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April 17, 2011

a measure and a condition for the metabeing to truly become intelligent


introducing_miemis.jpg

Venessa Miemis wrote:

> all semantically linked, so for example, it could be built so that it showed all organizations, and then listed specific projects they are working on or in support of or things they are associated with.

> providing a snapshot overview of the entire ecosystem, and making it very easy for projects and people to become aware of one another and share data instead of duplicating it over and over.

In a similar vein, I wrote about some steps towards crowdsourcing the mapping of the movements & tribes that model the social practices of a positive future here. 

The particular possibility that has been attracting my attention the most is to increase the self-awareness of all fields of transformation and to create/cultivate an emergent platform that can act as a rocket booster for our collective intelligence and wisdom.

> The thing i'm envisioning would be a lot of work to set up, but then it would be intelligent… if these values were defined, they could then be entered into this database, and it would show you the 9 projects that were related/similar/identical.

The thing that Venessa is envisioning is the thing that any self-organizing global-scale collective intelligence need if it is to be holoptical

> If there was more granular information about all of this, and it was openly available and easy to navigate, we'd have a much more effective method of allocating resources to efforts that will go furthest.

Envisioning and prototyping “more effective method of allocating resources to efforts that will go furthest” is both a measure and a condition for the metabeing to truly become intelligent. Nothing less will keep us from becoming an aborted evolutionary experience.

If so, then need to shift, sooner or later our scaffolding environment from The Next Net Google Group to, at least, a Drupal-like content management system/framework. The sooner would be better because the conversation is already richer than what this tool can do justice to.

July 8, 2010

CI, AI, UI or just I?

stonehenge-wallpaper-1.jpg
The term "Collective Intelligence" is sufficiently vague and positive that it is quite easy to agree that of course we want it. We want to be smarter together. 

But we might imply quite different subtexts when we talk with each other about it, and we might make different assumptions. It is probably a good idea to be aware of those differences.

Some would group CI with AI. That would imply that it is constructed, or that mechanisms are constructed that will evolve into the AI, like neural nets or cellular automata. And at some point the AI will become self-aware and we can talk with it. And further down the line it becomes smarter than us, and it might decide to no longer bother to talk with us.

I personally am skeptical of Artificial Intelligence. I'm even more skeptical of the idea of brains as the seat of consciousness. I think it is a little naive to expect that if one constructs a network with a sufficient number of inter-connected nodes, modeled superficially on the cells we see in brains, then, suddenly - a miracle happens - and it becomes self-aware. Oh, there's probably plenty of still undiscovered magic in inter-connected networks of nodes and cellular automata, etc., and we don't really know yet what will be most significant, so we should explore all if it. I'm just saying that it isn't a good idea to bet everything on that one sketchy theory.

Another possibility is what we're harnessing something that already is there. The universe is very intelligently constructed, in ways we can't approximate by many orders of magnitude, even if we can do some clever things of our own. Just think of evolution. Here's a process that has continued without fail for billions of years, continuously developing better and better life forms. A fantastic variety of life forms, all representing clever solutions to many, many problems. Some life forms, like us, even can think abstractly and creatively, and seem to have to opportunity to continue and expand evolution consciously, at a higher order. All set in motion by autonomous processes started many billions of years ago. Mind-blowing. It is entirely possible that the whole thing, the universe, or multiverse, already is one giant immortal quantum entangled 11 dimensional Universal Intelligence. In which case we'd maybe want to tap into that, instead of trying to re-invent the wheel. 

A more down-to-earth way of looking at it is that CI is simply us. How well we work together, and how coherent the result is. If we work together in ways that maximize synergy, where things fit well together, and we accomplish more together than apart, then CI is high. 

I believe that by its very nature, an increase of CI can only be a good thing. Because it is collective. It is us operating at a higher level. As contrasted with the AI scenario, where something alien wakes up and it might or might not be friendly, might or might not like us. A positive level of CI is by its nature friendly to us. A negative level of CI is destructive and maybe suicidal. But, as it is at all times us, it is never really against us. It couldn't ever decide to continue without us. 

