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Theoretical Framework for a Future Computational Collective Intelligence

Pierre Levy (01/03/10) em Pierre Levy Posterous

1) Difference between Collective Computational Intelligence and Computational Collective Intelligence To avoid any misunderstanding I would like to begin with a clear distinction between what I mean by Collective Computational Intelligence and Computational Collective Intelligence. a) Collective computational intelligence involves collaboration

between software agents, with a new level of computational intelligence emerging form their collaboration. These technologies involve swarm intelligence, ant colony simulation, web services, grid computing, distributed cloud computing and multi-agent computing in general. b) Computational collective intelligence is a more multidisciplinary field. Its subject is the understanding of human collective intelligence and its augmentation by the means of ubiquitous distributed automatic symbol manipulation. Even if computational collective intelligence involves the use and development of collective computational intelligence, its scope is broader because it is not concerned only by computer engineering but promotes a strong collaboration between computing on the one hand and humanities and social sciences on the other hand. 2) Human Symbolic cognition The main difference between animal cognition and human cognition is that human beings are able to manipulate cultural symbolic systems like languages, musical systems, rituals, legal systems, technologies, etc. Animal cognition is obviously characterized by categorization and memorization of sense data. But animal memory is mainly limited to the individual and its categorization stays implicit. By contrast, in

b) Dialogue Dialogue is based on the partaking of symbolic systems .and notably common languages . . transformation and transmission).the ability to be aware of one's own ignorance. dialogue and narrativity.the ability to create and recreate symbolic maps of the phenomenal world (the sensori-motor experience).exchange of ideas and narratives.common norms for reasoning and interpretation . 2 . human collective intelligence involves a distributed and socially coordinated processing of symbols (recording. . qualities and processes and the evocation of their complex interaction through the virtual space-time of narratives. . This involves the identification of actors. .the self-referential ability to map one's own symbolic cognition. Through all its various forms (that are not limited to the traditional tales) narrativity is the main human tool for knowledge organization.human cognition. . c) Narrativity Narrativity is based on the ability to model complex causal phenomena at the symbolic level. a) Reflexivity The main source of reflexivity is the syntactic complexity and semantic diversity of human languages. This personal and collective symbolic processing bears three interdependent main fruits: reflexivity. Dialogue includes: .common understanding of complex models.among human communities. As symbolic systems are created and maintained at the social scale. objects. to question one's own mental models and to ask questions in general.representation of the other's cognitive processes. sense data are explicitly categorized by the use of symbolic systems and symbolic memory can be shared inside communities and between generations.negotiation about meaning and practical decisions. Reflexivity implies: .

4) The IEML Semantic Sphere a) Addressing layers of the digital medium 1) The first layer assigns addresses to bits in the physical storage systems of automatic symbol manipulators.Based of symbolic manipulation. it grew with the printing press and electronic media. it is now related to an universally distributed digital medium. The main idea behind computational collective intelligence is that the digital medium is integrating all previous media and that it can augment in an unprecedented way human collective intelligence by harnessing the power of ubiquitous digital data storage and automatic manipulation on these data. It is the operating systems that take care of this addressing layer. But what about hyper-reflexivity of computational collective intelligence processes? What about trans-cultural and translinguistic dialogue on shared digital data? What about new kinds of hyper-narrativity harnessing the ubiquitous availability of multimedia data and computational power? We have already a digital medium but still no hypercortex. Artificial human collective intelligence began with the use of writing systems. process and transmit symbols. we still don't have the cultural symbolic systems that will help us to exploit fully the new availability of automatic symbol manipulation. 3) The Digital Medium Information technology augments natural human collective intelligence by enhancing its ability to record. dialogue and narrativity make the natural human collective intelligence more powerful than the animal collective intelligence. reflexivity. we know how to augment numerical calculus and logical reasoning by the way of automatic computation. 3 . Information technology gives rise to an artificial human collective intelligence. But as the digital medium is only one or two generations old. In particular. This layer has been set-up in the middle of the XXe century.

