Connective intelligence, collective intelligence

By “connective intelligence,” Derrick de Kerckhove means intelligence that resembles the efforts and mental resources of several people over time, assisted by systems, such as computers and networks, that speed up its diffusion. For him, it is another kind of intelligence, one shared with nature, whereas we are traditionally trained to think of intelligence and emotion as individual concepts. From his more operational viewpoint, Pierre Lévy has coined “collective intelligence” – intelligence that aims to “visibly improve the process of intellectual collaboration.” It brings together social capital (networks of people), technical capital (infrastructural networks), cultural capital (information networks), and intelligence capital (networks that assemble people and ideas). Increasing the global level of knowledge is therefore indispensable to our living together in tomorrow’s world. It’s a matter both of providing everyone with the means to be autonomous and of developing a collective intelligence that will determine economic success as much as it will our ability to meet today’s global challenges. But it’s a different kind of knowledge we’re talking about here.

Measuring collective knowledge

Intellectual quotient (IQ) constitutes an (albeit imperfect) way of measuring individual intelligence. There have also been attempts made to measure average degrees of qualification of a given population. But we don’t know how to measure collective intelligence, the kind that gives a collective (or prevents them from having) the ability to efficiently mobilize their resources, solve difficult problems, and come up with and implement new ideas. For as long as we don’t know how to measure collective intelligence, we will remain stuck in old-fashioned and inefficient models of education, collaboration, and power. This, then, is a high-priority research project, for every business, as for every region, country, and human community.