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Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together

Superminds: The Surprising Power of People and Computers Thinking Together

by Thomas W. Malone


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From the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence comes a fascinating look at the remarkable capacity for intelligence exhibited by groups of people and computers working together.

If you're like most people, you probably believe that humans are the most intelligent animals on our planet. But there's another kind of entity that can be far smarter: groups of people. In this groundbreaking book, Thomas Malone, the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, shows how groups of people working together in superminds — like hierarchies, markets, democracies, and communities — have been responsible for almost all human achievements in business, government, science, and beyond. And these collectively intelligent human groups are about to get much smarter.

Using dozens of striking examples and case studies, Malone shows how computers can help create more intelligent superminds simply by connecting humans to one another in a variety of rich, new ways. And although it will probably happen more gradually than many people expect, artificially intelligent computers will amplify the power of these superminds by doing increasingly complex kinds of thinking. Together, these changes will have far-reaching implications for everything from the way we buy groceries and plan business strategies to how we respond to climate change, and even for democracy itself. By understanding how these collectively intelligent groups work, we can learn how to harness their genius to achieve our human goals.

Drawing on cutting-edge science and insights from a remarkable range of disciplines, Superminds articulates a bold — and utterly fascinating — picture of the future that will change the ways you work and live, both with other people and with computers.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316349130
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 05/15/2018
Pages: 384
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.50(d)

About the Author

Thomas W. Malone is the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management, a professor of information technology, and a professor of work and organizational studies at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He is also the founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence and was one of the two founding co-directors of the MIT Initiative on "Inventing the Organizations of the 21st Century." Malone is the author of The Future of Work and more than 100 articles, research papers, and book chapters.  He has also been a cofounder of four software companies; an inventor on 11 patents; and a co-editor of four books.

Table of Contents

Preface 3

Introduction 5

Part I What Are Superminds? 17

1 Would You Recognize a Supermind If You Saw It on the Street? 19

2 Can a Group Take an Intelligence Test? 27

Part II How Can Computers Help Make Superminds Smarter? 47

3 How Will People Work with Computers? 49

4 How Much General Intelligence Will Computers Have? 63

5 How Can Groups of People and Computers Think More Intelligently? 77

Part III How Can Superminds Make Smarter Decisions? 83

6 Smarter Hierarchies 85

7 Smarter Democracies 93

8 Smarter Markets 105

9 Smarter Communities 115

10 Smarter Ecosystems 133

11 Which Superminds Are Best for Which Decisions? 143

Part IV How Can Superminds Create More Intelligently? 169

12 Bigger Is (Often) Smarter 171

13 How Can We Work Together in New Ways? 189

Part V How Else Can Superminds Think More Intelligently? 207

14 Smarter Sensing 209

15 Smarter Remembering 223

16 Smarter Learning 231

Part VI How Can Superminds Help Solve Our Problems? 243

17 Corporate Strategic Planning 245

18 Climate Change 261

19 Risks of Artificial Intelligence 273

Part VII Where Are We Headed? 293

20 Hello, Internet, Are You Awake? 295

21 The Global Mind 317

Acknowledgments 329

Notes 333

Index 363

What People are Saying About This

Author of The Rise of the Robots - Martin Ford

“Superminds offers a fascinating deep dive into the science of collective human intelligence, and how communities of minds may ultimately be integrated with AI to produce a new, composite super-intelligence that might soon be leveraged to help solve some of humanity’s most pressing problems.”-

Author of Algorithms to Live By - Brian Christian

“The story of human civilization has fundamentally been the story of coordination: in families, tribes, markets, nations. The challenge we now face is learning how to collaborate at an unprecedented scale, with both human and nonhuman partners alike – be they institutions, decentralized networks or intelligent machines. Superminds opens a window into what may be the defining question of the coming century.”

Director MIT Media Lab and author of Whiplash - Joi Ito

“From the father of collective intelligence … a refreshingly realistic view of how computers will supercharge collective intelligence and how these superminds can help us tackle the most complex problems that face the world today.”

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