The main difference between the layer of data . 3) The third layer. It is of course the Internet protocol that takes care of this addressing layer. the Internet emerged as an universal addressing system only during the years 1980. Even it has been invented at the end of the 1960 decade. Through the data formats XML. A powerful generalization of the WWW is the Web of data. etymologic relations. RDF and OWL. The Web of data (particularly regarding RDF and OWL) is still in a phase of implementation. the WWW.2) The second layer assigns addresses to the automatic symbol manipulators in theglobal digital telecommunication network. serial relations) and syntagmatic relations (relations between the elements of hyper-propositions and hyper-narratives). The WWW has been widely adopted from the middle of the nineties of the last century. b) Transparency by design All the nodes (USLs) of the IEML semantic sphere are variables of the same semantic group of transformation and the computable circuits between these nodes describe paradigmatic relations (set-subset relations.addressed by URLs . at the time of the personal computing revolution. an artificial symbolic system that I have designed and that is theoretically able to express any kind of meaning in a formal computable way. 4) I'm pleading here for the adoption of a fourth layer of addressing: the addressing ofconcepts. The IEML semantic sphere presents itself as an immense closed structure of intersecting syntagmatic and paradigmatic pipelines that branch out from nodes (IEML USLs) of which each is a separate 4 . assigns precise universal addresses to Pages (URLs). This new addressing layer would be based on IEML (Information Economy Meta Language).is that URLs are opaque by design and that USLs are transparent by design.addressed by IEML USLs (Uniform Semantic Locators) . allowing the hyperlinking from any URL to any other.and the layer of semantic metadata . the Web of data insures a better interoperability between data addressed by URLs. several kinds of symmetric relations.

an intersection point is at the singular origin of a star of transformation that generates the entire sphere. One can think of the syntax of IEML as a virtual machine capable of computing the vast network of fractal complexity of the semantic sphere. In the centripetal direction. Along these pathways of transformation. The structure of the natural symbolic cognition has already been sketched. dialogue and narrativity at the scale of 5 . these paths connect each point to the entire mass of all the other points. a junction-point functions as a universal vanishing point of the noosphere. since there is a computable path of transformation that leads to it from any other point. It is of course multimedia. The Web of data is the equivalent of the sense data of personal natural cognition. Step by step and from one to the next. c) A model of computational collective intelligence I propose a model of computational collective intelligence in which an online creative conversation actualizes the junction of (a) the symbolic cognition based on the natural cortex and (b) the computational symbolic cognition based on a mechanical hypercortext. junction or node of the IEML semantic sphere is at the center of a multitude of pathways of calculable transformations. This syntactic machine needs to be provided with a dictionary.variable in a system of symmetrical and calculable transformations. It is also opaque (or implicit) because its addresses are not the variables of a transparent group of transformations. each "step" from one intersection to another is the variable of a discrete function. But as it is based on the digital medium. In the centrifugal direction. it has been designed from the beginning to exploit fully its distributed computing power and to augment human reflexivity. The IEML semantic sphere is the equivalent of the discursive explicit symbolic layer in the natural cognition based on the biological cortex. Each point. The dictionary establishes a correspondence between IEML and natural languages and sets the details of internal connections of the semantic sphere. The computational symbolic cognition has hopefully the same structure as the natural cognition.

My guess is that we would be able to build a hypercortex augmenting decisively our human collective intelligence only if we grow a transparent hypertextual sphere of semantic metadata. These information economy games will take as their imput the activity of players tagging data and assessing their value. the nodes of its graph being the variables of the same group of transformation. 6 . the growth of an hypercortex enabled by a semantic sphere of transparent metadata would be a huge cultural and technical international endeavor. IEML is only the proof by a real example that the success of such an endeavor is possible. Needless to say.the current online creative conversation. It can be used to describe. map and organize the digital multimedia memory from any semantic perspective or universe of discourse. It is also able to make these different perspectives and universe of discourse automatically interoperable. Computational collective intelligence implies the categorization of multimedia data by semantic metadata and the multimedia representation of semantic information economy. Moreover. its circuit structure allows for the design of varied information economy games organizing the circulation of symbolic energy.