It might well be a red herring to pursue a personification for CIs or AIs. You know, the Turing test, where we'd expect a new kind of intelligence to be able to have a conversation indistinguishable from one with a human. It is a bit like the logical mistake often made by religious prophets. Like how Christians cast their God in their own image. Some old man with a grey beard. It might be just as ridiculous to expect a higher order intelligence to be a person, with whom you have idle smalltalk. We don't need another person, we already have plenty of those, we need higher order intelligence.

The kind of higher order intelligence we most need isn't particularly the self-aware kind. Rather, we need a coherent noosphere to operate in. Simply an environment where the information we need is likely to be easily available to us. Like how you've all noticed that Google makes you seem much smarter. You can find information much faster. You seem more intelligent. But we need something several orders of magnitude more flexible and organized. Where it is very easy to know what you need or want to know, very easy to find the people you need or want to work with, and where the decreased resistance and increased efficiency makes bigger things appear to come together effortlessly and "by themselves". That doesn't so much require an AI God who stays up all night figuring things out for us, as it requires an instant friction-less access to huge amounts of reliable information. 

We need systems that make us more intelligent. I.e. that increase our collective ability to solve problems, to plan, to learn, to understand complexity. That might have more to do with understanding intelligence than with constructing an intelligence, or waiting for one to appear.

June 30, 2010

on hypertrails between vistas, which we create by walking on them

vistas.jpgGood tools always have unintended uses stumbled upon by its individual and collective users. Hopefully, that will be the case of élan map, too. I can hardly wait for its alpha version to manifest so that we can start playing with it and discover its potential beyond what it was originally conceived.

A possibility that I am particularly interested in and want to explore further as the components of our mapping tool gain higher resolution is this:

What if we convened an expert panel of thinkers and doers in selected disciplines, and let them loose in a treasure hunting exercise using our interactive map of social and thought movements on the edge?

The question that we would ask could include something like this: Looking back from the middle of the 21st century, which of the movements mapped by élan would be considered as having had a significant impact on the transition to our new planetary reality?

path on the lawn.jpgThen we could compare the data coming from a modified Delphi survey  of our panel with the data from the  hypertrails connecting the vistas in the landscape of transformational memes and movements.

Hypertrails are those affinity passages between the vistas, the salient points (or strange attractors) in the landscape, which will emerge from our very walking those trails. Just as students cut new paths on campus lawn by going for shorter connection between buildings they visit more frequently…

What if we had a chance to distort the timeline by using information from the Delphi's "visit from the future"? :-)




on junto, élan, Kosmic synchronicity, and movement cartography

"We are at a critical point in human history, where as a globally interdependent society, we must learn how to lower these barriers, share information, collaborate, and cocreate value in new ways." @VenessaMiemis

Junto logo.jpgLearning how to learn that, and sharing what I learn, is what I've been dedicating my life to since the mid-80's. Reading the overview of junto's concept, philosophy, and components, I felt my heart full of joy and gratitude to the collective wisdom and expertise of the junto group, and to Venessa for her buildership  and eloquent articulation of what is needed to accelerate collaborative learning, locally and globally.

In the junto concept, I found the most practical and feasible expression of a web-enabled, emergent system for boosting our collective intelligence that became a matter of our survival and thriving as a species.

Continue reading "on junto, élan, Kosmic synchronicity, and movement cartography" »

June 27, 2010

Conversation transcript-> mindmap-> semantic web-> sane sentient AI

 

Imaginal cells in the protoplasm, from which the new civilization is emerging, discover the current state of their fluid identity, by being engaged in generative conversations with one another.

 

When we collaborate using the currently available tools, we are able to share meaning and develop themes, resulting in a record of the interactions which then requires processing in order to extract the valuable data which emerged from the conversation. @cyber_shaman

As long as we stay on the edge of not knowing and wanting to know what is that which wants to come into being through our conversations, the narrative evolving from them is a of high value. It is a narrative that gradually becomes more coherent as we continually co-sense what is and co-initiate what it can be and throw ourselves in the dance of the being and becoming parts of ourselves.

