I have been studying the Internet Paradigm which has been useful for studying our role in the online environment and how it affects our relationships. In this post I will be looking at the idea of Collective Intelligence and how it allows us as a community to further connect with one another, and Memetic Warfare in which the connection of a community can dangerously radicalise them. I will then discuss an idea for a project in which I further analyse how these collective intelligences are formed and how much power we have in the media we are submerged in online.
“At its extreme, [Collective Intelligence] encompasses the whole of human civilization and culture, which constitutes the collective intelligence of our species, passed down imperfectly through books and schools, lectures and demonstrations, or by parents showing children how to sit still, eat, or get dressed in the morning.”(Mulgan, 2018 p. 1-2)
Collective Intelligence allows the making of media to now be interactive within the online community, with the ability for media creators to communicate with and receive direct feedback from anyone at any time. It has also thrived in the production of trends and increased collective interests, which in turn has increased the marketability of media creation.
While it sounds scary, collective intelligence therefore isn’t necessarily a bad thing. As a society, we thrive in made communities and shared interests, and by having this information readily available we have the enhanced ability to problem solve and empathise with each other.
“Meme warfare now more often refers to using memes as individual weapons of information warfare. It’s a form of disinformation that can be used to secure strategic goals.”(Ascott, 2022)
Collective intelligence can however present itself dangerously when utilised by a group or community set to do harm. This has most predominantly been shown through the rise of ‘Memetic Warfare’ by the far-right in recent years, who utilise the collective understanding of memes to perpetrate propaganda, hate-speech or misinformation.
Digital Artefact project
For my digital artefact pitch for this module, I decided to take a deep-dive into the algorithmic creation of collective intelligence online.
To do this I would create new profiles with different characteristics in mind (politics, gender, age, race etc.) and interact with posts relating to these attributes to see how the algorithm categorises me and what content I get pushed towards and exposed to.
I would thus be documenting this experiment on a weekly blog or vlog format to analyse how much control we really have in what collective intelligence we are aligned towards.
Ascott, Tom, and Suzanne Cordeiro. “How memes are becoming the new frontier of information warfare | The Strategist.” ASPI Strategist, 19 February 2020, https://www.aspistrategist.org.au/how-memes-are-becoming-the-new-frontier-of-information-warfare/.
Mulgan, Geoff. Big Mind: How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World. Princeton University Press, 2018.