Global Collective Intelligence in Technological Societies

Paper by Juan Carlos Piedra Calderón and Javier Rainer in the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Interactive Multimedia: “The big influence of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), especially in area of construction of Technological Societies has generated big
social changes. That is visible in the way of relating to people in different environments. These changes have the possibility to expand the frontiers of knowledge through sharing and cooperation. That has meaning the inherently creation of a new form of Collaborative Knowledge. The potential of this Collaborative Knowledge has been given through ICT in combination with Artificial Intelligence processes, from where is obtained a Collective Knowledge. When this kind of knowledge is shared, it gives the place to the Global Collective Intelligence”.

Text messages are saving Swedes from cardiac arrest

Philip A. Stephenson in Quartz: “Sweden has found a faster way to treat people experiencing cardiac emergencies through a text message and a few thousand volunteers.

A program called SMSlivräddare, (or SMSLifesaver) (link in Swedish) solicits people who’ve been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). When a Stockholm resident dials 112 for emergency services, a text message is sent to all volunteers within 500 meters of the person in need. The volunteer then arrives at the location within the crucial first minutes to perform lifesaving CPR. The odds for surviving cardiac arrest drop 10% for every minute it takes first responders to arrive…

With ambulance resources stretched thin, the average response time is some eight minutes, allowing SMS-livräddare-volunteers to reach victims before ambulances in 54% of cases.

Through a combination of techniques, including SMS-livräddare, Stockholm County has seen survival rates after cardiac arrest rise from 3% to nearly 11%, over the last decade. Local officials have also enlisted fire and police departments to respond to cardiac emergencies, but the Lifesavers routinely arrive before them as well.

Currently 9,600 Stockholm residents are registered SMS-livräddare-volunteers and there are plans to continue to increase enrollment. An estimated 200,000 Swedes have completed the necessary CPR training, and could, potentially, join the program….

Medical officials in other countries, including Scotland, are now considering similar community-based programs for cardiac arrest.”

Why Crowdsourcing is the Next Cloud Computing

Alpheus Bingham, co-founder and a member of the board of directors at InnoCentive, in Wired: “But over the course of a decade, what we now call cloud-based or software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications has taken the world by storm and become mainstream. Today, cloud computing is an umbrella term that applies to a wide variety of successful technologies (and business models), from business apps like, to infrastructure like Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), to consumer apps like Netflix. It took years for all these things to become mainstream, and if the last decade saw the emergence (and eventual dominance) of the cloud over previous technologies and models, this decade will see the same thing with crowdsourcing.
Both an art and a science, crowdsourcing taps into the global experience and wisdom of individuals, teams, communities, and networks to accomplish tasks and work. It doesn’t matter who you are, where you live, or what you do or believe — in fact, the more diversity of thought and perspective, the better. Diversity is king and it’s common for people on the periphery of — or even completely outside of — a discipline or science to end up solving important problems.
The specific nature of the work offers few constraints – from a small business needing a new logo, to the large consumer goods company looking to ideate marketing programs, or to the nonprofit research organization looking to find a biomarker for ALS, the value is clear as well.
To get to the heart of the matter on why crowdsourcing is this decade’s cloud computing, several immediate reasons come to mind:
Crowdsourcing Is Disruptive
Much as cloud computing has created a new guard that in many ways threatens the old guard, so too has crowdsourcing. …
Crowdsourcing Provides On-Demand Talent Capacity
Labor is expensive and good talent is scarce. Think about the cost of adding ten additional researchers to a 100-person R&D team. You’ve increased your research capacity by 10% (more or less), but at a significant cost – and, a significant FIXED cost at that. …
Crowdsourcing Enables Pay-for-Performance.
You pay as you go with cloud computing — gone are the days of massive upfront capital expenditures followed by years of ongoing maintenance and upgrade costs. Crowdsourcing does even better: you pay for solutions, not effort, which predictably sometimes results in failure. In fact, with crowdsourcing, the marketplace bears the cost of failure, not you….
Crowdsourcing “Consumerizes” Innovation
Crowdsourcing can provide a platform for bi-directional communication and collaboration with diverse individuals and groups, whether internal or external to your organization — employees, customers, partners and suppliers. Much as cloud computing has consumerized technology, crowdsourcing has the same potential to consumerize innovation, and more broadly, how we collaborate to bring new ideas, products and services to market.
Crowdsourcing Provides Expert Services and Skills That You Don’t Possess.
One of the early value propositions of cloud-based business apps was that you didn’t need to engage IT to deploy them or Finance to help procure them, thereby allowing general managers and line-of-business heads to do their jobs more fluently and more profitably…”