That narrative deserves our sustained shared-attention. @Cyber_shaman's recent post   on "Practices and Processes for boosting CI" is truly generative. Staying connected with that inquiry, and standing in it with intense curiosity and humility, we can move the edge of discovery and co-creative action.


The harvested information is a valuable resource as part of an evolving collective 'meme-stream' (to coin a phrase) so we want to be able to access and include it in the evolving discourse in a way that becomes 'standard' with a view to automation of the process for optimal benefit to the overall process. @cyber_shaman

Yes! and there are various candidates in the works, as we speak; standard-candidates that may synch with one another to let the next-gen collab software parse more dimensions of  our knowledge/action ecosystem. One of the most promising candidates is #NarrativeFractals , another is the social tetrahedron.

Ultimately we need to be able to provide this information to the semantic web so it can process and refine it as a collaborative partner to us (which is what it is set to become). @cyber_shaman

That's the best naming of the semantic web's evolutionary significance that I've heard! It's a partner that we can shape and it will shape us. It is a good time to ask daring questions about the nature of that partnering. Sorting out the best conversation mapping methods that need to be supported by our new collaborative mapping tools, we are also preparing ourselves to ask those deeper questions.

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June 14, 2010

What can dynamic views (in mapping emergent systems) enable?

In a comment to A tool for mapping the future as it's emerging, Glisten wrote:


> The visual mapping of an evolving system is not a trivial affair. If we create a map of our "current state" we only provide a snapshot view of what is more closely aligned analogously with a continual stream of images such as video...

Yet, for humankind's emergent metabeing to become fully conscious of itself (as whole and parts), it must grow simultaneous capacity and tools for the awareness of both the structural and dynamic aspects of its life.

Why not prototype that feature into the élan mapping tool? I have some ideas of how we and the groups we want to support could greatly enhance our sensing of, and making meaning from, the next level of emergence (at any scale that our imagination can hold). However, what is more important than my ideas is our co-sensing what is really needed with members of those groups.

Before inviting them to this blog exchange, let's imagine what a globally linked creative community could do with new tools and ways to sense breakthrough practices in any domain, as son as they appear in our global nervous system: in our connected conversations.


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June 10, 2010

In defense of complexity

Somebody wrote in a group on "Transforming Capitalism" in the Presencing community  :

> all complex civilisations have collapsed at one point or another. Only 'simple' societies have managed to survive.


Cellular Complexity by David Sweatt.gifIn the spirit of helping each other unearthing our assumptions, let me point out that the feudal society that invented the first forms of science was more complex than the slave-based mode of production that, in turn, was more complex than the hunter-gatherer mode of production. The same is true for capitalism that is more complex than the feudal society, and emerging, post-capitalist reality that is moving towards global-scale self-organization and collective intelligence, which will be more (not less) complex than the capitalist world. More complex means capable to differentiate, absorb and integrate more variety.

Just think of nature. Hasn't life been moving towards increasing complexity from the single-cellular to the multi-cellular organism, from worms to mammalians and humans? (To let that really sink in, use the Cellular Complexity painting above, by  David Sweatt, as a meditation object.
Click on the image to enlarge.
) You can find another example of increasing complexity in your own life. Isn't it a story of increasing the variety of phenomena that you were capable to differentiate, absorb and integrate, from kindergarten, to school and adulthood?

The move towards more complexity doesn't stop in adulthood. The development of such subsequent value systems depicted by Spiral Dynamics as TruthForce, StriveDrive, HumanBond, FlexFlow, GlobalView, is also an evolution towards more complexity. (I wrote more about it in Communitas Sapiens that you can find in the files of the London Integral Circle, and in my paper on Collective Intelligence, Collective Leadership .) In fact, 2nd tier stages of development, starting with FlexFlow and GlobalView are the first ones that cease to think of complexity as an enemy to defeat and start appreciating it.

