[Three models of collective intelligence] We can argue that there are a range of different models of collective intelligence shaping the digital realm at the present time. We might distinguish broadly between three different models: 1)An aggregative model which assumes that we can collect data based on the autonomous and anonymous decisions of “the crowd” and use it to gain insights into their collective behavior. This is the model which shapes Digg and to some degree, YouTube. 2)a curatorial model where grassroots intermediaries seek to represent their various constituencies and bring together information that they think is valuable. This is the model which shapes the blogosphere. 3)a deliberative model where many different voices come together, define problems, vet information, and find solutions which would be impossible for any individual to achieve. This is the model shaping Wikipedia or even more powerfully alternate universe games. Of the three, the deliberative model offers the most democratic potentials, especially when it is tempered by ethical and political commitments to diversity. This is the model which Pierre Levy describes in his book, Collective Intelligence. Levy’s account stresses the affirmative value placed on diversity in such a culture. The more diverse the community, the broader range of possible information and insights can inform the deliberative process.
November 7, 2009