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1. Introduction to Collective Intelligence > What Is Collective Intelligence?

What Is Collective Intelligence?

People have used the phrase collective intelligence for decades, and it has become increasingly popular and more important with the advent of new communications technologies. Although the expression may bring to mind ideas of group consciousness or supernatural phenomena, when technologists use this phrase they usually mean the combining of behavior, preferences, or ideas of a group of people to create novel insights.

Collective intelligence was, of course, possible before the Internet. You don’t need the Web to collect data from disparate groups of people, combine it, and analyze it. One of the most basic forms of this is a survey or census. Collecting answers from a large group of people lets you draw statistical conclusions about the group that no individual member would have known by themselves. Building new conclusions from independent contributors is really what collective intelligence is all about.


  

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