the interdisciplinary study of cooperation that I've been talking about for ten years. -- Howard
"Incidentally, related to that, it's not just that a biological hurricane is approaching the social sciences. Social sciences are generating questions that biologists are becoming interested in. One of my favorite examples of this is cooperation. This is a topic that social scientists have been interested in for a very long time, and evolutionary biologists as well. But now this is drilling down even to the cellular or molecular level, and people are beginning to ask questions about how sub-organismic biological entities “cooperate,” and what does it mean for biology?"
Peer to Peer U (P2PU) employs a model of free online learning that relies on this community-based knowledge creation approach to make learning accessible to anyone with an Internet connection. Even more interesting, P2PU allows those who have successfully completed at least one course (they call them challenges) to build and offer their own to other members of the community. While some have raised concerns about the efficacy and accuracy of this model, it provides an interesting snapshot of the intersection of education and crowdsourced content that offers some clues about what the future of education may look like. How does P2PU work, and is it indicative of the future of e-learning?.
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