Event: 19 Nov Berlin, Interacting Minds–An Interdisciplinary Approach to Social Cognition


Workshop: Interacting Minds: An Interdisciplinary Approach to Social Cognition

Date 19 November 2010, 8:45 – 19 November 2010, 16:20

Location Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience Philippstrasse 13, Haus 6, Lecture Hall 10115 Berlin

A One-Day Symposium at The Center for Integrative Life Sciences

During the last two decades many researchers in the humanities and natural sciences have begun to focus on understanding the cognitive processes involved when multiple individuals coordinate and interact with each other. This newfound focus is due to the acknowledgement that a central driving force in the evolution of the human mind has been its embedding in the social context. Many cognitive processes such as learning, attention, communication, motor
coordination, and decision-making can be considered issues of the social domain because they often involve more than one individual. With this in mind, The Center for Integrative Life Sciences (CILS) brings together speakers from both the humanities and natural sciences to address topics of social cognition at any level of complexity – from the activity of single cells and neurons to the behavior of individuals, groups and populations.

Program Details (One Paragraph per Presentation)

Tom Atlee

I’m impressed these folks are stretching the collective intelligence inquiry from the cellular to the whole-society scale, which is the range it needs to stretch, at least.  Interesting that they use “cognition” rather than “intelligence”.  I guess one is a phenomenon and one is a capacity, sort of like “creation” and “creativity”.  I haven’t sorted that out before.

One interesting difference between their *apparent* approach and mine is their seeming focus on “interacting minds” as the core phenomenon.  I tend to focus on systemic factors (e.g., power relationships, group processes embedded in democratic institutions, etc) and collective analogs to various aspects of individual intelligence (e.g., satellite sensors and journalism as collective sense organs, pundits and sci fi novels as collective reflection, Wikipedia and libraries as collective memory, etc.).  Of course there are interacting minds embedded in all these things I talk about, but I posit the collective intelligence as greater than / other than the interacting minds of its participants.  Sort of like our personal intelligence is greater than / other than the interactions among our cells.

All of which would ideally be grist for further juicy dialogue and debate, should it ever occur.  The CILS folks would definitely be good to invite to any future Collective Intelligence Convergence.