Collective Intelligence, a new online open-source journal, launched its inaugural issue this past fall. The editors* hope the journal will help stimulate the discovery of the fundamental principles that underlie collective intelligence — a phenomenon found in complex systems from swarms of ants and crowds of humans to bacteria in biofilms, and networked computers. When these groups solve problems together, they often (but not always) make “smarter” choices than their individuals would working alone.
As a phenomenon, collective intelligence has fascinated scientists and scholars since at least the 1700s. But as a field of study, it remains relatively underdeveloped compared to other areas of research that inform complex systems science.
The journal is entirely dedicated to collective intelligence across scales and systems from “adaptive matter and physical systems, to molecular and neural systems, hybrid human-AI systems, sports teams, economies,” and beyond, says SFI Professor Jessica Flack, one of the four editors-in-chief.
The lineup of authors for the first issue illustrates the spectrum and ambition for the field, with high-profile contributors publishing on human, insect, and machine collectives, and trends in the field, such as the emerging influence of artificial intelligence.
As a society, we face several challenges — from pandemics to climate change — that require smart, nuanced responses. “A richer understanding of collective intelligence offers the potential for better design of the systems we depend on to solve complex, shared problems,” the editors write in their introduction to the first issue. “Starting a new journal… can accelerate our understanding of how to do better.”
Read the full inaugural issue of Collective Intelligence (open access), co-published by SAGE and the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), with the collaboration of Nesta's Centre for Collective Intelligence Design.
*Collective Intelligence Editors-in-Chief: Jessica Flack (SFI), Panos Ipeirotis (New York University), Geoff Mulgan (University College London), and Scott Page (University of Michigan, SFI), with Founding Editor Thomas Malone (Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
SFI to host symposium and short course on collective intelligence, June 19-22, 2023, in Santa Fe