Facilitating scientific discovery through crowdsourcing and distributed participation

Antony Williams in  EMBnet. journal:” Science has evolved from the isolated individual tinkering in the lab, through the era of the “gentleman scientist” with his or her assistant(s), to group-based then expansive collaboration and now to an opportunity to collaborate with the world. With the advent of the internet the opportunity for crowd-sourced contribution and large-scale collaboration has exploded and, as a result, scientific discovery has been further enabled. The contributions of enormous open data sets, liberal licensing policies and innovative technologies for mining and linking these data has given rise to platforms that are beginning to deliver on the promise of semantic technologies and nanopublications, facilitated by the unprecedented computational resources available today, especially the increasing capabilities of handheld devices. The speaker will provide an overview of his experiences in developing a crowdsourced platform for chemists allowing for data deposition, annotation and validation. The challenges of mapping chemical and pharmacological data, especially in regards to data quality, will be discussed. The promise of distributed participation in data analysis is already in place.”

Platform Strategies for Open Government Innovation

New paper by B. Cleland, B. Galbraith, B. Quinn, and P. Humphreys: “The concept of Open Innovation, that inflows and outflows of knowledge can accelerate innovation, has attracted a great deal of research in recent years (Dahlander and Gann, 2010; Fredberg et al, 2008). At the same time there has been a growing policy interest in Open Government, based in part on the assumption that open processes in the public sector can enable private sector innovation (Yu and Robinson, 2012). However, as pointed out by Huizingh (2011), there is a lack of practical guidance for managers. Furthermore, the specific challenges of implementing Open Innovation in the public sector have not been adequately addressed (Lee et al., 2012). Recent literature on technology platforms suggests a potentially useful framework for understanding the processes that underpin Open Innovation (Janssen and Estevez, 2013; O’Reilly, 2011). The paper reviews the literature on Open Innovation, e-Government and Platforms in order to shed light on the challenges of Open Government. It has been proposed that re-thinking government as a platform provider offers significant opportunities for value creation (Orszag, 2009), but a deeper understanding of platform architecture will be required to properly exploit those opportunities. Based on an examination of the literature we identify the core issues that are likely to characterise this new phenomenon.”

Building a Smarter City

PSFK: “As cities around the world grow in size, one of the major challenges will be how to make city services and infrastructure more adaptive and responsive in order to keep existing systems running efficiently, while expanding to accommodate greater need. In our Future Of Cities report, PSFK Labs investigated the key trends and pressing issues that will play a role in shaping the evolution of urban environments over the next decade.

A major theme identified in the report is Sensible Cities, which is bringing intelligence to the city and its citizens through the free flow of information and data, helping improve both immediate and long term decision making. This theme consists of six key trends: Citizen Sensor Networks, Hyperlocal Reporting, Just-In-Time Alerts, Proximity Services, Data Transparency, and Intelligent Transport.

