Collective Intelligence Trumps IQ?

I have read several articles recently that indicate the knowledge that can be gained through collective intelligence networks has made the importance of individual intelligence an unimportant factor in the achievement of this knowledge.

Aaron Saenz, editor of “Singularity Hub” a  blog and news network covering the latest in man’s journey towards the singularity (the point in mankind’s future when we will transcend current intellectual and biological limitations by “partnering” with technolgy to initiate an intelligence and information explosion) observes that while IQ scores are only advancing at a snail’s pace decade to decade, CI is expanding exponentially — thanks to Web 2.0 and its wealth of information aggregation services and has as such made IQ an obsolete factor in aquiring new knowledge.

Although it is undeniable that the capacity to gain knowlege through collective intelligence networks is staggaring and there is little doubt that humanity will indeed reach the singularity, the notion that individual intelligence no longer matters seems misguided.  There are many levels and varieties of intelligence, each contributing uniquely to the knowledge of the collective.   The proposed obsolescence of individual intelligence suggests that the contributions of a world full of people with homogeneous intelligence could collectively come up with the same (or superior) advances in knowledge as a population with heterogeneous intelligence.

The theory of collective intelligence as defined by James Surowieki requires 4 factors to be effective: Independance, Diversity, Decentralization and Aggregation.  In other words, the individuals in the collective should have varied levels of intelligence and expertise, be able to speak out and not fall victim to group think and then have a way to aggregate the resultant inputs.  

It would seem that varied individual intelligence is a key requirement to achieve optimum collective wisdom and advances in global knowledge.

What do you think?

This entry was posted in Collaboration, Collective Intellegence, Group Dynamics by John. Bookmark the permalink.

About John

“John Abele is a pioneer and leader in the field of less-invasive medicine, For more than four decades, John has devoted himself to innovation in health care, business and solving social problems.” He is retired Founding Chairman of Boston Scientific Corporation. John holds numerous patents and has published and lectured extensively on the technology of various medical devices and on the technical, social, economic, and political trends and issues affecting healthcare. His major interests are science literacy for children, education, and the process by which new technology is invented, developed, and introduced to society. Current activities include Chair of the FIRST Foundation which works with high school kids to make being science-literate cool and fun, and development of The Kingbridge Centre and Institute, a conferencing institution whose mission is to research, develop, and teach improved methods for interactive conferencing: problem solving, conflict resolution, strategic planning, new methods for learning and generally help groups to become “Collectively intelligent.” He lives with his wife and two dogs in Shelburne, Vermont.”

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