Facing the overwhelming complexity of today's world, the "natural" response is to look back and long for a lost "natural rhythm and pace." That's the best that our individual ego can find when one's world is growing more complex than one can fully comprehend. It is the best that it can do, simply, because it cannot see what is above its head: the next level, at which the assumption that I, me, mine, is the most important in the world is recognized as an increasingly useless assumption.

What if
what we sense as overwhelming complexity was only evolution's trick to seduce us  into the collective identities and shared minds needed to make sense and higher meaning out of our world? What if someday we woke up realizing that we left the fixation with the narrower perspectives behind just as we did with toys that we've outgrown in the kindergarten? What if that day was today?

I know, it's easier said than done. Spreading good practices worth replicating does help. Here is a beautiful example. The good news is there's a growing number of us who recognize that awakening communities are not the death of our individuality, only the death of our ego. In fact, autonomy gains never before experienced depth and richness in the unfolding dynamics and interplay between autonomy and communion. So, what are we waiting for? :-)

June 8, 2010

Message to Venessa Miemis about her "Pay It Forward Business Model"

Venessa Miemis.jpgVenessa wrote a fascinating blog entry  on

"A Pay It Forward Business Model [in transition to a new global society]."

It prompted the following open message to her.


Dear Venessa,

Your "pay it forward" model is hugely inspiring in all of the various scope of its meaning! 

I start responding from the one that is the juiciest for me, the scope of our Emerging Planetary Reality.  We're in the midst of a world transition that still has to generate highly-scalable practices of value creation and exchange beyond the logic of the incumbent mode of production. I see your quest in the context of that larger one.

As Scott Lewis  wrote: "In regards to the gift economy, I don’t think we’ve ever been without it." True, it persisted throughout human history but largely as an under current of economic activity. Now it is stepping into history's limelight a second time.

This time, it comes with a mission: to help freeing the energies of our individual and social creativity, intuition, caring, and imagination, trapped in work systems that don't honor our highest aspirations. Only liberating those energies, will Emergence gain enough momentum to lift us into the next civilization.  (Here, "next" means: capable to operate at a higher level of complexity and harmony.) The value of your offer to the world, at that level, is in its contribution to that liberation. It's like "a small step for Venessa, one giant leap for mankind." :-)
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May 18, 2010

A tool for mapping the future as it's emerging in the present

This blogpost is the first public news of a project that I am working on with a small team of friends; it is focused on creating a tool for the interactive, 3-d mapping of the ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives on the edge. We call it the élan map. élan also stands for the yet-to-born Evolutionary Learning & Action Network.

"The larger social structures are proving to be inadequate to solve the problems they're creating. New social innovations are emerging everywhere, but they are not sufficiently connected or empowered. So right now, any effort that we can make to connect and create greater synergy and participation in this awakening process is probably the most important thing we can do". (Barbara Marx Hubbard, 2003)

élan proposes providing a technical and social platform for collaborative sensing and meaning-making to augment the collective intelligence, wisdom, and capabilities of groups and movements on the leading edge of social evolution. It is to the evolutionary impulse in them and us that we dedicate our work.

The concept of élan, when fully embodied, will be an activity ecosystem that includes an interactive map for navigating Emergence (the concept of which is introduced here), an online magazine, a bio-mimicry inspired, community knowledge garden, and a network of self-organizing communities of users/contributors. The latter will also include a research think-net that will scan the landscape of our Emerging Planetary Reality to identify early signs of strategic challenges and opportunities for the movement.

Neuronfire.gifThere are two lenses through which you can look at this project.