The Citizen Sensor Networks trend described in the Future Of Cities report highlights how sensor-laden personal electronics are enabling everyday people to passive collect environmental data and other information about their communities. When fed back into centralized, public databases for analysis, this accessible pool of knowledge enables any  interested party to make more informed choices about their surroundings. These feedback systems require little infrastructure, and transform people into sensor nodes with little effort on their part. An example of this type of network in action is Street Bump, which  is a crowdsourcing project that helps residents improve their neighborhood streets by collecting data around real-time road conditions while they drive. Using the mobile application’s motion- detecting accelerometer, Street Bump is able to sense when a bump is hit, while the phone’s GPS records and transmits the location.


The next trend of Hyperlocal Reporting describes how crowdsourced information platforms are changing the top-down nature of how news is gathered and disseminated by placing reporting tools in the hands of citizens, allowing any individual to instantly broadcast about what is important to them. Often using mobile phone technology, these information monitoring systems not only provide real-time, location specific data, but also boost civic engagement by establishing direct channels of communication between an individual and their community. A good example of this is Retio, which is a mobile application that allows Mexican citizens to report on organized crime and corruption using social media. Each issue is plotted on a map, allowing users and authorities to get an overall idea of what has been reported or narrow results down to specific incidents.


Data Transparency is a trend that examines how city administrators, institutions, and companies are publicly sharing data generated within their systems to add new levels of openness and accountability. Availability of this information not only strengthens civic engagement, but also establishes a collaborative agenda at all levels of government that empowers citizens through greater access and agency. For example, OpenSpending is a mobile and web-based application that allows citizens in participating cities to examine where their taxes are being spent through interactive visualizations. Citizens can review their personal share of public works, examine local impacts of public spending, rate and vote on proposed plans for spending and monitor the progress of projects that are or are not underway…”

Choose Your Own Route on Finland's Algorithm-Driven Public Bus

Brian Merchant at Motherboard: “Technology should probably be transforming public transit a lot faster than it is. Yes, apps like Hopstop have made finding stops easier and I’ve started riding the bus in unfamiliar parts of town a bit more often thanks to Google Maps’ route info. But these are relatively small steps, and it’s all limited to making scheduling information more widely available. Where’s the innovation on the other side? Where’s the Uber-like interactivity, the bus that comes to you after a tap on the iPhone?
In Finland, actually. The Kutsuplus is Helsinki’s groundbreaking mass transit hybrid program that lets riders choose their own routes, pay for fares on their phones, and summon their own buses. It’s a pretty interesting concept. With a ten minute lead time, you summon a Kutsuplus bus to a stop using the official app, just as you’d call a livery cab on Uber. Each minibus in the fleet seats at least nine people, and there’s room for baby carriages and bikes.
You can call your own private Kutsuplus, but if you share the ride, you share the costs—it’s about half the price of a cab fare, and a dollar or two more expensive than old school bus transit. You can then pick your own stop, also using the app.
The interesting part is the scheduling, which is entirely automated. If you’re sharing the ride, an algorithm determines the most direct route, and you only get charged as though you were riding solo. You can pay with a Kutsuplus wallet on the app, or, eventually, bill the charge to your phone bill.”

Crowdsourcing Mobile App Takes the Globe’s Economic Pulse

Tom Simonite in MIT Technology Review: “In early September, news outlets reported that the price of onions in India had suddenly spiked nearly 300 percent over prices a year before. Analysts warned that the jump in price for this food staple could signal an impending economic crisis, and the Research Bank of India quickly raised interest rates.
A startup company called Premise might’ve helped make the response to India’s onion crisis timelier. As part of a novel approach to tracking the global economy from the bottom up, the company has a daily feed of onion prices from stores around India. More than 700 people in cities around the globe use a mobile app to log the prices of key products in local stores each day.

