Monthly Archives: December 2012

Bloomberg, LaPierre and the Void – NYTimes.com

Unfortunately for our country, the Bloomberg versus LaPierre contrast is basically all of American politics today. Our society is divided between an ascendant center-left that???s far too confident in its own rigor and righteousness and a conservatism that???s marched into an ideological cul-de-sac and is currently battering its head against the wall.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/23/opinion/sunday/douthat-bloomberg-lapierre-and-the-void.html?smid=tw-share&_r=1&

(Source:

)

Sent from my iPhone

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE

"Perhaps a closing question for us to ponder is how do these new kinds of intelligence help us understand what it means to be human in the first place, and what our role as humans on the planet is. I think most people would agree that certainly not the only thing, but one of the most important things about humans is their intelligence. We think of ourselves as intelligent beings. We compare ourselves to animals and other inhabitants of this planet and think of ourselves as probably the most intelligent beings on the planet.

Even just to understand that aspect of our humanity, it's useful to think about what intelligence is, what the concept means and how it can occur. This perspective of collective intelligence gives us some deep and powerful ways of doing that. It raises questions, for instance, like how could we recognize intelligence if we saw it? Some biologists have tried to study intelligence in other animals.

How can you tell whether a dog or a cat or an ant is intelligent? How intelligent compared to each other or to humans? In the case of ants, for instance, maybe the right unit of analysis is not the individual ant, but the colony. Some of the work Deborah Gordon of Stanford is doing, for instance, is very related to measuring the intelligence of colonies of ants. Once we start thinking along those lines, and also observing other artificial entities on our planet, like computers, which exhibit more and more of this same???or at least a different form of the phenomenon that we might want to call intelligence???once we start seeing these different kinds of intelligence, it becomes clear that intelligence does arise in groups of individuals.

The groups of ants can very usefully be viewed as intelligent probably more than the individual ants themselves. It's clearly possible to view groups of humans and their artifacts, their computational and other artifacts, as intelligent collectively as well. That perspective raises not only deep and interesting scientific questions, but also raises what you might think of as even philosophical questions about what we humans are as groups, not just as individuals.

You might well argue that human intelligence has all along been primarily a collective phenomenon rather than an individual one. Most of the things we think of as human intelligence really arise in the context of our interactions with other human beings. We learn languages. We learn to communicate. Most of our intellectual achievements as humans really result not just from a single person working all alone by themselves, but from interactions of an individual with a culture, with a body of knowledge, with a whole community and network of other humans.

I think and I hope that this approach to thinking about collective intelligence can help us to understand not only what it means to be individual humans, but what it means for us as humans to be part of some broader collectively intelligent entity."

Sent from my iPhone

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE

"One way of asking the question of what's the science here is to relate this to some of the other fields and names that are being talked about today. For instance, there are a lot of people talking about computational social science. One way of distinguishing between computational social science and collective intelligence is to say that computation social science is essentially about methodologies: new ways of answering social science questions that have been with us for some time. We have lots of new kinds of data, for instance, and new ways of analyzing data enabled by computers that help us attack long-term social science questions like how do networks form and evolve and so forth."

Sent from my iPhone

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE

we are trying to understand how our whole world and society is evolving in a way that I think is making us more collectively intelligent. You could say that the Internet is one way of greatly accelerating the connections among different people and computers on our planet. As all the people and computers on our planet get more and more closely connected, it's becoming increasingly useful to think of all the people and computers on the planet as a kind of global brain.

Sent from my iPhone

COLLECTIVE INTELLIGENCE

In fact, one of the most well documented and in some ways surprising results in all of psychology is the fact that there is this single factor of intelligence that correlates with an individual's performance across a very wide range of tasks. In fact, even though there are other meanings of the word intelligence in English, a very important element or nuance of the word "intelligence" in English is just that it's somebody who's good at a lot of mental things, somebody who is good at learning quickly, at adapting to new situations, at doing a bunch of things.

The most intelligent person is not the one who's best at doing any specific task, but it's the one who's best at picking up new things quickly. That's essentially the definition we used for defining intelligence at the level of groups as well. We said that a group is intelligent if it's able to perform well on a wide range of different tasks. It was actually performance that we were looking at.

Sent from my iPhone

Collective Intelligence | Conversation | Edge

If it's not just putting a bunch of smart people in a group that makes the group smart, what is it? We looked at bunch of factors you might have thought would affect it: things like the psychological safety of the group, the personality of the group members, et cetera. Most of the things we thought might have affected it turned out not to have any significant effect. But we did find three factors that were significantly correlated with the collective intelligence of the group.

The first was the average social perceptiveness of the group members. We measured social perceptiveness in this case using a test developed essentially to measure autism. It's called the "Reading the Mind and the Eyes Test". It works by letting people look at pictures of other people's eyes and try to guess what emotions those people are feeling. People who are good at that work well in groups. When you have a group with a bunch of people like that, the group as a whole is more intelligent.

The second factor we found was the evenness of conversational turn taking. In other words, groups where one person dominated the conversation were, on average, less intelligent than groups where the speaking was more evenly distributed among the different group members.

Finally, and most surprisingly to us, we found that the collective intelligence of the group was significantly correlated with the percentage of women in the group. More women were correlated with a more intelligent group. Interestingly, this last result is not just a diversity result. It's not just saying that you need groups with some men and some women. It looks like that it's a more or less linear trend. That is, more women are better all the way up to all women. It is also important to realize that this gender effect is largely statistically mediated by the social perceptiveness effect. In other words, it was known before we did our work that women on average scored higher on this measure of social perceptiveness than men.

Sent from my iPhone

Data Changes Everything: Delivering on the Promise of Learning Analytics in Higher Education

Overall, results from the PAR Framework proof-of-concept project offer
compelling evidence that analyses of the normalized variables tracked
in a multi-institutional database of student records can provide
meaningful benchmarks for exploring loss and momentum at the student
and course levels.

http://www.educause.edu/ero/article/data-changes-everything-delivering-promis…