1. Seen through the lens of "global brain," it's about creating a visual tool to help organizations/groups on the edge:

• Experiencing themselves as neurons in the nervous system of the passage to a new civilization

• Discovering how they can interact with other neurons for rapid and effective transmissions

2. Seen through the lens of complex system of initiatives that are harbingers of the future in the present, it's about making it easier for:

• Individuals to decide which are the initiatives with which they resonate the most and to which they want to give more attention and energy

• Groups to assess their functional alignment with each other in the neighboring niches of the fast-changing ecosystem of evolutionary initiatives, thus multiply everyone's transformative impact

• A kernel of knowledge about the field of social transformation, to become a booster of the field's self-knowledge and collective intelligence

The last point also implies that "if we increase our ability to perceive (visualize, understand) problems or opportunities or activities, it will leverage our efforts greatly… If we really could perceive and make sense of much larger chunks at the same time, a lot of stuff would sort itself out quite easily." — Flemming Funch 

What we also hope is that such a mapping tool will let its individual and collective users:

• Discover common patterns of concerns, projects, and practices worth replicating across a vast range of initiatives, whilst remaining sensitive to the uniqueness of each individual context.

• Discover and tell the story of emergence into a wiser culture, as it unfolds. “Wiser” as in: capable of embracing broader and higher perspectives.

• Increase connectivity so there are more resources available  to the ecosystem as a whole and its parts.

• Increase coherent communication between initiatives, to facilitate the process of transformation.

• Make it easy for people to find the best match between their desire to serve the whole, and the most suitable contexts for that service.

These are the descriptors that we currently plan to use for characterizing them: Philosophy (including Mission Values, Principles), Structure, Founder(s), Leadership patterns, Projects, Organizational affinities, News, Events, and Social media presence. That list will probably change as we play with a modified version of Narrative Fractals and other approaches.
 
Our current focus is on developing the content structure of the map, then go into an alpha proof-of-concept, and beta prototype. Once the beta is made public, we will explore what's next. Next moth, we also plan to open a public site for our collaborators.

Meanwhile, we started building two advisory groups. Terry Patten, author and integral thought leader accepted our invitation to serve on the project's Wisdom Council and Scott Nelson, an information technology steward, who will work with us to build out a Drupal platform for the community of élan collaborators and serve on our Technical Advisory Group.  

We're curious of what you think of the features and capabilities that could make the map and the mapping tool really useful to you as individual, and to your group or organization if it lives on the edge of social, knowledge, technology or business innovation.

Your input could directly influence the design of the mapping tool. Please comment.

P.S. on June 30:
Good tools always have unintended uses discovered by its individual and collective users, and hopefully, that will be the case of élan map, too. Once we released the alpha version, a direction worth looking in to find new uses is this: there will be some hypertrails connecting the vistas that may emerge fro our very walking those trails. That's the subject of another blog entry.

December 13, 2009

Collecive intelligence tools for supporting global cooperative work

The stellar line up of workshops at the upcoming ACM Conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work reflects the edge of CSCW research, with profound implications for the global-scale cooperative work needed to mach global challenges.

Technically, it has become possible to connect constellations of CI pools of any size. That possibility, when coupled with the passion of social innovators and the wizards of social process technologies, is a key enabler of the current and much needed shift in the evolution of how we organize ourselves as societies and as the crew of Spaceship Earth...

Back to the ACM Conference on CSCW, I’ve just learned that there will be a workshop  on software tools to support Collective Intelligence in organizations. I’m wondering whether the designers/organizers of the conference envisioned to wrap it into a blanket of advanced CI tools and methods, as to augment the CI of the field of CI tool makers, itself?

The program doesn’t say anything about it, probably because the focus is CI in organizations, as it should be, not what it can do for solving world problems. Nevertheless, I believe that there will be a good number of people among the delegates, speakers, panelists, and interactive poster presenters, who feel inspired to address the broader implications of frontier research in CSCW for the world.

message in a bottle.jpgWhat could crystallize that interest so that during the conference a “Big Picture” caucus can form (under any other name) and explore research questions of common or adjacent interest? This blog entry is a message in a bottle, thrown into the digital ocean for someone interested in that question...

