Collective Intelligence and climate change
Posted on 26 May 2010 by John Cook
I'm a big fan of data. You could call me a data junkie. Skeptical Science began as a personal database stored on my local computer for me to keep track of the various skeptic arguments (yes, I'm that much of a geek). It's since expanded to a user-driven comprehensive list of arguments currently being translated into 14 languages. Not content just to show the data, it's also fun to play around with it such as working out which skeptic arguments contradict each other. Or order them based on popularity. Consequently, I was quite interested to learn MIT were working on an online database of skeptic arguments that users can rate. Here's some more info on how the system works:
The internet has given us the opportunity to use new technologies to interact, to communicate, to create knowledge and to exploit “Collective Intelligence”. Wikipedia is the most famous example of the result that the combination of thousands of people can achieve. In the meanwhile Climate Change is one of the biggest and most controversial problem in our times. Starting from these assumptions, the importance of investigating how technologies can help people face and discuss this problem in a new collaborative environment is straightforward.
Wikis, forums and blogs powerfully allow interaction among people, but they have some limitation when used to reason and to debate on complex problems. This is the reason why, inside the Center For Collective Intelligence at MIT, novel collective intelligence technologies that enable more effective deliberation with large groups have been developed.
One of the projects is Deliberatorium, a “large scale deliberation system” that uses argument maps to organize knowledge about a problem. Argument maps enable critical thinking, and use a graphical representation to display the structure of reasoning and argumentation.
In this first project, a map about Climate Change has been developed. Inside the map are the main arguments about this debate, and we are looking for people interested in using our technology to browse and rate the map. In this project, users can't insert new contents, but only rate, express their vote, about the climate change debate. We are running this study to understand the potentiality of the tool in a simplified version.
The result of the study will be an evaluation of people's opinion about this topic. We are interested in understand how people are divided on Climate Change Debate, which are the most controversial ideas and so on.
If the participation is high and people appreciate the application in this simplified version, in the future we will set up a new project to enable an online deliberation about this topic, where people will be allowed to build a new map and not only to rate the existing posts. In this case, the application will be really an instrument to debate and organize knowledge about Climate Change.
Participation in the study is entirely voluntary, and all data will be anonymized, so your confidentiality is assured.
To get started, simply follow this link:
Go check it out! Thanks to Carlo Savoretti at MIT for sending this info.