from Lion, November 6, 2006 10:56 PM
Dear Tom, Sheri, and George,
I'm very excited about this project, and *proud* to be able to offer my time to it! I can commit **at least** 3 hours a week to this project, but expect that I would regularly commit more.
My mission is to see this through.
To answer the questions:
1. "What was your YES!" in deciding to attend this meeting?"
For me, it was reading through the invitation document, and thinking, "Yes, this is exactly what is needed. This is the way."
"What in particular interested you in participating in this overall effort to convene collective intelligence as a field of study and practice? What kind of difference do you think it could make?"
There is no particular, for me; I am awed by the magnitude of the individual efforts, collected together. At the very least, this will bring together the many silos of interest in the subject, and bring us all a major step forward into clarity about the subject. At the most powerful, it combines with the great story of evolutionary spirituality, gives hope and capabilities to people, awakens the networks, and brings humanity to a new level of existence.
2. "When did you fall in love with this idea of collective intelligence?" "How did that come about?"
In 1998, I first got excited by Linux. The idea of people collaborating on the Internet, and cooperating on a massive scale, was shocking to me.
I quickly took it up not just because it was great technology, but because the projects and the process excited me.
I made my first contribution to an Open Source project (adding particle effects to a game called "BumpRace," downloadable on the web,) and was hooked.
As I studied more and more about what "hooked" me, I found myself in wiki, and then planetary theories of the Global Brain, evolutionary spirituality (which I was originally very skeptical of,) and then here I am.
3. In your experience of collective intelligence, what ways of thinking about it make the most sense to you?
I'm definitely a "particle," rather than a "wave." The idea of "making sense," even, appeals to me strongly.
I like to solve problems in the tradition of Polya, and to analyze by methodically asking deeper questions.
That said, I observe that minds do not operate by logical rules, and that the irrational is incredibly important to problem solving. I even believe in the supernatural on Tuesdays.
4. "What is your sense of collective intelligence as a field of study and practice that includes and goes beyond your own work?"
The field is enormously huge.
My own work is mainly in software technology development. But in addition to the hard technology of computers, there is the soft technology of process and society, what John Abbe calls "The Process Arts."
There is clearly much more than this; There are markets, there is the spiritual, there is the understanding the human mind, societies, theories of social psychology, political psychology, and so on, and so forth.
Again, the field is huge.
5a. "What inquiries are you and your current collegues persuing that especially contribute to the greater understanding and/or manifestation of collective intelligence?"
Many of my friends and collaborators ask variants of:
"What hard technology (generally software) can we make to make the Global Brain more intelligent?"
A small sampling of sub-questions: "How can we manifest the project-space network, the network of all projects connected to the Internet?" "What technologies support those technologies?" "What works are other people doing, to make the Global Brain smarter?" "How can wiki technology be improved?" "What algorithms support connecting thoughts together in insightful ways?" "How do we automatically visualize things in insightful ways?" "How do we design user interfaces for groups of people?" "What is valuable in existing collaboration software?"
5b. "What other juicy questions about collective intelligence would you really like to see persued?"
2. MAPPING "Where are the boundaries of the field of Collective Intelligence?" "If we were to make a near-complete diagram of the field of Collective Intelligence, what would it look like?"
6. STRATEGIZING "How do we imagine that the story to wished for futures could go?" "What futures do we dream of?" "What unambiguous diagrams can we make, and show to people, that communicates to people essential ideas about Collective Intelligence, and makes their value utterly clear?" "How do we convincingly and sincerely speak about what we find in the language of ordinary people who do not *feel* like they participate in any one group or another?" (and with it:) "How do we avoid becoming encapsulated in our own big-little group?" "How do we make our product appealing and intensely attractive?"
7. TECHNOLOGY "How can people consciously create intelligence collectives that work and succeed in answering their creators and participants questions?" "What replicable systems are effective at answering what types or questions, or at achieving what types of goals?"
Finally: "How are we going to collect all this, and assemble it all together?!"
6. What patterns do you see, if any, among the diverse actors involved in investigating or facilitating collective intelligence.
* Global commitment, both to it's people and to it's rock, water, wind, plants, and animals. * Incredible sense of hope. * Industriousness, albeit of different sorts to different people. * Enthusiasm.
7. "In the next couple of months, what kind of online work, conference calls, shared materials, etc., among participants do you think could maximize the fruitfulness of our time together in January?"
* Mailing lists dedicated to (focused on, moderated toward) inquiries. * Document collaboration. * Leadership & Decision-making, just like in any Open-Source project.
Though I must say: What intrigues me is not **the conference,** but rather **the work.**
I believe the conference is best viewed as a place for face-to-face collecting together, mutual introduction, and announcement.
Two months for 3 hours a week is a very, very, very brief time, to my mind, though we can make a lot of headway into inquiries in that time, if we remain focused. (I think.)
The three months afterwards will help, to clarifying thinking, and working towards first release.
8. "What role can you imagine yourself playing in the emergence of this field, as a field of study and practice, that you might really enjoy? What special gifts, passions, insights, inquiries, etc., do you have to offer to further that emergence?"
for this particular effort:
I see myself collaborating with others online in focused inquiry, writing, maintaining inquiry documents, questioning, thinking, clarifying, diagramming, and organizing.
I can see myself performing technical support, but am averse to being *pegged* into technical support, which happens all too easily.
* I am good at making explanations clear and lucid. * I am good at sustaining concentration towards solving an important problem. * I am good at diagramming what is essential and insightful. * I see my role as an **evangelist** and as a **developer,** I delight in evangelizing what I'm passionate about.
Outside of this project, in terms of the general movement: * I see myself conceptualizing software, evangelizing software, using software, testing software, fixing software, and writing software. Software plays a major role in making this GO. * I contribute software, fixes, and ideas to diagramming software, wiki software, and the Open Source community in general. * I look forward to being a door-to-door evangelist of evolutionary spirituality,... ...just as soon as we get our story straight and our church figured out! Collective Intelligence plays an enormous role in this story.
UNASKED QUESTION: There is an unasked question, but I really want to answer it:
"Who else might be involved?"
I have two names:
* Bruce LaDuke http://www.socialtext.net/speakers/index.cgi?bruce_laduke http://www.anti-knowledge.com/
Bruce works in CI, and has developed very elaborate but sensible theories about intelligence, knowledge, etc.,.
I mean, just browse through: http://www.anti-knowledge.com/book/00_Title.htm
* Keith Hopper http://www.hopperanalytical.com/blog
Keith Hopper I know from CommunityWiki, and he is passionate about CI. He can also write nicely and quickly.
I understand that conference space is limited. This may even preclude *my* ability to come. And, *I don't mind.* The work, the assembly of the inquiry, is far more interesting to me than the conference.
Well, that's about it.
I hope that I'm accepted, and able to play a part in this.