The idea I’m going to tell you is well-researched but little-known. And it’s meta. Thinking about it has become my main passion, life mission, and purpose. It’s how I see the world. In short: what drives me is increasing collective intelligence.
Collective Intelligence is Everywhere
You are not one individual but many individual cells that are connected in a massive interaction network. The greater whole that emerges from the collective interaction over synapses, blood streams, osmosis, and other chemical processes forms what you perceive as you.
In a way, you are even more than just the sum of myriads of interacting cells and microorganisms. Each cell doesn’t see the big picture – but you do. You can think about yourself because what you consider being you is the emergent collective intelligence from your living body parts.
Synergy in 1 + 1 = 3
Taken to its extreme, here’s my point of view — expressed in my simple words as good as I can:
When two things interact with each other in a symbiotic relationship, a third thing emerges that is more than the sum of both. It has its own meta behavior that each individual cannot quite grasp. Yet, the relationships or interactions of the parts create a unique dynamic of the meta organism. From the outside, the meta organism consisting of the two things acts in its own way and even has its own dynamics, plans, and group thinking. We call it collective intelligence.
Searching for Collective Intelligence
Before, I said that collective intelligence is everywhere. You may ask: where? Next, let’s dive into some examples where it appears to us:
- Your self-awareness is the emerging collective intelligence of all the cells and body constituents interacting together via biological and chemical processes.
- Groups build their own collective intelligence. Whereas outsiders may believe that a specific group acts weirdly, the group insiders often don’t recognize that their behavior deviates from the norm. For example, a small group of friends may build a unique behavior that’s more positive or negative than the behavior of each group member. Large groups of people such as nations usually build a strong common identity and culture. A group, say, all US-Americans or all Chinese people, always comes with its own collective intelligence. From the outside, they are perceived to act as a single organism with its own goals, needs, plans, philosophies. No single person in a group may desire to destroy the environment or drift into new ways of thinking. But the group may do so nonetheless. Changing a group’s behavior as an individual awfully looks like a single cell that assumes it knows what’s best for the human carrying it.
- Cities are organisms with their own collective intelligence. They grow organically. Look at a city from the birds-eye view. Do you see how it grows and shrinks, expands into new areas, changes its appearance, and fights off threats? Do you see its constituents – people, animals, plants, cars – that are in constant flux–everything is in motion. Change is constant. Imagine how the superorganism called New York has completely transformed its appearance, culture, and behavior within the last few hundred years. Like cells in our bodies, the cell generations of the founding fathers of New York are all dead and have been replaced by new cells.
- Even our beautiful planet earth is a massive organism consisting of myriads of smaller and smaller organisms–each integrating their collective intelligence into the meta mind. Earth has the most incredible collective intelligence of them all. You and I are both small switches in its massive operating system. And as you’re reading this text and I’m writing it, we’re now connected.
I’m not quite sure what I should infer from all of that. Yes, I am not only an organism but also a tiny part of a giant mother organism. That’s a given. But what are the implications — what does it mean for my life? And yours?
Over time, I have come to answer this question in a very rough and probably naive way: I want to help increase collective intelligence with all that I am. I’m its servant like my brain cell is mine.
I don’t assume I know how that will benefit us or even in which “direction” the superorganism should travel. But I do assume that a higher degree of intelligence is the path of life because it empowers us to solve the biggest problems of our times. Intelligence is problem-solving capability. Shouldn’t we try to be more healthy, more functioning brain cells?
How to Increase Collective Intelligence?
Collective intelligence is a function of the number of connections we form, the strength of the connections, and the individual constituents’ capabilities.
Some strategies to increase collective intelligence are increasing the group size, strengthening communication, educating individuals, and seeking diversity within the group.
To help increase collective intelligence, I want to do the same with the Finxter community of like-minded coders. Connect them, teach them, make them more efficient, and guide them to what they perceive as more intelligent behavior. All in all, creating a meta organism that makes us smarter.
Consequently, I started to educate people a couple of years ago. Now, the Finxter organism has proliferated educating millions of coders and, by doing so, it takes part in creating a new form of collective super intelligence that has the potential to rise above everything we’ve seen so far: computer-based or artificial intelligence.
You’re invited to join Finxter on its journey to collective intelligence!
While working as a researcher in distributed systems, Dr. Christian Mayer found his love for teaching computer science students.
To help students reach higher levels of Python success, he founded the programming education website Finxter.com. He’s author of the popular programming book Python One-Liners (NoStarch 2020), coauthor of the Coffee Break Python series of self-published books, computer science enthusiast, freelancer, and owner of one of the top 10 largest Python blogs worldwide.
His passions are writing, reading, and coding. But his greatest passion is to serve aspiring coders through Finxter and help them to boost their skills. You can join his free email academy here.