Collective Intelligence: The Wisdom and Foolishness of Deliberating Groups
Social and Behavioral Sciences
The rise of the Internet and social media reignites interest in collective intelligence. We frame collective intelligence as follows: (1) Simple aggregation of individual opinion is a poor substitute for reasoned opinion by collectives (i.e., deliberation) except in limited circumstances. (2) What constitutes an intelligent decision on complex matters requires approximations to the ideal of what is intelligent. There is no “gold standard” for intelligent decisions. (3) If collective deliberation is to be useful, then its outcomes must be improved decisions—in short, intelligent outcomes. (4) Deliberation can lead to more intelligent outcomes when opinion, knowledge, and judgment within a collective is diverse and this diversity is expressed. (5) The trends within emerging media toward increasingly narrow, partisan sources of information, toward selective exposure and avoidance, and toward balkanization of collectives will depress the possibilities of collective intelligence that emerging media would on their surface seem to enhance.