October 17, 2009

Wrapping the conference in a blanket of collective intelligence (CI)

Since I published The Quest for Collective Intelligence in the anthology on "Community Building: Renewing Spirit and learning in Business" (1995), I knew that a moment will come within my lifetime, when all what we know about CI will need to be brought into conversation and action. That will be called by a viable future that urgently needs “loosely tied far-flung strangers learning to collaborate” (Sébastien Paquet), at increasing scale. In my epiphany, it was also a time when a loose network of communities of CI practitioners and research centers formed, and it started developing and sharing advanced CI tools, methods, frameworks, and practices.

I feel that time is now and our CI workshop at UQAM can provide an impetus for advancing both practice and research if we co-created it so. On the practice side, we’ll be successful if we closely align CI-boosting in and around our workshop with the common context of the conference and its participants, which is community development. Thanks to Isabelle Mahy's’s wise orchestration, we can use my keynote, the opening and closing world cafés, the roundtable and the workshop, for wrapping the conference in a blanket of “collective intelligence” practices and tools.

Those practices may include on-site interviewing of participants in different sessions and workshops of the conference, then bringing the insights, questions, and inspirations emerging from those interviews both into the room onto the net. The more people capable to conduct dialogue interviews (à la Scharmer) will contribute to the process, the more aware the conference as system can become of its richness and potential. If you're new to dialogue interviewing, you can learn about it by going to the"U-Tools" diagram and bringing your mouse over "Dialogue Interviews.

I did something like that with some friends, on a very a small scale, at Reboot 9.0 that was geek unconference (an Open Space-like gathering) in Copenhagen, a couple of years ago. Observing what happened there, I articulated some unpublished ideas about “wrapping a conference in a blanket of CI.” If some people would step forward to drive/coordinate the process of dialogue interviewing and synthesizing on-site, I’d be happy to be a resource person to them.

September 21, 2009

Facilitating the local/global dynamics of CI calls for a collective sensing organ

Robin Temple commented on the Chaordic Dialogue Practice blogpost. Instead replying to it in that thread of comments, I've chosen to put the thoughts that it triggered in a new entry, as to give more visibility to it and our dialogue. Quotes are from Robin's original comment.

“On Chaordic Dialogue - two things I perhaps could contribute:
- your proposal of 'dis-locating' dialogue in both dimensions of time and space opens up the possibility for the reality that is not bound by time and space to freely emerge in any such dialogue.
This 'non-located' reality is the one that holds the intelligence and wisdom we so much seem to lose when we get too much caught up in our space-time 'points of view'. Interestingly, this intelligent reality still 'needs' us, as participants in the conversation...”

It sure does. It's only through our active engagement can it become aware of itself. I am thrilled by that we can't even start fathoming the acceleration of local evolution when the intelligent reality of the global meta-being awakens to self-awareness. There’s a beginning conversation about the self-awareness of the meta-being here, which may be of interest to students of the life of our Emerging Planetary Reality.

Escher's Implosion of spiral toroid.jpgI believe there's an increasing return on the double spiral of the local enriching the global, and the global making the local wiser. I started sharing my observations about the local/global dynamics here and further explored some aspect of the “collective intelligences playing at different scale” theme under that heading in a research note As we apply both systemic observation and collaborative intuition to the inquiry into, and sense-making from, that dynamics, we can become better agents of it.

Continue reading "Facilitating the local/global dynamics of CI calls for a collective sensing organ" »

September 20, 2009

From hardware-based sensors of the physical to software-based sensors of the social

John Seely Brown.jpgQuotes in this blogpost are from “Ecological Computing,”

by John Seely Brown and Feng Zhao.


Confluences and their combined confluence

Looking back at the first decades of the third millennium, humans will see them as the era of the Great Transition, an unexpected result brought to us by a confluence of many confluences.

Writing about an omni-present, planet-scale sensor network that will dwarf the Internet by many orders of magnitude, and its implications for biological and computing ecologies, John Seely Brown mentioned:

“The transformational force underlying this change is the confluence of recent rapid technological advances such as micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) sensors and actuators, wireless and mobile networking, and low-power embedded microprocessors… When the sensor grid becomes ubiquitous it becomes like an enormous digital retina stretched over the surface of the planet.”