Premise’s cofounder David Soloff says it’s a valuable way to take the pulse of economies around the world, especially since stores frequently update their prices in response to economic pressures such as wholesale costs and consumer confidence. “All this information is hiding in plain sight on store shelves,” he says, “but there’s no way of capturing and aggregating it in any meaningful way.”
That information could provide a quick way to track and even predict inflation measures such as the U.S. Consumer Price Index. Inflation figures influence the financial industry and are used to set governments’ monetary and fiscal policy, but they are typically updated only once a month. Soloff says Premise’s analyses have shown that for some economies, the data the company collects can reliably predict monthly inflation figures four to six weeks in advance. “You don’t look at the weather forecast once a month,” he says….
Premise’s data may have other uses outside the financial industry. As part of a United Nations program called Global Pulse, Cavallo and PriceStats, which was founded after financial professionals began relying on data from an ongoing academic price-indexing effort called the Billion Prices Project, devised bread price indexes for several Latin American countries. Such indexes typically predict street prices and help governments and NGOs spot emerging food crises. Premise’s data could be used in the same way. The information could also be used to monitor areas of the world, such as Africa, where tracking online prices is unreliable, he says.”

Free Software Ties the Internet of Things Together

Rachel Metz in MIT Technology Review: “OpenRemote is an open-source Internet of Things platform that could help spur smarter homes and cities.
If you buy several Internet-connected home gadgets—say, a “smart” thermostat, “smart” door lock, and “smart” window blinds—you’ll likely have to control each one with a separate app, meaning it exists in its own little silo.
That’s not how Elier Ramirez does it. In his home, an iPad app controls his lights, ceiling fans, and TV and stereo. Pressing a single button within the app can shut off all his lights and gadgets when he leaves.
Ramirez can tap a lamp in an image to turn an actual lamp off and on in his apartment, and at the same time he’ll see the picture on the tablet’s screen go dark or become illuminated. Ramirez also set up a presence-sensing feature that uses his cell phone to determine if he’s home (it checks whether or not he has connected to his home Wi-Fi network). This can automatically turn on the lights if he’s there. Ramirez runs the whole setup from a small computer in his home.
The software behind all this interconnection comes from a company called OpenRemote, which is plugging away on an open-source software platform for linking Internet-connected gadgets, making it easier to control all kinds of smart home devices, regardless of who made them. And it makes it easy to automate actions like lowering your connected window blinds if the temperature sensed in your living room goes above 75 degrees….
OpenRemote also sees a moneymaking opportunity beyond the home in providing its software to cities, which are becoming increasingly interested in using technology for everything from communicating with citizens to monitoring traffic. Last year, OpenRemote conducted a small test in Eindhoven, in hopes of using automation and crowdsourcing to monitor a city. This included people-tracking with cameras, sound-level tracking, social-media monitoring, and an app that people in the area could use to rate what the atmosphere was like. The company is currently working on a larger-scale project in Eindhoven, Kil says. “If you put four walls around a city, it’s a big room, if you know what I mean,” he says.”

Democratic Reason: Politics, Collective Intelligence, and the Rule of the Many

New book by Hélène Landemore: “Individual decision making can often be wrong due to misinformation, impulses, or biases. Collective decision making, on the other hand, can be surprisingly accurate. In Democratic Reason, Hélène Landemore demonstrates that the very factors behind the superiority of collective decision making add up to a strong case for democracy. She shows that the processes and procedures of democratic decision making form a cognitive system that ensures that decisions taken by the many are more likely to be right than decisions taken by the few. Democracy as a form of government is therefore valuable not only because it is legitimate and just, but also because it is smart.
Landemore considers how the argument plays out with respect to two main mechanisms of democratic politics: inclusive deliberation and majority rule. In deliberative settings, the truth-tracking properties of deliberation are enhanced more by inclusiveness than by individual competence. Landemore explores this idea in the contexts of representative democracy and the selection of representatives. She also discusses several models for the “wisdom of crowds” channeled by majority rule, examining the trade-offs between inclusiveness and individual competence in voting. When inclusive deliberation and majority rule are combined, they beat less inclusive methods, in which one person or a small group decide. Democratic Reason thus establishes the superiority of democracy as a way of making decisions for the common good.”