Collective intelligence emerges when there is a balance between technology, governance and joint goals.

We share this paper that discusses some of the prerequisites for collective intelligence: the cognitive predisposition that allows humans to elaborate shared intentions, the presence of cultural artefacts that allow co–ordination across time and space, the interaction with digital tools that embed social practices, the existence of systems of governance that encourage the free transformation of knowledge.

While collective intelligence is not a new phenomenon, the internet and digital media have greatly extended the possibilities of remote collective collaboration. The joint effect of a networked public, digital platform and open organisations are allowing knowledge to emerge from truly novel forms of social interaction. However, not all collective digital projects are successful in engaging people and generating significant outcomes. It is therefore important to understand what are the mechanisms that underlie co–operative processes of knowledge exchange and development.

This report includes a detailed case study of the Missing Maps project engages thousands of volunteers to map vulnerable areas for humanitarian intervention and disaster relief using satellite imagery and Openstreetmap, an open data-mapping platform. This is a powerful example of collective intelligence which allows us to analyse what are the prerequisites for new forms of collaboration.

The challenge is not only to create settings where people can share and communicate, but also to provide the means for knowledge to be made public, to be assembled, sedimented and reflected upon.

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Authors
Stefana Broadbent and Mattia Gallotti