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Big Mind:
How Collective Intelligence Can Change Our World
Geoff Mulgan

Hardcover | November 2017 | $29.95 | £24.95 | ISBN: 9780691170794
280 pp. | 6 x 9 1/4 | 5 line illus.
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eBook | ISBN: 9781400888511 |
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Reviews

A new field of collective intelligence has emerged in the last few years, prompted by a wave of digital technologies that make it possible for organizations and societies to think at large scale. This “bigger mind”—human and machine capabilities working together—has the potential to solve the great challenges of our time. So why do smart technologies not automatically lead to smart results? Gathering insights from diverse fields, including philosophy, computer science, and biology, Big Mind reveals how collective intelligence can guide corporations, governments, universities, and societies to make the most of human brains and digital technologies.

Geoff Mulgan explores how collective intelligence has to be consciously organized and orchestrated in order to harness its powers. He looks at recent experiments mobilizing millions of people to solve problems, and at groundbreaking technology like Google Maps and Dove satellites. He also considers why organizations full of smart people and machines can make foolish mistakes—from investment banks losing billions to intelligence agencies misjudging geopolitical events—and shows how to avoid them.

Highlighting differences between environments that stimulate intelligence and those that blunt it, Mulgan shows how human and machine intelligence could solve challenges in business, climate change, democracy, and public health. But for that to happen we’ll need radically new professions, institutions, and ways of thinking.

Informed by the latest work on data, web platforms, and artificial intelligence, Big Mind shows how collective intelligence could help us survive and thrive.

Geoff Mulgan is chief executive of Nesta, the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts, and a senior visiting scholar at Harvard University’s Ash Center. He was the founder of the think tank Demos and director of the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit and head of policy under Tony Blair. His books include The Locust and the Bee (Princeton) and Good and Bad Power (Penguin).

Reviews:

"Brilliant. . . . Drawing on such disciplines as social psychology, computer science, and economics, as well as his experiences as a co-founder of the think tank Demos, Mulgan outlines the elements of CI, which has informed collaborations from the Manhattan project and NASA's moon landings to Google Maps and Wikipedia."--Kirkus Reviews (starred)

Endorsements:

"This important work provides a sophisticated analysis of the various human and computational forms of collective intelligence. Mulgan demonstrates in a powerful way how such collective intelligence can be mobilized to deal effectively and wisely with the most urgent problems on the planet."--Howard Gardner, author of Multiple Intelligences

"In Big Mind, Mulgan nails it yet again. How collective intelligence can stay ahead of artificial intelligence is the big question of the day and Mulgan has answers. This is a smart, lucid, and compelling book."--Julia Hobsbawm, author of Fully Connected

"This insightful and broad-ranging book will appeal to business leaders at all levels, from tech giants to start-ups."--Martha Lane Fox, executive chair of Doteveryone

"Mulgan combines distinguished academic expertise with extensive real-world policy experience. In this important, wide-ranging book, he shows how decision making can be hugely improved in our increasingly networked world. To those of us dismayed by how ineffectually democracy now operates, Big Mind offers a dose of optimism and many concrete proposals. It’s enlightening--indeed inspiring--and should be read by all citizens, especially those aspiring to improve all levels of governance."--Martin Rees, author of Our Cosmic Habitat

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