The idea of a planet-scale sensor network evokes an orbital view of not only the confluence of technological developments that make it possible but also, the other confluences that such network contributes to and mingles with. For example, the confluence of shifts from authority to authenticity as driver of social organization, from scarcity to wide availability of knowledge, and from groupware to massively distributed social media that link up mega-millions of minds.

“Let's add intelligent browsers to this vast sensing system that lets scientists, government regulators, or environmental advocates use the internet to ask questions never before imaginable.”

When we’ll use such browsers for navigating on the ocean of data obtained from networked indicators of social well-being, collective moods, diseases in the global social body, and challenges to collective intelligence and wisdom, then we’ll have made a decisive step towards the bulk of humankind joining in a self-aware meta-being.

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July 26, 2009

Report on the first contemplative co-tweeting, Part 1: What happened

Twitter is an intensely personal experience, yet a communal one, at the same time. However, those two dimensions never meet. Our individual tweets create the value of the whole, yet we only benefit individually from the information we receive or dispense, the relationships we build. The opportunities for co-creative play in the tweetstream, benefiting the collective, have been hardly realized.

Picture 24.png That made me curious of what could become possible if we tweeted together, right after contemplating a question that mattered to us. I crafted a question expressing my passion, which worked as an attractor and inspired participation in spite the very short, 1-day notice. 8 Twitter users gathered in the “no place” of cyberspace on July 23, 2009, to embark on a co-tweeting experiment introduced with some minimalist instructions here.

The question that we put in the focus of our contemplation was this:

What is needed for openness and dialogue through tweets to scale
and affect positive change in consciousness and society?

This blogpost is the first installment of a report in 4 parts dealing with: A. what happened, B. what is the emergent story, C. what we learned from the experiment, and D. how we would improve the design of the next one.

So what has really happened in our contemplative twitterspace, on July 23?

Continue reading "Report on the first contemplative co-tweeting, Part 1: What happened " »

October 11, 2008

Combining social and electronic technologies for large-scale, collaborative meaning making

Large-scale, collaborative meaning making is a vital condition for dealing with crises and turning breakdowns into breakthroughs, locally and globally.

To be effective, the social technologies for facilitating that transformation need to be supported by the best what emergent electronic technologies can offer. For example:

Imagine to couple Personal Brain with a robust taxonomy-builder and a semantic engine,
all rolled up into a rapid-deployment learning environment that can be easily customized
for any knowledge domain or project, by community tech stewards, including non-programmers.

What do you see? What could such system enable?
What new community, organisational, and global capacities could be afforded by it?
Here’s my take on what it should help us with:

Continue reading "Combining social and electronic technologies for large-scale, collaborative meaning making" »

August 30, 2008

Our steady attention...

Our steady attention to what is moving us in the luminous moments of co-inspiration
transforms the fleeting experience into continuous celebration of the awakening of the collective learner
to its potential for higher intelligence and wisdom, capable to hold more compassion and complexity.


July 21, 2008

"What the hell are all these connections and social media for?"

I rarely choose to fall even further behind on my GTD Next Action list, by adding a comment to blogposts, which may never will be read, but your intriguing question caught me because I've been asking myself, for quite a while, the same:

Bev Trayner asked, "what the hell are all these connections and social media for?"

We'll see in 2-3 years from now but that's not an answer to my wanting to sense the lay lines of our emerging planetary reality, as they emerge, so that they can inform wiser actions: mine, my clients' and communities'...

Holding that question for a couple of years led me to the first sketches that you may want to take a look at here and here and here.

What kind of social learning system would be appropriate to address the challenges inherent in those posts?

Regarding our shared "falling behind" syndrome, what if it was only evolution's trick to help us recognize that resistance to distributed cognition and collective intelligence/wisdom is futile, the relevant cognitive unit is not me but we?

(By "relevant" I mean capable to develop the functionally fit differentiation of one's contribution to the whole, based on relatively accurate maps of our social and technical ecosystems.)

April 5, 2008

How well can collective self-reflexivity scale?

