Group-think

Sometimes, I do wonder about how we can make use of group intelligence? I mean, how can we best take advantage of the unique experiences and expertise of each person involved in a discussion, in a team, in a way that does justice to the combined skills? Unfortunately, it seems that the more democratic we make it, the more chaotic everything seems to be!

On a day to day basis at work, I deal with noise reduction and signal enhancement. Is there a parallel with the situation here?

How can I filter out the ‘noise’ so that I can extract some coherent information? Do I need to also ‘seed’ an idea to steer the discussion in a particular direction? Like I would seed the random number generator? In fact, the last point is rather scary when we see it happening on a world stage: Hitler in the 1930’s, the democratic powers of NATO in 2003, etc.

In fact, this train of thought has a somewhat surrealistic link to the famous (or infamous depending on your taste) Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy by the late Douglas Adams. At the start of the story, it turns out that mother Earth was actually a gigantic computer whose sole aim is to compute the meaning of life. All living creatures, mankind included, are but bits of organic electronics shoving bits of information around! However, as life would have it, Earth was destroyed moments before the solution was to be found. From the same story, we also have a neurotic robot and such devices as a babelfish – a true sci-fi(!?) classic.

Leave a Reply