CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--How do networks like Facebook and Twitter impact social movements? Can the laws of thermodynamics help explain how Wikipedia entries are edited? What can the foraging behavior of ants tell us about how data flows in the Internet? These are just some of the questions that Collective Intelligence 2012, a conference being held at MIT, will tackle.
“But these scientific questions also have huge practical implications for how companies can become more productive and how whole societies can solve their problems more effectively.”
The conference will take place on April 18-20, and is sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The conference will draw on academic research from many disciplines—including psychology, economics, computer science, political science, sociology, and biology—to deepen the understanding of collective intelligence, and the ways in which it might influence organizations of the future.
Thomas Malone, professor of management at the MIT Sloan School of Management and director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, and Luis von Ahn, professor of computer science at Carnegie Mellon, are co-chairs of the event.
“Collective intelligence has existed at least as long as humans have, but in the last decade or so a new kind of collective intelligence has emerged,” says Malone. “With the Internet, it is now possible--for the first time in human history--to have huge numbers of people and computers all over the world working together at a scale and with a degree of collaboration that was never possible before.”
Von Ahn adds: “If you think about mankind’s greatest achievements–the Pyramids in Egypt, the Panama Canal, or even putting Neil Armstrong on the moon in 1969 – they were done with the brain power of about 100,000 people. In the past, that was probably the maximum number that could be coordinated to work effectively on a problem. Until now.”
One goal of the conference is to create a new interdisciplinary field focused on issues related to collective intelligence. Topics to be discussed include: crowdsourcing, on-line collaboration, animal collective intelligence, collective decision-making, and the wisdom of crowds. “For the most part, research in these different areas has gone on separately,” says Malone. “We think the time is now right to catalyze the development of a new forum that brings them together.”
Von Ahn says the conference received more than 100 paper submissions, of which 18 were selected for oral presentation and 16 for presentation as posters. The topics include: “Learning to predict the wisdom of crowds,” “Crowdsourcing collective emotional intelligence,” and “Collaborative development in Wikipedia.”
“Some of these researchers are trying to answer deep scientific questions, such as: What are the conditions that lead to collective intelligence in groups of individuals?” says Malone. “But these scientific questions also have huge practical implications for how companies can become more productive and how whole societies can solve their problems more effectively.”
Speakers include: Yochai Benkler, professor of entrepreneurial legal studies at Harvard Law School; Iain Couzin, a research fellow in ecology and evolutionary biology at Princeton University; Deborah Gordon, professor of biology at Stanford University; Robert Kraut, professor of human-computer interaction at Carnegie-Mellon University; Rob Miller, professor computer science at MIT; Scott Page, professor of complex systems, political science, and economics at the University of Michigan; Ben Shneiderman, professor of computer science at University of Maryland, College Park; Justin Wolfers professor of business and public policy at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, and Jonathan Zittrain, professor of law at Harvard Law School.
The organizing committee is comprised of: Robert Goldstone (Indiana University), Deborah Gordon (Stanford University), Eric Horvitz (Microsoft Research), Michael Kearns (University of Pennsylvania), Andrew Lo (MIT), Paul Resnick (University of Michigan), and Duncan Watts (Yahoo! Research).
For more information, see: http://www.ci2012.org/