Sunday, March 03, 2024

From Knowledge Cafes to Conversational Swarm Intelligence

The Power of Conversational Swarm Intelligence: Learning from Nature

Humans have always been good at writing and storing information to communicate. But, when we look at nature, we see some animals are experts at communicating and working together in real time. Birds flying together in a flock, fish moving as one in a school, and bees making decisions as a swarm show us incredible examples of teamwork. Inspired by these natural wonders, there's a new technology idea on the horizon called conversational swarm intelligence.

What is Conversational Swarm Intelligence?

Imagine combining the teamwork of birds, fish, and bees with our latest technology. That's what conversational swarm intelligence is about. Louis Rosenberg talked about this on the Amplifying Cognition podcast. It's about using technology to help people talk and make decisions together in real-time, just like some animals do in nature.

How Does It Work in a Knowledge Cafe?

Think about a big room where 100-200 people come together to chat in small groups of about 5-7 people. They discuss a topic, then mix up and join new groups to share what they learned. This mixing and sharing help everyone get a lot of different ideas and answers to the same question.

Now, add an AI assistant to each group. This AI listens, records, and analyzes what everyone says and shares insights from one group to another in real time. This means everyone gets to hear and think about a wide range of ideas without having to remember and retell them. It makes the discussion richer and helps find the best answers faster.

What's next?

Right now, these experiments use text chats, but imagine if this could work with spoken conversations. Someday, there might be robots sitting with us, listening, and offering insights from other groups instantly. What are the implications? How could this be used most effectively in support of human decision-making? What are some possible risks? How would this change the nature of conversations and more broadly, communications?

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