“Scaling Collective Intelligence” explores the potential of harnessing collective intelligence through technology. Collective intelligence, the shared knowledge and problem-solving capabilities of a group, has the potential to address complex societal issues. However, its scalability is often hindered by communication and coordination problems.

The concept of ‘stigmergy’ is introduced as a potential solution. Stigmergy, a term borrowed from entomology, refers to the indirect coordination between agents following simple rules, leading to complex structures. Ant colonies, for example, use stigmergy to build intricate nests without centralised planning or direct communication.

In the digital age, stigmergy can be applied to scale collective intelligence. Open-source software development and Wikipedia are cited as successful examples. Both use simple rules and indirect coordination to create complex products, with contributions from a large number of individuals.

The potential of stigmergy is not without its limitations. The need for a shared understanding and agreement on simple rules can be a challenge. Additionally, the risk of ‘groupthink’ or the suppression of dissenting views is a concern.

The piece ends with a call to action, encouraging more research and experimentation in harnessing stigmergy for scaling collective intelligence. The aim is to create structures that foster diversity of thought and decentralised decision-making, ultimately contributing to the betterment of society.

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