Collective Intelligence (CI) and Online Deliberation Research

At its most ambitious, research into Collective Intelligence (CI) seeks to develop the conceptual foundations and sociotechnical infrastructures to increase our ability to resolve complex problems by combining individual contributions.

The importance of this research is paramount, as humanity now finds itself constantly and increasingly faced with a range of highly complex problems – such as climate change, the crisis of democracies, the spread of disease, international security, scientific collaborations, product development, and so on.

This calls upon socio-technical research on the right theories, methods and tools to harvest the collective intelligence (CI) of large numbers of globally distributed experts and stakeholders.

The identification, design and testing of CI theories, methods and tools to improve the way we collectively face complex societal dilemmas is a long term challenge for the CI community and the IDea research group in the following 5-10 years will focus on this challenge.

Specifically we will be looking at how collective intelligence can emerge by enabling better collective dialogue, debate and deliberation. In fact, online discourse and deliberation technologies – such as idea management and argumentation tools, blogs, wikis, chats, forums, Q&A sites and social networks, provide unprecedented opportunities for entire communities or organizations to express a discourse and act at a massive scale, but very little is know on:

  • When does effective discourse help a collective outperform individuals?
  • What functions should the next generation of social CI platforms support?
  • How can we allow communities to efficiently manage many diverse ideas, argument, and deliberate so that they can act collectively more intelligently than they would do in isolation?

Our research seeks to understand the forms of CI that can be constructed through discourse and action, which enables advanced forms of collective sensemaking such as idea generation and prioritization, argumentation and deliberation. Additionally a specific focus will be given to apply such discourse oriented CI forms, methods and tools in social innovation contexts and in pursue of the common good.

Ultimately, the IDea group’s research is enabling ideation and deliberation at unprecedented scales while allowing many voices contribute to effective, unbiased, democratic conversations that lead to intelligent group behaviors and social change.