Iain Couzin (by CollectiveIntelConf)

Collective Intelligence in Animal Groups

My Notes:
AS group size increases, collective intelligence increases. 

"…no individual is able to solve even part of the problem, but collectively, they are."

In a group of 100, with 1 informed individual, the information isn’t percolated and there’s no effect on the group. With 5 informed individuals, there’s some effect on the group. With 10 informed individuals, the information is percolated and the group becomes informed.

The larger the group becomes, the lesser percentage of informed individuals is needed for accuracy. Double the group size to 200 and 5% is all that is needed for the same degree of accuracy. 

What about differences of opinions about what way is right? 

Consensus decision making: 

With the group of 100, 5 informed individuals lead one way, 5 lead the other. Running thousands of simulations, the group splits, almost down the middle. But, in the end, one group wins out and they all go one way. They come to a concensus. 

Add 1 more individual to either group of 5 and a concensus decision is reached by the group, even though they can’t count. They go with the majority. 

Traplining: checking out the different targets before deciding. 

Those who are uninformed are extremely vulnerable to manipulative agents. 

Intransigence = being stubborn, not giving up makes a difference.

The minority can increase the strength of their preference to dominate and influence to win out in the end. 

Invidivuals can influence, and be influenced by other, with whom they interact.

A strongly opinionated minority

A less strongly opinionated majority

plus uninformed, unopinionated individuals

1) individuals adopt, probabilistically, the opinion they perceive to be the local majority. This resutls in positive feedback reinforcing the predominat opinion, and consequently rapid, non-linear transitions from disordered to ordered, consensus states. 

The minority can dominate, through intransigence, and maintain a good percentage of uninformed individuals. But, this changes as you increase the number of uninformed individuals—it changes quickly. Add more uninformed individuals and very quickly, the majority almost totally dominates. 

Uninformed individuals play a very important role. 

Uninformed individuals inhibit extremism and promote democratic consensus decision-making.