Collective Intelligence (CI) is an "intelligence" that arises from the collaboration and competition of many individuals. This covers topics such as folksonomy, social software, crowdsourcing, collective wisdom, aggregate wisdom, and recommender systems. The more users a CI site has, the more "accurate" or "intelligent" it is. Things that are more beautiful or sexy tend to be more popular.
CI is distinct from other communications that involve multiple people in that an "intelligence" or consensus is arrived at. Blogging is not CI because it tends to be so much babble of the masses although some blogs are more popular than others. Many "social software" sites are more about socializing than forming a consensus.
It should also be noted that the CI concept does not only apply to intelligence as in "IQ" but also to emotional intelligence as in "EQ". An collaborative consensus that is emotional or social is just as much a consensus as a supposedly "rational" consensus. In one sense the stock market is a form of CI.
The concept of voting has been around for a long time but the Web is particularly suited for allowing many people to vote on many things quickly. Most voting is binary (a vote or no vote), as opposed to multi-ary (EG: A vote of 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, or no vote).
The concept of folksonomy, i.e. collaborative categorization, has also been around for a long time but again the Web facilitates many people to chip in. The popularity and folksonomy site concept first came into being in 2003 with del.icio.us, a "social bookmarking" site.
- Folksonomy is a portmanteau of the words "folks" and "taxonomy, and has been attributed to Thomas Vander Wal.
- Folksonomy is enabled in software largely through the use of keywords. Many social bookmarking sites call these keywords "tags". Gmail calls the keywords "labels" but since the labels are only used for a single individual's emails, it isn't folksonomy but rather personal taxonomy.
- There are issues on keywords include the following:
- Single word or multi-word keywords.
- Hierarchies of keywords.
- Finding related or synonym keywords.
Wikis are collaborative web sites. See also my section on Wikipedia.
People can edit site content via a simple browser interface available right on each page. Reading or writing rights can be restricted but many site enable anyone to read or write content. Many wikis have keep histories of each page so that if some erroneous editing occurs, the page can be returned to a previous version. The strength in a wiki lies in the strength of its contributing community to create, prune, structure, and protect good content.
Because of its freeform, natural style, a Wiki functions as an informal group memory. The
Although non-wiki many-to-many methods (message boards, blogs, and comment-attached web sites) can distilled by pruning and restructuring by self-moderation, self-organization, thus reducing the absurdly long threads especially threads full of relatively empty content.
Ward Cunningham invented Wikis in 1995. The term Wiki is derived from wiki wiki which is Hawaiian for "quick".