I woke up this morning 4 o’clock and not only because the jetlag. Yesterday was the first day of the first World Café Research Conference. Due to the delay of the flight from New York, I arrived late and when I entered the room, I stepped into a conversation about the reflexive nature of knowing and research. It was strangely familiar and excitingly new, at the same time.

It was familiar because a central theme of my thesis, 30-something years ago, was a critique of the objectivist sociology and its claim that its interview methods are neutral. (I suggested that interviewer and interviewee interact and their relationship constructs the meaning of their exchange as much as the words uttered by the second.)

It was also new because the context, the implied assessment that the quality of new knowledge developed in a typical World Café setting is a reflection of the quality of relationship between participants, as well as, the attention they give to the inner space, from which they are listening and speaking. (Bow to Otto Scharmer’s concept of the “blindspot.”)

At the dinner table, I happened to sit next to Fred Steier of the Fielding Graduate Institute and editor of a series of books on reflexivity in research. Fred is a gentle man with deep caring to squeeze out every once of learning from a conversation, with the power of second order self-reflection. In my exchange with him and the others around the table, I discovered this:

If people in conversation are observing and reflecting on both the source and the direction of their attention (the inner and the inter-subjective space), and sharing those reflections, a spontaneous combustion of consciousness can occur. If so, collective self-reflexivity can lead to deeper, more fine-tuned sensing of reality, thus to wiser action.

How well can collective self-reflexivity scale? What does it depend on whether it will grow into a system of influence or wither away, unfulfilled its potential? I feel those questions deserve a focused and rigorous research. My first thought about it is this:

For conversations that matter to grow into communities of practice and social systems at increasing scale, they have to be able to absorb the increased complexity involved with those systems. What does it depend on whether a community or a network of communities is capable to do that? One of the factors seems to be the trust and appreciation that flow among the participants in the conversation, besides their capacity for double loop learning in real-time, on the spot…

That’s what I got out from the bed with. Now, I go to get a breakfast, and continue the conversation, in the 2nd day of the conference.

August 24, 2007

The collective intelligence of functional mutations

Evolution's Edge from Best Futures says:

Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that all the necessary elements of a sustainable system will develop quickly enough to prevent irreversible environmental and social damage. Major evolutionary transformations only occur after a critical number of useful paradigm-changing developments (functional mutations) have taken place within a biological or social system. If these new system components are compatible, their interactions can begin to change the form and function of the entire system.

How can the new components learn whether they are compatible with one another, when they exist still only in germ form inside the old system? By engaging in collaborative inquiry in what is the next, larger subsystem of which they are part, how would it function, and what is the unique contribution of each of them to it. That inquiry will facilitate the differentiation and integration of the parts. It will also support and be supported by the CI of the whole.

August 20, 2007

CI by collaborative sense-making in participatory video

Talking about the phases of collaborative film making, Kent Bye wrote in Building a Theory of Collaborative Sensemaking | Echo Chamber Project:

The ideal collaborative sensemaking system would allow people to add their own context through each of these phases in a way that is both easy to participate and easy to productively make sense of the user input in a cumulative fashion.

I imagine that there will be a web-based multimedia experience of the film that is able to can get smarter as time goes on and more people are interact with the material by adding their context and meaning to it -- as well as produce remixes and contribute new source material back to the ecosystem.

So while the finished 90-minute documentary becomes a static product that is released and watched by a mass audience, there will also be a multimedia experience of the source material that will grow and evolve over time as users continue to interact and contribute their meaning to the material.

Two Questions Come Up at this Point:

* How am I planning on making sense of this process as it evolves?
* How am I going to coordinate these various phases and harness the chaos of the participation and collective wisdom?

I will certainly be learning a lot as real people start using the system, and I intend on doing some top-down leadership by expressing specific questions to look into, themes of sequences to cut together and trying to process as much of the incoming participation as possible.

It will be a very uncertain and chaotic process, but Wikipedia has shown that the anarchy can be productively harnessed if there is an agreed upon set of collaborative principles, a group of people with common intentions, and through enough open communication.